4. Ben McDonald
Considered one of the best college pitchers of all time, McDonald was taken with the first overall pick of the 1989 draft and made his major league debut later that season but would never become the next Jim Palmer or Roger Clemens as so many thought he could.
In retrospect, much of the blame could fall on McDonald’s college workload as his arm was simply abused by the Tigers (for example, he threw 138 pitches in a College World Series game and then warmed up three times for a relief appearance three nights later). Even with injuries that shortened his once-promising career, the 6-foot-7 right-hander pitched to a respectable 3.89 ERA in seven seasons with the Orioles, but the great hope created by his arrival would never be satisfied.
With the Orioles in the midst of their “Why Not?” season when they selected McDonald with the No. 1 pick after his brilliant NCAA career, the hype for McDonald was incredible before frustration set in among fans despite the pitcher still having his moments such as in 1993 when he made 34 starts and had a 3.39 ERA.
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