KANSAS CITY -- Here’s a look at the best individual seasons in Royals history by position:
Starting pitcher: Bret Saberhagen, 1989
This really comes down to Zack Greinke in 2009 or Saberhagen in 1989. Both won Cy Youngs those years. A close race. Both had 2.16 ERAs in those campaigns. But Saberhagen led the Majors in wins (23), innings pitched (262 1/3), complete games (12) and WHIP (0.961).
Catcher: Salvador Perez, 2021
In Game 1 of a late-September doubleheader against Cleveland, Perez went to a place no other catcher had gone before. With his 46th home run of the season, a 429-foot shot to left field at Progressive Field, he topped Johnny Bench’s 1970 record for the most home runs in a single season by a primary catcher (at least 75 percent of games behind the plate). Perez added two more to his home run total before the end of the season, finishing with a career-high 48 home runs and tying the Major League lead and the Royals’ single-season home run record. Perez led the Majors with 121 RBIs and spent the entire season – 161 games played – as the Royals’ most dangerous hitter. Any all-time Royals roster would want this veteran backstop behind the plate for them
Third base: George Brett, 1980
No-brainer. Brett chased .400 that season, finished at .390 and led MLB in OPS with a mind-blowing 1.118.
Shortstop: Jay Bell, 1997
Bell played one season with the Royals, but he hit 28 doubles, 21 home runs, and drove in 92 runs. He wasn’t the defender that Alcides Escobar or Freddie Patek was, but Bell could hit.
Second base: Frank White, 1986
It was really a monster year as White, of course, won a Gold Glove. But he also was an All-Star and won the Silver Slugger Award. He had 37 doubles, 22 homers and drove in 84 runs.
First base: John Mayberry, 1975
Big John hit 38 doubles, 34 home runs and drove in 106. He also led the American League in walks with 119 and posted a .963 OPS.
DH: Hal McRae, 1982
He led the Majors with 46 doubles and 133 RBIs and also hit 27 homers and posted a .910 OPS. Certainly, Jorge Soler’s 48-homer season in 2019 gets consideration.
Left field: Alex Gordon, 2012
Gordo won his second of eight Gold Gloves and also led the Majors in doubles with 51 to go with 14 homers and 72 RBIs.
Center field: Willie Wilson, 1980
Yes, technically, Wilson played a lot of left field, too. But he played enough in center that season to qualify in our minds. And he was unreal, leading MLB in runs (133), hits (230) and triples (15). He also stole 79 bases.
Right field: Jermaine Dye, 2000
Dye was an All-Star, won a Gold Glove, hit 41 doubles and 33 home runs and drove in 118. He had a monster year.