3. Jed Bradley
The Milwaukee Brewers had two first round picks in the 2011 MLB Draft, and they missed on both of them. The first was Taylor Jungmann out of the University of Texas, at 12 overall. The second was Jed Bradley out of Georgia Tech, at 15 overall. Bradley, the lefty, had a lot of exciting stuff to dream on.
Take a look at what MLB Pipeline wrote about him in their 2012 Prospect Watch:
"Bradley struggled a bit right before the Draft, allowing him to slide out of the top 10 and to the Brewers at No. 15. There’s no question Milwaukee is happy to have Bradley and his four-pitch mix in the fold. His fastball can be plus at times, and he was throwing in the mid-90s at instructs last fall. His slider is another plus pitch at times and he also has a curve and changeup. All will be at least Major League average, and he he has the potential to command them well. Big and strong with an Andy Pettitte-like body, he should be an innings-eating workhorse in short order."
Jed Bradley reminded scouts of Andy Pettitte, in the way that he was big and durable and could eat up innings and be a workhorse. He was the 2nd best college lefty in that draft (behind Danny Hultzen, who went No. 2 overall) and was highly coveted. MLB Pipeline had him ranked as their 8th best draft prospect, ahead of Francisco Lindor, Sonny Gray, George Springer, and Javier Baez. That just shows how volatile prospects can be and how rankings are an inexact science.
Bradley, despite having a ton of potential, never seemed to get things going in the minor leagues, at least not as a starter. It took him three years to get out of the High-A Florida State League and move up to Double-A, which an extremely long time for a college pitcher and a first round pick, although he did deal with a few injuries. He struggled in the move up to Double-A in 2014 and was converted to a reliever the next season.
He saw some initial success in Double-A as a reliever in 2015 with a 3.31 ERA in 23 games, but when he was up in Triple-A, Bradley had a 9.00 ERA in 20 games. Bradley was back down in Double-A to start 2016 and struggled to a 6.20 ERA in 17 games before he was traded to the Braves as the Brewers had to give up on him.
Bradley was a September call up for the Braves that year, and made just six appearances with a 5.14 ERA. He never made it back to the big leagues and has retired.
For a long time, it seemed like the Brewers could never properly develop pitching prospects, and Bradley was just one in a long line of pitchers that never lived up to their potential.