Kansas City Royals All-Time 26-Man Roster

Kansas City Royals All-Time 26-Man Roster

by January 28, 2022 1 comment

The Kansas City Royals became a franchise in 1969. Considering they haven’t been around that long relative to baseball history, they don’t have much to choose from. They only have one Hall-of-Famer, although they may get a couple more soon. In their history, the Royals have won two World Series, in 1985 and 2015. When they played the Toronto Blue Jays in the ,85 ALCS, it marked the first time the championship series was a best-of-seven and the Royals needed all of those games as they came back from a 3-1 series deficit.  They did the same against the St. Louis Cardinals that year to win the franchise’s first championship.

Make sure to check out all of our other All-Time Rosters.

Starting Nine

Salvador Perez, C

Perez put himself firmly as the starting catcher with an incredible season last year. He led the league in home runs (48) and RBIs (121) in 2021 and also led catchers with a 44 percent caught-stealing rate. The league average was only 23 percent. Perez has 200 career HRs now and while he rarely takes a walk, his lifetime average of .270 is certainly respectable. He has won five Gold Gloves and was the World Series MVP in 2015.

John Mayberry, 1B

The big lefty was a Royal for six years from 1972-1977 and he could hit. In that time he blasted 143 HRs and drove in 552. Mayberry finished second in MVP voting in 1975 with a .963 OPS, 34 HRs, and 106 RBIs. He also led the league in walks for the second time in three years. In his time in KC, the slugger slashed .261/.374/.448 with a .369 wOBA and 133 wRC+.

Frank White, 2B

The slick-fielding second baseman played his whole 18-year career with the Royals. While his offense wasn’t great, for an 11-year stretch from 1977-1987 White hit 138 HRs and stole 130 SBs. He also had a respectable .313 wOBA and a 91 wRC+. In that span, he won eight Gold Gloves and was a five-time All-Star. His defense was elite in the history of the game as he slots in second all-time in Total Zone Runs with 126 behind Bill Mazeroski‘s 148.

George Brett, 3B

One of the best third basemen ever is an easy choice. For all of his lifetime achievements, and there are many, fans who were around to remember 1980 will never forget the excitement of Brett chasing .400. What people may forget is that he was batting just .267 as late as May 27. From that point until the end of the season, Brett batted .432 with 42 walks to just 15 strikeouts while driving in 94 runs in just 85 games. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1999 and just nine voters didn’t check his name.

Freddie Patek, SS

Shortstop is not a very good position for the Royals. One day Adalberto Mondesi or even Bobby Witt Jr. will see themselves here. For now, though, the diminutive Patek stands above the rest. He played for nine seasons with Kansas City and while he wasn’t going to kill you with the bat, he made up for it with his glove and wheels. Patek stole 336 bases in those nine seasons including leading the league in that category in 1977 with 53. He was efficient on the basepaths as well with a 75.7 percent SB rate while the league average was just 64 percent.

Willie Wilson, LF

Wilson played 15 of his 19 big league seasons with the Royals. He led the league in SBs with 83 in 1979 and stole 79 more in 1980. He also led the league in triples five times. As a switch-hitter, he was uncommonly even from both sides of the plate with a career OPS of .703 from the left side and .700 from the right. He won a Gold Glove in 1980 and was a two-time All-Star. One of the fastest men the game has ever seen, his 612 stolen bases as a Royal is easily the franchise record.

Carlos Beltran, CF

Beltran won the AL ROY award in 1999 showing an elite power-speed combo with 22 HRs and 27 SBs. After an injury-plagued 2000, Beltran had a great three-year stretch with the Royals slashing .295/.365/.512 and averaging 26 homers and 36 steals with 107 runs and 102 RBIs. He was traded in June of 2004 and went on to have a great career. Even going by just his time in Kansas City, Beltran was easily one of the most talented outfielders they ever had and gets on the ballot next year.

Amos Otis, RF

The New York Mets shipped Otis off to the Royals after the 1969 season. It would begin a 14-year stint with Kansas City. The right-handed hitter was a speedster with some pop. He won three Gold Gloves, was a five-time All-Star, and finished top 10 of MVP voting four times all within a nine-year span from 1970-1978. In his career with the Royals, Otis hit 193 HRs and swiped 340 bases all with a solid .280/.347/.433 slash.

Danny Tartabull, DH

Tartabull wasn’t much in the field, but his bat was lethal for five years in Kansas City. He had a .392 wOBA and a 145 wRC+ from 1987-1991. Tartabull hit over 30 HRs twice and drove in over 100 runs three times. He also led the league in slugging in 1991 at .593.

Starting Rotation

Bret Saberhagen, RHP

Saberhagen endeared himself to the Royal faithful almost immediately. The right-hander won 20 games and the AL CYA in 1985 at 21 years old. Then he followed it up with a WS MVP award allowing just one run over two complete games against the St. Louis Cardinals. He won the AL CYA again in 1989 leading the league in wins with 23 and ERA at 2.16. He had a career 3.21 ERA with the Royals and is clearly the best pitcher they ever had.

Kevin Appier, RHP

The main part of Appier’s career was from 1990-1997. In those eight seasons, he averaged 30 starts and 205 innings, won 103 games, and pitched to a 3.22 ERA. He finished third in CYA voting in 1993 while leading the AL in ERA at 2.56. Despite the Royals being a bad team during his tenure there, Appier had a winning record in seven of those eight seasons.

