4. Rey Sanchez (1999-2001, 7.0 WAR)
Rey Sanchez was the Kansas City Royals shortstop during the beginnings of the Steroid Era in baseball. Back when seemingly everyone could launch a ball into orbit or have a head expand to the point where Sputnik crash landed on their shoulders (Hello, Barry Bonds) the Royals somehow completely missed that notice.
During his time with the Royals, Sanchez hit all of three home runs, and had a whopping 15 in his career. While there were a few light hitting, great fielding shortstops around, players like Sanchez or Rey Ordonez were pretty much phased out of starting positions by that point. However, unlike Ordonez, this Rey was at least somewhat useful with the bat, producing a .289/.321/.351 batting line, stealing 27 bases and hitting 50 doubles. That was worth an OPS+ of 71 during his time.
Defensively, Rey Sanchez was without a doubt the best shortstop in the American League during his time in Kansas City. Despite never winning a Gold Glove award, he led the American League in runs saved as a shortstop all three seasons, saving a total of 63 runs. He was the league leader in range factor per nine innings at short in both 1999 and 2001, finishing third in 2000. For all of his deficiencies with the bat, Sanchez more than made up for them with the glove.
The ‘great glove, no bat’ shortstop may have been a thing of the past when Rey Sanchez was with the Kansas City Royals, but he was still a useful piece on the field. Surprisingly, that glove was good enough where he ranks as the fourth best shortstop in Royals history.
Next: From the Academy to the Majors