7. David DeJesus (2003-10, 18.0 WAR)
There’s something to be said for players who are able to stand out on truly terrible teams. David DeJesus managed to do that during his time with the Kansas City Royals.
DeJesus played in 12 games in 2003, but his rookie season—during which he finished sixth in Rookie of the Year voting—came during a 104-loss 2004 season. During his time in Kansas City, DeJesus suffered through three 100-plus loss seasons and three other 90-plus defeat campaigns. The team’s best record during a full season of his came in 2009 when the Royals went 75-87.
Even with the organization struggling, DeJesus managed to put together respectable numbers. He put together five consecutive seasons with at least 56 RBI. Not bad for a player who generally hit first in the order. His speed was not at the level of most players on this list—putting up double-digit steals just twice.
One of DeJesus’ biggest struggles was staying on the field. In his time in Kansas City, he only played over 145 games once. That came during the 2007 season when he played 157 games.
Arguably, DeJesus’ best season came in 2008. He slashed .307/.366/.452 with 12 home runs and 73 RBI. DeJesus also stole a career-high 11 bases that year while pounding out 159 hits.
DeJesus’ place on this list goes to show that enough above-average seasons will eventually earn a player a decent career WAR. It’s still an amazing feat for him to finish in the top-10 among Kansas City Royals outfielders.