The 41-year history of the Kansas City Royals is a story of a meteoric rise to contention in the franchise's first 21 years, followed by a titanic fall to baseball's cellar in the last 20 years.
As an expansion team in 1969, the Royals became a winner after just two seasons and was a title contender for two decades. In fact, all seven of the team's playoff appearances occurred during a 10-year stretch from 1976 to 1988, making it to the World Series twice, winning it once in 1985.
The Royals early success hinged almost entirely on the team's ability to find, draft, and then develop young players in it's farm system.
In addition, the Royals were able to develop their players into winners, and then retain them.
In the early 1990s, all that changed. After an era where players spent their entire career with a single team, free agency sent salaries through the roof and players began leaving small market teams like Kansas City for the Bostons and New Yorks of the league.
Unfortunately for fans, the main issue in Kansas City the last 20 years is that as soon as the stars of players like David Cone, Johnny Damon, or Carlos Beltran began to rise, they were either lost in free agency or traded away to teams willing and able to pay millions of dollars more for their services.
Here is my list for the top 10 Royals draft picks of all-time. For younger Royals fans whose only taste of winning was a 2003 team that won just 83 games, there may be names of Royals greats that they are seeing for the first time.
For older fans, this list represents a flashback to the glory days of this franchise, with a few younger players mixed in, all of whom are players that any general manager in baseball would love to have on their team.