No. 7) Carlos Beltran 2003
Few players have combined power and speed like Beltran did in his young days in a Kansas City Royals uniform. Long before Beltran won the 2017 World Series with the Astros, the switch-hitter put together a fabulous — yet brief — Royals career.
His 1999 season ranks as arguably the greatest rookie campaign in franchise history. He ran away with Rookie of the Year before a sophomore slump. Next came three straight stellar years — the last of which makes our list, despite Beltran playing fewer games than he did in 2001 and 2002.
It began a winding road that eventually brought him back to the Astros and led to him finally winning a world championship in his 20th season.
He slashed .307/.389/.522 with a 132 OPS+ over 141 games. Beltran scored 102 runs, hit 26 home runs and drove in 100 runs. It marked the third consecutive season he reached 100 runs, 24 homers and 100 RBI. The former speedster stole 41 bases in 45 tries. He only struck out nine more times than he walked (81-72). It led to Beltran finishing ninth in MVP voting.
On the back of that great run, plus an excellent first half in 2004, Beltran became a trade deadline target. The Kansas City Royals traded him to Houston in a three-team deal. It began a winding road that eventually brought him back to the Astros and led to him finally winning a world championship in his 20th season. In between were stops with the Mets, Giants, Cardinals, Yankees and Rangers.
All told, Beltran put up several great seasons — particularly with the Mets — in a career that seems destined to end in the Hall of Fame. But, in regards to his time with the Royals, his best campaign, by a nose, came in 2003.