3. Mark Gubicza (1984-1996, 42.3 WAR)
It was really a tale of two careers for Mark Gubicza. For the first part of his career, he appeared as though he would be the next ace on the Royals, teaming up with Bret Saberhagen to give the Kansas City Royals a truly dominant one-two punch atop the rotation. Then, shoulder and arm injuries took their toll, and Gubicza was unable to be that same pitcher afterwards.
During those six seasons when Gubicza was healthy, he was certainly a solid pitcher for the Royals. From 1984 through 1989, Gubicza posted an 84-67 record with a 3.51 ERA and a 1.306 WHiP. He made the All-Star team in 1988 and 1989, and before his injuries, seemed poised to be one of the best starters in the American League heading into the next decade.
Those injuries, however, sapped Mark Gubicza of his excellent fastball. Overall in his career with the Royals, he produced a 132-135 record with a 3.91 ERA and a 1.361 WHiP, a far cry from the pitcher he appeared destined to become. He did, however, manage to help the Royals one final time, as the Royals traded Gubicza and Mike Bovee for Chili Davis, who went on to hit 30 home runs in his only season in Kansas City.
Mark Gubicza managed to be one of the all time best starters in Kansas City Royals history, but he could have been a lot better if he had managed to stay healthy. He is certainly a case of “What if?”
Next: Master of the odd numbered years