Zack Greinke, RHP

While Greinke certainly improved when he got to the NL, he did win his lone CYA with the Royals in 2009 while leading the league in ERA with a 2.16. His 3.82 career ERA with Kansas City was solid and he set his career-high in strikeouts in 2009 with 242. The Royals don’t have many good starters to choose from, but Greinke sits comfortably as one of their best and should be a Hall-of-Famer when he hangs them up.

Charlie Leibrandt, LHP

The lefty gets a nod here as the lone southpaw in the rotation along with being a key piece to the 1985 championship team. That season Leibrandt won 17 games and had a 2.69 ERA while finishing fifth in CYA voting. He pitched to contact and kept the ball in the park, benefiting from solid defense behind him, Leibrandt had a winning record in all five seasons he pitched for the Royals.

Dennis Leonard, RHP

Leonard may not be a household name even among most Royals fans. However, for a seven-year stretch from 1975-1981, he was an absolute workhorse. He averaged 254 innings and won 20 games three times. Leonard finished fourth in CYA voting in 1977 leading the league with 20 wins and also setting a franchise record for strikeouts which still stands at 244. He also spent his whole 12-year career with Kansas City.

Bullpen

Dan Quisenberry, RHP

This one is a no-brainer. Quisenberry led the AL in saves four straight years from 1982-1985 and finished second or third in CYA voting each of those years. It was a different era of closers as well as the submarine pitcher threw 534 innings in just that four-year span. He was a contact pitcher but had pinpoint control allowing just 51 walks for a 2.5 percent walk rate.

Greg Holland, RHP

Holland had a ridiculous four-year stretch for the Royals. From 2011-2014, he had a 1.86 ERA and 113 saves while striking out 35 percent of the batters he faced. He was a two-time All-Star and was a top 10 vote-getter in the AL CYA race. In 11 postseason innings with Kansas City, the right-hander gave up just four hits and one run.

Wade Davis, RHP

After pitching in relief for Tampa Bay in 2012, Davis came to the Royals and was put into the rotation. That may not have worked out, but what he did from 2014-2016 was spectacular. In that time he had a minuscule 1.18 ERA with a 19-4 record and 47 saves. He gave up just three home runs in 182.2 innings and struck out nearly 25 percent of the batters he faced.

Kelvin Herrera, RHP

Herrera was a big piece of the Royals bullpen from 2012-2017. He helped them to two World Series appearances and was part of the big three with Davis and Holland. In 2014, Herrera had a 1.41 ERA in 70 innings and didn’t allow a HR all year. During his time with Kansas City, he had a 2.75 ERA, saved 57 games, and struck out nearly a batter per inning.

Joakim Soria, RHP

Soria had two separate stints with the Royals. Combined he pitched for seven seasons with Kansas City. Unfortunately, he wasn’t there for the team’s success in 2014 and 2015, but he did have a career 2.82 ERA with them and is third in franchise history with 162 saves.

Jeff Montgomery, RHP

This is the guy who is first in saves for the Royals franchise at 304. Montgomery pitched for 12 years with Kansas City. He was a three-time All-Star and led the AL in saves in 1993 with 45. At his peak from 1989-1993, the right-hander averaged nearly 90 innings a year with 80 strikeouts and a 2.22 ERA.

Bench

Mike Sweeney, 1B

Mayberry got the nod at first base, but Sweeney isn’t far behind. He was a part-time player his first few years in the league, but from 1999-2005, the right-handed slugger slashed .313/.384/.522 while blasting 163 HRs and driving in 676 runs. In that stretch, he also struck out only six more times than he walked (386-380). He was a five-time All-Star and got MVP votes in three of those seasons.

Kevin Seitzer, 3B

Seitzer hit the ground running in his first full season in 1987. He led the league in hits with 207 and finished second to Mark McGwire in the AL ROY race. Although he wouldn’t replicate that kind of success, Seitzer slashed .294/.380/.394 in his six seasons with the Royals.

Whit Merrifield, 2B/OF

While Merrifield was a late bloomer, he has led the league in hits twice and stolen bases three times. He is a two-time All-Star and can play second base as well as all over the outfield. He is also baseball’s current Ironman as he has played in 469 consecutive games.

Darrell Porter, C

Porter may have been the starting catcher if not for Perez having a couple of great years recently. The left-handed hitter may have only played for four years with Kansas City, but he was excellent. Porter was an All-Star three times and finished in the top 10 of AL MVP voting twice while leading the league in walks in 1979 with 121 (striking out just 65 times).

Hal McRae, OF

McRae had an excellent offensive stretch of 11 years with the Royals out of the 15 he played with them. From 1974-1984, McRae slashed .300/.362/.466 and had a wOBA of .368 with a wRC+ of 129. He had his best year in 1982 when he led the league in doubles (46) and RBIs (133). He was a three-time All-Star and finished fourth twice in the MVP voting.

Alex Gordon, OF

The eight-time Gold Glove left fielder wasn’t just a defensive player. His stretch from 2011-2015 was quite good. In that time he averaged 18 HRs and 10 SBs with an .809 OPS. Gordon played his whole 14-yar career with the Royals and certainly earned a spot here as another lefty off the bench as well as a defensive replacement in the outfield.

Honorable Mentions

Bo Jackson, OF
Mark Gubicza, RHP
Paul Splittorff, LHP
Eric Hosmer, 1B
Danny Duffy, LHP


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