11. Sidney Ponson
Had we simply evaluated Ponson’s first tour of duty with the Orioles, he would be viewed as one of the few pitching prospects to eventually find some success over the last 25 years, but it was his return to Baltimore in 2004 that landed him on the list.
After several underwhelming years with the Orioles, the Aruba native appeared to figure it all out in 2003 when he pitched to a 3.77 earned run average in 21 starts before being dealt to the San Francisco Giants at the trade deadline. Unfortunately, Ponson’s time with Baltimore didn’t end there as he was re-signed to a three-year, $22.5 million deal a few months later to return to the club that developed him and serve as the ace of the staff.
Not only was Ponson awful on the mound — posting ERAs of 5.68 in 2004 and 6.70 ERA in 2005 — but he was infamously arrested in Aruba for punching a judge in late 2004 and was arrested twice for driving under the influence in 2005 before finally being released that September as the club attempted to void his contract before eventually settling with him a few years later. His issues with alcohol and lack of dedication to baseball made him an easy choice as a talented pitcher who failed to live up to the hype.
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