Boston Red Sox's Next Big Thing May Just Be a Big Bonus Away

Mickey McGuireCorrespondent IJuly 20, 2010

Going into the 2010 NCAA baseball season, right handed pitcher Anthony Ranaudo of LSU was considered one of the top talents in the collegiate ranks.

Ranaudo was projected to be a top ten pick in the 2010 Major League Baseball draft. The 6'7 righty put up impressive numbers as a sophomore in 2009 with a 12-3 record to go along with a 3.04 ERA, 1.15 WHIP and 159 strikeouts in 124.1 innings pitched.

Ranaudo certainly opened a lot of eyes and took that momentum into his junior year at LSU. That success would be short-lived however as Ranaudo's season didn't go as well as he planned. He suffered an elbow injury that cut his season short and his draft stock suffered immensely.

Despite not being a top ten pick, Anthony Ranaudo was picked in the (supplemental) first round at 39 overall by the Boston Red Sox.

It was an interesting selection because of the elbow injury. A lot of experts had Ranaudo possibly going to the Sox at 20th overall.

Lucky for them, he fell all the way to 39 and was tough to pass up. Another snag in this deal though is that Ranaudo is represented by controversial sports agent Scott Boras.

The Red Sox do not have a very positive history with Boras clients and that could be an issue moving forward as the Red Sox attempt to sign Ranaudo. Signing him should be a top priority for the Sox as they have already inked their top two picks Kolbrin Vitek (20th overall) and Bryce Brentz (36th overall).

You may be asking yourself: If Anthony Ranaudo has so much controversy surrounding him, such as the elbow injury and the Boras factor, then why is it so important that the Sox sign him?

That's a great question and luckily Anthony has answered that question himself.

In the Cape Cod league, Ranaudo has put up about as good of a small sample size stat-line as the Red Sox could have asked for.

In 29.2 innings pitched, Ranaudo didn't surrender a single earned run (0.00 ERA) and held opponents to a league low .101 batting average while striking out 31. His command was strong as well. He only surrendered eight walks.

It's worth mentioning that he threw a six inning no hitter as well (obviously he didn't pitch the full game because he's still in the developmental stage).

Most scouts have had Renaudo's fastball in the 90-94 range, backed by a very good curve ball and a developing change up.

There are many out there who believe he may have some mechanical issues moving forward as evidenced by the elbow injury, but they are minor and very fixable.

The Sox have until midnight on August 16th to sign Ranaudo and it is going to be an extremely tough task.

With Scott Boras behind him, Ranaudo's camp is looking for top ten money and it isn't clear whether or not the Sox are willing to pay that much money.

In the past they have been willing to pay above "slots." Casey Kelly received a $2.6 million bonus as a late first round pick in 2008, so it wouldn't be completely out of the ordinary for them to give Ranaudo a similar deal.

It wasn't a surprise when Ranaudo shut it down this past week in the Cape Cod League as he no longer had anything left to prove. The Red Sox had scouts and personnel there to watch him pitch and left extremely impressed.

It would be a big surprise if this kid isn't signed at all. It wouldn't surprise me if they waited until the very last minute to do so.

Ranaudo has No. 1 or No. 2 starter written all over him.

The Red Sox haven't had a big power pitcher with this much potential since Daniel Bard went through the system.

It would be a shame if they let this one slip away.

He showed what he can do by dominating the CCL and it isn't necessarily fair to put the world on his shoulders at such a young age but he has a very bright future ahead of him.

If Ranaudo signs, keep an eye on him in the minor leagues. He could move through the ranks very fast and be up in Boston before you know it.