Not every pick, even a first rounder, is going to make it. But we've failed spectacularly on several first rounders. Drum roll please:
5. RHP Mike Paradis. The O's picked him 9th overall in 1999, despite the fact that he was terrible at Clemson. The scouts said they saw "upside" despite his terrible numbers he posted in college. His abysmal career spanned parts of 6 seasons, never surpassing Double-A. His career ERA was 5.24 and WHIP 1.65. Kind of like the guy below.
4. RHP Alvie Shephard. Picked 21st overall in 1996, he suffered injuries, wildness, and was just plain bad. He managed to last 4 seasons and never made it beyond A-ball, except for a few innings. An career ERA of 5.57 and WHIP of 1.7 will do that.
3. 3B Billy Rowell. A spectacular fail. The 9th overall pick in 2006, he tried hitting Single-A pitching for 3 seasons and couldn't. Now he's "rehabbing" in the Gulf Coast League and can't even hit pitching there. And of course, dare I say it, Tim Lincecum.
2. LHP Chris Smith. The 7th overall pick in 2001, he shredded his rotator cuff either before signing with the O's, or shortly thereafter. He pitched a grand total of 22 terrible innings spanning 3 years before his merciful release. Good news is, no one else picked after Smith accomplished very much either except for 3rd and 4th rounders JJ Hardy and David Wright. 2 Guys picked ahead of Smith have been stellar- Joe Mauer and Mark Teixeira.
1. RHP Wade Townsend. Picked #8 overall in the 2004 draft, after meddling owner Peter Angelose insisted the O's take the pitcher, he never signed with the O's. He later signed with another club the following year, but got hurt and has been generally terrible anyway, so the O's didn't miss his services much. They do miss the services of RHP Jered Weaver, taken 3 picks later.
Honorable Mentions- there are a bunch: RHP Beau Hale, OF Rick Elder, OF Keith Reed, OF Larry Bigbie (steroids!), and I have the dreadful fear I might be adding Matt Hobgood to this list soon....