Wade Daniel Townsend (born February 22, 1983 in Austin, Texas) is a minor-league baseball pitcher in the Tampa Bay Devil Rays organization. He was the 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 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 Hudson Valley, but his one year lay-off and several nagging injuries limited his velocity and his control. 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. He rehabilitated with Tampa Bay for most of 2006 and will most likely join the instructional league in the fall.