Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
2. Bret Saberhagen – 19th round, 1982
During the mid to late 1980’s, whenever the topic of the best starting pitcher in baseball would arise, the Kansas City Royals Bret Saberhagen was definitely in that conversation. He had won two Cy Young awards by the time he was 26, made two All-Star Games and should have been a part of two more and won the clinching game of the 1985 World Series while earning MVP honors. It was quite the impressive resume.
Strangely, during Saberhagen’s two Cy Young seasons, he did not make the All-Star Game. His 1985 campaign, where he posted a 20-6 record with a 2.87 ERA and a 1.058 WHiP was certainly impressive, but it did not hold a candle to how Saberhagen produced in 1989. That year, he posted a 23-6 record with a 2.16 ERA and a 0.961 WHiP, leading the American League in wins, ERA, WHiP, innings, complete games and strikeout to walk rate. It was a truly dominant year for Saberhagen.
That 19th round selection certainly made his mark on the Kansas City Royals record books. In addition to becoming the only player in Royals history to win two Cy Young awards, he is sixth all time with 110 wins, seventh with a 3.21 ERA, fourth with 1093 strikeouts and second with a 1.134 WHiP. Saberhagen may well be the best starting pitcher in Royals history.
Bret Saberhagen will always be remembered for his performance in the 1985 World Series. However, his impact went far beyond that year, and if not for the next player, he could arguably have been the best draft pick in Kansas City Royals history.
Next: Was there any other choice?