#2, James McDonald, 2010-2013
James McDonald is a former American professional baseball pitcher who played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for six seasons from 2008 to 2014. He spent the majority of his career with the Pittsburgh Pirates, where he established himself as a promising young pitcher.
McDonald was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 11th round of the 2002 MLB draft. He made his major league debut with the Dodgers in 2008 but was traded to the Pirates in 2010. McDonald quickly made an impact with the Pirates, posting a 4.24 ERA in 11 starts in his first season with the team.
However, it was in 2012 that McDonald had his breakout season with the Pirates. He finished the year with a 12-8 record and a 4.21 ERA in 30 starts. He also set career highs in innings pitched (171) and strikeouts (151) that season. McDonald was a key part of the Pirates' rotation that season, which helped the team reach the postseason for the first time in 21 years.
Despite his success in 2012, McDonald struggled in the following seasons. Injuries and inconsistency plagued his career, and he never regained the form that he showed in his breakout season. McDonald was released by the Pirates in September 2013 and spent the 2014 season with the Chicago Cubs before being released again.
Overall, McDonald spent four seasons with the Pirates, pitching in 98 games and finishing with a record of 18-27 and a 4.34 ERA. While he may not have lived up to the promise he showed in 2012, he was a valuable member of the Pirates pitching staff during his time in Pittsburgh. Still, it is hard to think about what McDonald's future could have been. He had one of the more live arms that the Bucs had coming up at the time and one of the best-looking curveballs in the division. Unfortunately, when it looked like he was evolving into a next-level pitcher he instead regressed.