Ranaudo was once viewed as a potential MLB ace.
According to WEEI’s Alex Speier, Anthony Ranaudo, one of the top pitching prospects for the Boston Red Sox, has been shut down for the remainder of the Puerto Rican Winter League because of a groin injury. This is just another incident in what has become a string of bad luck for the right-hander since he joined the organization.
Ranaudo was a supplemental first-round (39th overall) pick of the Red Sox in the 2010 draft. A product of LSU, he had entered that college season in the discussion as the top college pitcher in baseball according to Speier. However, injuries and a sub-par junior season dropped his value.
The Red Sox viewed Ranaudo as a potential ace and decided to do whatever it took to sign him after seeing him dominate in the Cape Cod summer league that summer after the draft. NESN’s Caylan Davis reported that Ranuado went 3-0 with 31 strikeouts in 29.2 scoreless innings during that stint, piquing Boston’s interest.
With Scott Boras as his agent, Ranaudo was able to get a $2.55 million signing bonus from Boston. According to Speier, this represented the largest signing bonus the team had ever given to a college player that wasn't part of a major league deal.
CSNNE.com’s Sean McAdam reported that the deal was struck with under two minutes remaining before the signing deadline. Going down to the wire and giving such a substantial bonus showed just how highly the Red Sox regarded the pitching prospect So far, the team’s investment has not come close to paying off.
In 2011, Ranaudo went 9-6 with a 3.97 ERA between two minor league levels. Despite the relatively solid numbers, he didn't dominate in the way many might expect from a first-round pick.
Can Ranaudo still be an effective MLB pitcher?
Ranaudo entered 2012 determined to earn his draft status and bonus. He was named by Baseball America as Boston’s fourth-best prospect, making expectations high within the organization and with fans. Unfortunately, he struggled with injuries this past season, making just nine Double-A starts, going 1-3 with a 6.69 ERA.
Now comes the news that Ranaudo threw just 2/3 of an inning in his last start with Caguas before being removed with a right groin injury. He had been expected to log 25-30 innings in the league this winter according to Speier, but wound up with just a 9.1 total frames and a 6.75 ERA.
The Red Sox announced that the injury wasn't considered serious, but that Ranaudo was being shut down as a precautionary measure. However, in a professional career that has been rife with missteps, it would have been good for him to get in the work and develop some consistency.
It remains to be seen if the 23-year-old Ranaudo will ever develop into the pitcher the Red Sox envisioned when they made the youngster a millionaire several years ago. Unfortunately, he continues to produce more red flags than results, so he will have to prove himself on the pitching mound in 2013 if he is to regain his status as a top prospect.
Statistics via BaseballReference