Anthony Ranauldo, the right-handed pitcher out of LSU the Red Sox selected with the 39th pick of the 2010 Major League Baseball Draft, wants top-10 signing money or he’s going back to LSU for his senior year, according to this article by Amanda Comak of the Cape Cod Times. (Ranauldo is currently pitching in the Cape Cod Summer League.)
Ranauldo came into the 2010 season as one of the five most highly regarded college pitchers available in the 2010 Draft, after a 2009 sophomore season in which he went 12-3 with a 3.04 ERA, and a pitching line of 124.1 innings pitched, 93 hits, 15 home runs, 50 walks allowed, and 159 strikeouts. He also performed fantastically in the 2009 College World Series.
However, a stress reaction in his pitching elbow kept Ranauldo out of action early in the 2010 college season, and when he came back, he was not effective, going 5-3 with an ugly 7.32 ERA and a line of 51.2 innings pitched, 60 hits, nine home runs, 27 walks allowed and 54 strikeouts.
Ranauldo is represented by Scott Boras, so you know young Tony wants to get paid. In this case, he might, in fact, be best served by going back to college for his senior year. If his arm is right, and he has another season equal to his 2009 campaign, he will be a top-15 pick in the 2011 Draft. At 6’7″ and 225 lbs, he’s got a body type Major League teams like in their right-handed heavers.
What should the Red Sox do? They certainly have the money to lock up Ranauldo if they value him highly. At the same time, he went 39th for a reason—there are legitimate concerns about his arm health. Also, Ranauldo pitched little during his freshman year at LSU, so everything is riding on only one great season.
Slot money for the 39th pick, at least based on what 2010 draftees have already signed for, is about $850,000. 2B Kobrin Vitek out of Ball State, whom the BoSox selected with the 20th pick of the 2010 Draft, has already signed for $1.36 million.
If I were the Sox, I would be reluctant to give Ranauldo more than what they gave Vitek. Vitek was selected first for a reason, and their respective signing bonuses should reflect that. Of course, later draft picks get well above slot money all the time, if the teams that select them think they are worth the risk.