Dan Quisenberry tops list of best KC Royals relief pitchers

KC Royals, Dan Quisenberry (Photo by Rich Pilling/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
KC Royals, Dan Quisenberry (Photo by Rich Pilling/MLB Photos via Getty Images) /

The Royals have had plenty of great relievers in the past, but a few of them stand out and made the top of the list in a recent MLB.com article.

The KC Royals of recent years have not been well known for command or dominance in the bullpen. Some pitchers have given good performances but consistency has been, for the most part, nonexistent.

In Royal’s history, though, there are plenty of relievers that are remembered for getting saves and helping the team to victory. Recently, Jeffrey Flanagan over at MLB.com asked the question of who is the best Royals reliever of all time and followed up with his top 5 picks in team history.

Flanagan placed Joakim Soria at number 5 on the list. This may be a bit of a shock to some who remember the dominance that Soria showcased in his first round of play with the Royals from 2007-2011. In his second run, though, Soria found more struggle than success it seemed.

Still, Soria’s early seasons with the Royals shouldn’t be overlooked. According to the article, during those seasons, Soria held an ERA of 2.40 and recorded 160 saves.

At number 4, Royals fans will likely remember Wade Davis. Davis spent 2013-2016 with the Royals and what a great time it was. In 2014-2016 his ERA was 1.00, 0.94, and 1.87 respectively, and he carried a high strikeout rate as well.

Davis was an important piece of the bullpen that helped guide the Royals to back to back World Series and will always be remembered as such.

Another name remembered alongside Davis is Greg Holland coming in at number 3. Holland played for the Royals from 2010 to 2015 and was signed to a minor league contract before the start of the 2020 season. Like Davis, Holland kept his ERA low, strikeouts high, and saves even higher.

According to the article, Holland had an ERA of 0.82 in the 2014 postseason with 7 saves. He may have done it again in 2015 had he not suffered an injury.

In at number 2 is Royals commentator, Jeff Montgomery. Monty holds the Royals career record for saves at 304. There was no doubt about him, he knew how to pitch and didn’t have to rely on speed. Monty kept his ERA fairly low and used his crowd control to keep games moving in his favor.

He may not have thrown the ball as fast as some pitchers in today’s game, but that was the beauty of Montgomery’s pitching, he didn’t need speed, he had pure pitching ability.

Finally, number 1 is another name most Kansas City fans likely know, Dan Quisenberry. Quisenberry pitched for the Royals from 1979 to 1988 and he easily made his case for the top of the list. Quisenberry led the American League in saves 5 times in 1980, and 1982-1985, and averaged a 2.76 career ERA.

Quisenberry was an All-Star 3 items, finished in the top 11 in MVP voting 5 times, and top 5 in CY Young voting 5 times.

The Royals may have seen struggle in the bullpen during the recent seasons, but according to their team history, the bullpen is one area where they can usually get something going. Only time will tell what the future holds, but the Royal’s past is full of great relievers.

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The Royals have some young and veteran pitchers looking to add some consistency to the bullpen if the 2020 season gets started. Hopefully, play will resume soon so fans can see some hard throws from current relievers like Josh Staumont and Trevor Rosenthal.