Any conversation that asks what pitcher would you want to build your rotation around needs to seriously consider Madison Bumgarner. At just 26 years old he is younger than Clayton Kershaw, Felix Hernandez, David Price, Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, Chris Archer, and Jake Arrieta. He is less than a year older than all of Chris Sale, Sonny Gray, and Gerrit Cole yet none of the names mentioned can even come close to his playoff resume. In addition to three World Series rings he has a career playoff ERA of 2.14 in 88.1 innings. His 2014 performance alone makes him one of the best postseason players of all time:
52.2 innings pitched, 45 strikeouts, 1.03 ERA, and 2 complete game shutouts. His regular season stats are also impressive:
Since becoming a full time starter in 2011 he has five straight seasons of 31 starts and at least 200 innings pitched. His ERA has been under 3 each of the past three seasons. Young, durable, and clutch - what else can you ask for out of an ace?
PS Royals fans should take no offense to this. It took a historic postseason performance by Bumgarner to beat you guys. Even then you had the tying run on third base with 2 outs in the 9th inning of game seven. Incredible series that gave KC the drive to come back and win it all the very next season.