Baltimore (WJZ) — The Baltimore Orioles have been very competitive over the last few seasons thanks to some excellent trades and amazing drafts. But that hasn’t always been the case. Here’s a look at the Top 5 biggest draft busts of all time for the Orioles:
- 3B Billy Rowell: When the Orioles drafted Billy Rowell with the 9th pick in 2006, it was with the intention of acquiring one of the best bats in the MLB. Instead, Baltimore would acquire the biggest draft bust in franchise history. Rowell never got things going with the Bowie Baysox, let alone the Baltimore Orioles. When it became evident that Rowell would never be able to succeed as a batter in the MLB, the Orioles tried to convert him into a pitcher. During that process, he was suspended by MLB for 50 games for testing positive for marijuana. Baltimore cut ties soon afterwards. To make matters worse, the San Francisco Giants used the draft pick after Rowell to select SP Tim Lincecum who would go on to win 2 Cy Young awards and 3 World Championships.
- P Adam Loewen: Drafted with the 4th overall pick in 2002, the Orioles had dreams of bolstering their pitching staff with Loewen as their future ace. Things didn’t turn out that way as Loewen struggled during his short stint in Baltimore. During that time period, injuries mounted that caused him to end his pitching career. He would finish his career with an ERA of 5.38 and an 8-8 record before transitioning into a position player. Orioles would release him in 2008.
- P Brian Matusz: The Orioles got plenty of good work out of Matusz in 2012 leading many to believe that he had turned a corner. But the majority of his career, including the 2016 season that led to his release, was a huge disappointment. Similar to Loewen, Matusz was drafted with the 4th overall pick in the MLB Draft. He never lived up to his potential as a starting pitcher, and was subsequently demoted in 2012. Early on, Matusz flourished in his new role as he would finish with a 1.35 ERA and 19 strikeouts in 18 appearances. But the production wouldn’t last long and the 2016 season was the last straw. He finished his time in Baltimore with a 12.00 ERA and was traded to the Atlanta Braves on May 23, 2016.
- P Matthew Hobgood: The Orioles drafted Hobgood out of Norco High School in 2009 with the 5th overall pick. The potential for success was high because of the physique he maintained at such a young age. But it was clear from the onset that playing at such a high level right out of high school was too tall a task. To be fair, injuries were a large part of his failures as a pitcher as he tore his rotator cuff in 2013 and required arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder two years later.
- C Brandon Snyder: The Orioles selected Snyder with the 8th pick in the 2004 MLB Draft. The risk is always great for an organization taking a fly on a prospect out of high school. Injuries and lack of success forced Snyder to make the transition into first base where he excelled in the lower levels of minor league play. But as he began to encounter stronger competition with his move up to Double-A, it became apparent that he simply didn’t possess the power to prosper in the MLB. Baltimore gave him a few stints in their MLB roster before cutting ties in 2012.