No. 6) Kevin Appier 1993
During his time with the Kansas City Royals in the 1990s, Kevin Appier was the model of consistency. From 1990-96, he had seven consecutive winning seasons. Appier’s record dipped to 9-13 in 1997, but he still managed a 3.40 ERA. After a rough 1998 season, the righty bounced back, posting a 9-9 mark before a midseason trade to Oakland.
Appier put together consecutive outstanding seasons in 1992-93. In ’92, he sported a ridiculous 2.46 ERA and 1.13 WHIP with a 15-8 record. It’s somewhat baffling that Appier didn’t receive even a single Cy Young vote. That changed the following season.
In our book, it’s the best season by a Kansas City Royals starter that didn’t end with a Cy Young award.
As great as Appier had been the year before, he improved almost across the board in 1993. His record was 18-8, his WHIP was 1.11, he allowed two fewer home runs, pitched two more complete games and improved his strikeout-to-walk ratio. One of his few numbers that went up was his ERA. It crept up to 2.56, but it, ironically, was good enough to lead the league.
The ’93 campaign marked Appier’s career-high in innings pitched with 238 2/3. He made 34 starts on the season—four more than the season prior. He didn’t make the All-Star team either year and would have to wait until 1995 to earn that honor. However, Appier did finally earn some postseason award love. The then-25-year-old finished third in Cy Young voting and 24th in MVP voting.
For the advanced stat lovers out there, Appier led the league in FIP and tied for the league lead in ERA+ among starters in 1993. In our book, it’s the best season by a Kansas City Royals starter that didn’t end with a Cy Young award.