Top Ten After Ten - Orioles

Poor drafts led to the Orioles 14 year losing streak.  The 2003 top ten prospect list wasn’t that bad a collection of draft picks but it lacked any impact players.  There were some major leaguers from this list, many of them late bloomers who were more role players than starters.

1. Eric Bedard (LHP) - Eric had a lot of talent for a left handed arm.  His personality could be a little abrasive.  When it became apparent the Orioles were not going to prevent him from being a free agent they traded him to the Mariners for Adam Jones and Chris Tillman, plus current Japan closer Kam Mickolio.  Injuries prevented Eric from reaching his potential.  Now pitching in relief for the Houston Astros.

2. Darnell McDonald (OF) - Number one pick in 1997 only amounted to a fourth or fifth outfielder role in the major leagues.

3. Daniel Cabrera (RHP) - Currently pitching in Japan and frustrating managers there with his lack of command.  At one point he threw in the high 90s.  He tried to dial it down to gain command but never achieved any consistency.  A hulk of a pitcher that lacked any athleticism.

4. Luis Jimenez (1B/OF) - He hung around long enough to finally make his major league debut last year as a 30 year old rookie.

5. Rommie Lewis (LHP) - Like Luis he persevered and finally made it to the major leagues pitching in the Blue Jays bullpen for 20 games in 2010 and 2011.  A 7.23 ERA during those 20 games has put him in Independent ball still hoping for one more callup.

6. Mike Fontenot (2B) - Never could understand drafting a 5′7″ second baseman in the first round but his bat eventually got him to the major leagues.  His inability to play short prevented him from cementing a role as a utility player.

7. Richard Stahl (LHP) - Arm injuries stalled his career.

8. John Maine (RHP) - He had a couple of good years after he left the Orioles.  His one last shot was with the Miami Marlins this year.  While he made the opening day roster he was designated shortly after that.  Shoulder surgery in the middle of the 2010 season made it tough for him to continue his career, but he still won 41 major league games.

9. Tripper Johnson (3B) - He never developed the kind of power teams were looking for in their third baseman.

10. Eli Whiteside (C) - Earning a pretty good living as a backup major league catcher.  Currently toiling in AAA with the Texas Rangers trying to get back up to fulfill another back up role.

Other prospects that made it to the major leagues:

13. Val Majewski (OF) - He had a brief fling as a fourth outfielder and even went to japan to try to make a career out of it, but injuries cut that stint short before he could complete a year.

24. Matt Riley (LHP) - When he was pitching in the minors slinging his 97 mile per hour fastballs from the left side he carried the promise of a Dylan Bundy.  Arm injuries slowed his fastball and shortened his major league career.

28. Hayden Penn (RHP) - His fastball was mid-90s but it travelled too straight.  Spent a couple years pitching in Japan but an elbow injury ended his career there last year.

NR. Tim Raines Jr - He had the speed of his dad and was compactly built but just didn’t have the discipline to develop the tools needed to be a major leaguer.

NR. Scott Rice - Never really made it with the Orioles but currently being used by the Mets in their pen.  Another late bloomer.

The 2003 draft picks had at least one star.

Nick Markakis was the Orioles first round pick.  Many teams wanted to draft him as a pitcher.  He has been fine as the Orioles right fielder, though he is just below an All Star in talent.  Chris Ray was a third round pick and earned a stint as the Orioles closer during his second year with the team.  The league caught up to him and Tommy John surgery sapped the velocity from his fastball putting him in mopup roles.  James Hoey was a 13th round pick that saw brief spells in the major leagues.  A too straight mid-90s fastball proved no mystery to major league hitters preventing any extended time with a major league team.

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