To me, this whole thread feels like revisionist history.
The O's have been pretty good over the last 10 years.
They've picked up Wieters, Machado, and Gausman from the 1st round of the draft. Matusz is alright in his role. Harvey looks like he's going to be good, and Montcastle has some talent as well. The jury is still out on Bundy due to his arm problems, but there was no doubt before the arm injuries he was going to be a star. They've had some crappy picks as well, but what team hasn't?
What kills the team are two serious issues:
1. they aren't good on the international market. After DD seemed to get aggressive, the whole Korean debacle seemed to derail all of his efforts.
2. they don't maximize the number of picks in the draft. This has really killed them. While other teams are getting 2,3, even 4 picks in the 1st round, the O's normally have one pick. This kills their chances at getting the top talent, then they also miss it in the later rounds.
One thing to keep in mind, is that I'm not including "potential prospects" in my assessment. I didn't do it for the O's, or the other teams I mentioned. I like the reviews of Harvey and Mountcastle. But, I limited it to players who showed up and stuck with their big clubs. With that said, I just cant agree with your post. I'm not rewriting anything, I'm showing unfiltered results.
No GM looks at his first pick of the draft, and says, I want to target a lefty specialist who inconsistently fills a role that is traditionally held by a grizzled veteran that is squeezing the last few drops out of his career. Because that's what they got for the 4th overall pick in 2008 - Matusz. No one is, or should be, expecting the O's to hit a home run with every 1st round pick. No team does that. But the O's have been horrible by comparison.
I don't feel like I'm being overly critical. To prove it, I'll point out the Pirates. Since 1996, they've had 14 top 10 overall draft picks. Here are their sad results: Kris Benson, Neil Walker (#11), McCutchen (#11), Pedro Alvarez, Garrit Cole (#1)
I had to allow the two 11th picks, just to take mercy on them