Kansas City Royals Top Five Shortstops
By David Hill
1. Freddie Patek (1971-1979, 17.0 WAR)
Freddie Patek stood only 5’5″ tall. That lack of stature and his 148 pound frame earned him the nickname ‘The Flea.’ Yet, despite that lack of size, Patek managed to become a solid player for the Kansas City Royals, earning three All-Star appearances and becoming one of the key players as the Royals began their ascension up the ranks in the American League.
Defensively, Patek was a solid player. He led the American League in runs saved in 1972, saving 18 runs at short. From 1971 through 1974, Patek led the league in double plays. While he did make a decent amount of errors, Patek was still an above average shortstop with the glove.
On offense, Freddie Patek had limited power. However, he had excellent speed and could slap the ball into the gap, leading the American League with eleven triples in 1971 as he finished sixth in the MVP vote. Overall for the Royals, Patek produced a .241/.309/.321 batting line, stealing 336 bases and hitting 182 doubles. Patek led the American League in steals in 1977, swiping 53 bags.
Perhaps someday, Alcides Escobar will surpass Freddie Patek as the top shortstop in Kansas City Royals history. However, for now, Patek still holds the crown.