3 Greatest Pitchers in Royals History

Tristan Jung
Zack Greinke emerged as the Royals' ace during the late 2000s.
Zack Greinke emerged as the Royals' ace during the late 2000s. / Jeff Gross/Getty Images

Over their 51 seasons, the Kansas City Royals haven't had the most consistent success, but their list of memorable players is as long as any team in MLB. From George Brett to Alex Gordon, they seem to have a knack for developing star position players.

Great Royals pitchers are less heralded, but the franchise still have plenty of names to celebrate. With that in mind, here are the three best Royals pitchers of all time.

3. Zack Greinke (2004-2010)

Zack Greinke's journey with the Royals is a testament to perseverance. Greinke was a talented prospect, but he struggled with social anxiety disorder early in his career and nearly left baseball altogether. However, he found a way to overcome these struggles and blossom into an ace for the Royals from 2006 to 2010. In 2009, his best year in Kansas City, he won the Cy Young Award after posting a 2.16 ERA over 229.1 innings. Royals fans still miss him, but he famously netted them the core of their 2015 World Series team in his trade to the Milwaukee Brewers.

2. Kevin Appier (1989-1999)

Kevin Appier was an instant success for the Royals. After being selected in the first round of the MLB Draft, he dominated in his first year as a starter in 1990 and kept rolling through 1997. While Appier was never listed as one of the top pitchers in the league—he made just one All-Star team—his years of consistently excellent performance make him a franchise great. Appier had a 3.49 ERA with the Royals, which comfortably earns him a spot on this list.

1. Bret Saberhagen (1984-1991)

Bret Saberhagen was taken in the 19th round of the 1982 MLB Amateur Draft, which later became one of the great picks in Royals history. Saberhagen won two Cy Young Awards with the Royals, coming in 1985 and 1989. Although Saberhagen was only in Kansas City for eight years, he was a key part of the Royals' World Series title in 1985, winning World Series MVP.