Wade Daniel Townsend (born February 22, 1983) is a Minor League Baseball pitcher who is currently a free agent. He was the Tampa Bay Devil Rays' first-round draft pick out of Rice University in 2005, signing for a $1.5 million bonus. Townsend was initially drafted by the Baltimore Orioles with the eighth pick of the 2004 Draft, but he returned to Rice to finish his degree and was ruled ineligible to continue negotiation with the Orioles.
In college, Townsend spent his first season as a reliever for Rice, which went to the College World Series and finished second in the nation in ERA. Townsend was 2-1 with a 2.28 ERA and six saves as a freshman, recording 51 strikeouts, 22 walks, and 10 wild pitches in 51.1 innings. As a sophomore in 2003, he struggled with his control in his first appearance but came into his own as a weekday starter, pitching Rice's non-conference games against rival Houston and Big 12 opponents. He finished the season 11-2 with a 2.20 ERA, beating defending national champion Texas twice, including once in the CWS, Houston three times, and single wins over Nebraska, Baylor, and Texas A&M. The consensus all-American also recorded five saves as a reliever, mostly in Western Athletic Conference games, and led the WAC with a school-record 164 strikeouts (broken by Eddie Degerman in 2006). Townsend was Rice's most consistent starter in 2004, finishing 12-0 with a 1.80 ERA and two saves. Against San Jose State April 17, he came four outs away from a no-hitter. Townsend, Philip Humber, and Jeff Niemann were all selected in the first eight picks of the 2004 draft - the first time three teammates had ever gone so early in the same draft.
Townsend and the Orioles, however, could not agree to contract terms. He hired an agent, thereby renouncing his collegiate eligibility, and enrolled at Rice to complete his degree in his seventh semester. Major League Baseball, however, ruled that Townsend's return to school terminated the Orioles' right to negotiate a contract. He re-entered the draft in 2005 and was again taken eighth overall, this time by the Devil Rays.
Townsend's professional debut came at short-season Class A Short-Season Hudson Valley, . He finished the season 0-4 with a 5.49 ERA in 12 appearances, including 10 starts. He pitched in the Arizona Fall League in the 2005 offseason. In fall of 2005 Townsend underwent Tommy John surgery on his elbow.
In fall 2008, Townsend was again sent to the Arizona Fall League, where he lasted only 102⁄3 innings and gave up 12 runs before he was sidelined with shoulder problems. Townsend underwent surgery to repair a torn labrum and would likely be in rehab for most of the 2009 season.
Tampa Bay released Townsend on August 3, 2009. He signed a Minor League deal with the Blue Jays in February 2010, but was later released from Toronto.