Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports
3. Paul Splittorff – 25th round, 1968
Yes, the Kansas City Royals did not play a major league game until 1969, but that did not stop them from being able to participate in the MLB Amateur Draft the year before. During that draft, all the way in the 25th round, the Royals managed to find a player who would go on to cement his name in franchise history in Paul Splittorff.
What Splittorff lacked in explosiveness, he more than made up for in consistency. During his fifteen year career with the Royals, Splittorff won ten or more games ten times, finishing with a franchise best 166 victories. He was also quite the workhorse for the Royals in the 1970’s, averaging 217 innings from 1972 through 1980. Aside from his brief stints in the bullpen, Splittorff would take the ball every fourth or fifth day, providing the Royals with a solid outing virtually every time.
A member of the Kansas City Royals Hall of Fame, Splittorff remained around the team following his playing career. For the younger generation of Royals fans who may not remember his distinctive high leg kick and time on the mound, Splittorff was the voice of the Royals, broadcasting games from 1988 until his untimely passing in 2011 from throat cancer and melanoma.
Paul Spittorff was the first player drafted by the Kansas City Royals to be called up to the major leagues, and the second to make an appearance. The all time Royals leader in wins, innings and starts, Splittorff was truly forever Royal, spending more than forty years with the team. That is certainly great value for a 25th round selection.
Next: The best starter in Royals history