Top 10 can't-miss prospects who missed

The "Can't-Miss" prospects. Sometimes they reach the glory that is expected, but more often than not, they simply can't handle the hype that surrounds them from an early age, and they flame out before ever reaching greatness. Maybe the pressure is too much, maybe they get mixed up in drugs, or maybe they simply just aren't good enough.

The most recent example of sports prognosticators looking for the next Wunderkind can be found in pitcher Stephen Strasburg, the No. 1 pick in Tuesday's MLB Draft. Though he has yet to even sign a contract, Strasburg is already expected to save the Nationals. But this up-and-comer is hardly the first to find himself shackled with such lofty expectations.

Before Stephen Strasburg, there was Todd Van Poppel, who Sports Illustrated dubbed, "the premier high school pitcher in the land" and the "next Nolan Ryan." Oops.

In an effort to utilize their pick (they took him 14th overall in the draft), the A's rushed him through the minors (just 32 starts) before calling him up for significant time in 1993. While Van Poppel lasted 11 years in the bigs, his career was underwhelming at best: the former Texas high school star compiled a 40-52 record with a 5.58 ERA while pitching for six different teams.

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In Pictures: The overhyped prospects

At least Van Poppel made it to the majors. The same cannot be said for Brien Taylor.

The rumor was Taylor threw an 85-mph fastball – as a 12 year old. By the time he was a senior in high school, that fastball was exploding out of his hand, regularly clocked at 95, and was known to reach 99 mph. Scott Boras, who knows a thing or two about drafts and prospects, said, "I've been through 28 drafts, and Brien Taylor, still to this day, is the best high school pitcher I've seen in my life." But don't bother looking up the major league stats for Brien Taylor – they don't exist.

Taylor, who signed with the Yankees and got a $1.55 million bonus, was working his way towards the majors when he injured his shoulder in a fight. After that, his career was nothing but minor league struggles. The Yanks finally released him in 1998, seven years after they drafted him. In his final appearance ever, Taylor lasted just 2.2 innings and gave up 11 runs on nine hits. He is now forever known as, alongside Steve Chilcott, one of the only two players ever to have been picked first overall in the MLB Draft and never reach the majors.

Taylor's story is just one sad example of the perils of a high schooler trying to play in a league amongst men. Sebastian Telfair is another. He wasn't the first high school player to turn pro, but aside from LeBron, Telfair was one of the most talked about prospects ever. The hype reached a new level when a documentary called "Through the Fire" was filmed about his senior year and he was the subject of a book, "The Jump."

But Telfair has now played five seasons in the NBA, and has yet to blossom into the star everyone assumed he would. There have been glimpses of promise, including a 30-point performance against the Heat this past year, but he is far from the All-Star he was projected to be. Perhaps in the right system, or with the right coach, Telfair could still flourish, but right now he's just part of a list of hyped NYC basketball players to fall short of the lofty expectations placed upon them.

The list goes on: Clint Hartung was tapped to be the next Babe Ruth; he lasted just six seasons in baseball. Ron Powlus was supposed to win two Heisman Trophies; he never even came close to winning one, and wasn't drafted out of Notre Dame. Tony Mandarich was dubbed as "The Best Offensive Line Prospect Ever"; an addiction to painkillers ensured that would not be the case.

For the sake of Nationals fans everywhere, here's hoping that Strasburg lives up to the hype.

The top five:

1. Tony Mandarich: Slideshow
2. Todd Marinovich: Slideshow
3. Clint Hartung: Slideshow
4. Sebastian Telfair: Slideshow
5. Brien Taylor: Slideshow
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In Pictures: The overhyped prospects