Saberhagen was not selected until the 19th round in the 1982 draft but quickly proved to be a fine acquisition for Kansas City. After logging an 18-7 record in his first year of minor league play, Saberhagen earned a berth in the Royals’ rotation at the tender age of twenty, and demonstrated control and poise beyond his years.
In 1985 Saberhagen dodged the sophomore jinx by becoming the youngest pitcher ever to capture the Cy Young Award. He ran away with WS MVP honors by limiting the Cardinals to twelve baserunners and one run over 18 innings and became a father during the Series.
Saberhagen has sharp control (1.8 walks per nine innings over his first five seasons) and a 93-mph fastball, but had trouble putting it all together for a full season, often having an outstanding first half and then faltering. But in 1989 he again excelled, leading the AL in wins (23-6) and ERA (2.16, lowest in the AL since 1978) with a Cy Young-quality season.