Kansas City Royals Top Five Starting Pitchers

3 of 6

credit: royalshof.mlblogs.com

4. Dennis Leonard (1974-1983, 1985-1986, 36.4 WAR)

Like Paul Splittorff, Dennis Leonard spent his entire career with the Kansas City Royals. However, unlike Splittorff, Leonard had a truly dominant prime, only to lose his effectiveness seemingly overnight. Perhaps he was just overused during that stretch of time, as he led the American League in games started three times from 1975 through 1981.

It is easy to see why the Royals would have relied upon Leonard that much. In the midst of their competitions against the A’s and the Yankees for American League supremacy, Leonard posted a 120-80 record to go along with a 3.50 ERA and a 1.228 WHiP. As the top starter on the Royals, he was the pitcher that they counted on to face the top starters and to help push the team into the postseason.

Unfortunately, a great deal of Dennis Leonard’s career was encompassed in those seven years. Overall, Leonard posted a 144-106 record, a 3.70 ERA and a 1.262 WHiP. Given the level of durability and flashes of dominance he had during his prime, one has to wonder what Leonard would have been if he could have stayed healthy.

While injuries may have kept Dennis Leonard from pitching in the 1985 World Series, he was a big part of making the Kansas City Royals a perennially competitive team in the mid 1970’s.

Next: A tale of two careers