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The Royals prides themselves on homegrown players. The organizations has relied on players developed within its own system during championship runs, with cornerstone players coming from Kansas City’s selections in the MLB Draft.

Who are the best Royals homegrown Draft picks? Here are the Top 5, factoring in only players who were taken in the First-Year Player Draft (not the expansion Draft) and the value they accrued specifically for Kansas City.

1) George Brett, 3B/1B
Drafted in the second round of the 1971 Draft

When the Royals drafted an 18-year-old shortstop out of El Segundo High School (Calif.) in 1971, general manager Lou Gorman said of the heavily scouted player, “He has real good hands, pretty good speed and should develop into a fine hitter with power.”

Fine was certainly an understatement.

The 18-year-old shortstop turned into a Hall of Fame third baseman in Brett, who debuted in 1973 for the Royals and played his first full season in ’74, finishing third in American League Rookie of the Year Award voting.

Brett’s three home runs
Oct 6, 1978 · 1:29
Brett’s three home runs
Brett spent his entire 21-year career with the Royals, during which he was a 13-time All-Star, won the 1980 AL Most Valuable Player Award and took home a Gold Glove Award in ’85. He also became the first player in Major League history to win batting titles in three decades (’76, ’80 and ’90). Brett retired following the ’93 season, finishing with 3,154 hits, 317 home runs, 665 doubles, 137 triples and 201 stolen bases. He accumulated 88.6 career bWAR, almost twice as much as any other player in Royals history.

2. Kevin Appier, RHP
Drafted ninth overall in the 1987 MLB Draft

The Royals’ all-time strikeout leader with 1,458, Appier accumulated 47.0 bWAR in his 13 years with Kansas City (46.5 of which came from 1990-97). He was drafted out of Antelope Valley College in Lancaster, Calif., and three years later — as a 22-year-old rookie — he threw 185 2/3 innings with a 2.76 ERA, finishing third in AL Rookie of the Year voting.

Royals honor Appier
Jun 27, 2011 · 3:13
Royals honor Appier
From 1992-93, Appier threw a combined 447 innings with a 2.52 ERA, while allowing only 18 home runs. The Royals didn’t give him much run support, and Appier’s records in those seasons were 15-8 and 18-8, respectively. In ’93, Appier led the AL with a 2.56 ERA but finished third in Cy Young Award voting. He was elected to his lone All-Star Game in ’95.

With an unconventional delivery that hid the ball until the last moment, Appier posted a 3.49 ERA over parts of 13 seasons with the Royals, including six outings from 2003-04 when he returned for a second stint to finish out his career.

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