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On the Farm, Week 17: Anthony Ranaudo, Next Rookie Up

After nearly a month long hiatus from the normal “On the Farm” format, we are back in action. Over the last month the normal “On the Farm” articles gave way to three sets of rankings:

The following week I was in Maine screwing around for my bachelors’ party. Now I am back to do what I like best, which is informing all of you about up and coming MLB players.

Moving forward, “On the Farm” will now be out every Friday to better correspond with the Daily Profcasts that Adam and I work so hard to bring you. We run a weekly “Friday on the Farm” segment there and this should give you double the prospect info every Friday. Without further ado this week’s player is starting for the first time tonight against the Yankees. Anthony Ranaudo, everyone!

The Tools

A 2010 supplemental first round selection out of LSU, Ranaudo brings plenty of physical tools to the table which made him one of the most sought after pitchers in the 2010 draft. At 6’7, 230 lbs Ranaudo is a scary guy to face when he is further elevated by the mound. At 24 years old Ranaudo continues to learn the nuances of the game and has had the luxury of not being rushed along.

Ranaudo relies mostly on three pitches to get results: the fastball at 92-95, the curveball at 78-82, and the change-up at 81-83. Although he can crank the fastball up as high as 98, Ranaudo usually works in the low 90s despite his massive frame. Mechanical inconsistencies sometimes cause him to have trouble locating his fastball, but it can flash plus when he is on. The curveball may be his most advanced pitch at the moment and is his go-to strikeout offering. Ranaudo has no issues throwing the pitch for strikes and it has a very tight spin and lots of depth. Ranaudo’s change-up is still a work in progress. Although he has the desired speed difference between his fastball and change-up, it comes in flat and stiff and is easy to pick up.

Jake’s Take

The Red Sox have one the best farm systems in all of baseball and it is a particularly pitching heavy system. It should be no surprise then that Ranaudo was left off of nearly every major outlet’s Top 10 Boston Red Sox Prospects coming into the year. Only Keith Law and MLB.com had him cracking the Top 10 for the team.

Source Rank
Baseball America NR
Baseball Prospectus (Jason Parks) NR
Fangraphs (Mark Hulet) NR
ESPN (Keith Law) 9th Red Sox Prospect
MLB.com 6th Red Sox Prospect

Due to his height Ranaudo can have some trouble repeating his delivery and as a result he can have trouble locating. The actual stuff is quite good and I think much less hittable than it appears. Out of the top 10 Red Sox pitching prospects that have played in the minors this year only Henry Owens at .201 has a lower opponent BA than Ranaudo who has a microscopic .202.   This puts him in some pretty good company.

On the surface his K/BB ratio this season leaves a lot to be desired as well at 99/49, however with his difficult to hit arsenal his WHIP is a very respectable 1.15 with nearly all the damage being cause by his own inaccuracy.

Conclusion

I don’t have a great feel for whether or not Ranaudo will be a borderline SP5 starter or a solid SP3 for the Red Sox, but from watching him this season I am leaning towards being more optimistic. In college and in the Cape Cod league, he dominated and after years of being a mediocre pro the last two seasons at AAA, he has really put it together to the tune of a 2.41 ERA, the second best mark in the International League.

The Red Sox have traditionally had pretty good success at getting the most out of very tall starters with mechanical issues (just look at the recently traded Andrew Miller). I think it’s more likely he figures it out and learns to be more fluid in his delivery than it is that he washes out. The guy is a winner and the Red Sox sure could use some arms after the 2014 trade deadline.

Top 10 Dynasty Prospects for Fantasy Baseball

1. Byron Buxton, OF, MIN (LW: 1)

Buxton has been playing every day for awhile now and looks pretty close to how he did last season. He needs to steal a few more bases, but it’s hard to complain about the slash line after missing that much time. I expect he will move to AA shortly.

Last 10 days: .326/.426/.565, 2 HR, 10 RBI, 1 SB

2. Kris Bryant, 3B, CHC (LW: 2)

The debate is going to be where Bryant plays with Alcantara at 2B, and Russell and Baez likely at SS and 3B long term. It’s possible Soler becomes trade bait and Bryant fits into RF with Schwarber in LF and Almora in CF. Cubs need to sell some of this talent for some controllable pitching.

Last 10 days: .300/.447/.567, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 2 SB

3. Addison Russell, SS, CHC (LW: 4)

Would you look at that slash line from a future MLB SS! This guy could be really special and his defense is pretty darn good. He hardly looks like he missed any time at all.

Last 10 days: .375/.419/.650, 3 HR, 7 RBI, 0 SB

4. Javier Baez, SS, CHC (LW: 5)

So this is the Baez I think we were all expecting to see at the beginning of the season. He now has over 20 HR on the year and that slugging percentage is outrageous. This year will end up being one of the most important in his development.

Last 10 days: .316/.325/.763, 5 HR, 15 RBI, 0 SB

5. Archie Bradley, SP, ARI (LW: 3)

Bradley has been looking his age lately, which is in stark contrast to how he pitched last year. He’s likely still adjusting back from injury but it’s clear there is work to be done here.

Line at AA: 34 IP, 3.97 ERA, 1.32 WHIP, 28 K

6. Dylan Bundy, SP, BAL (LW: 8)

The stat line looks ugly for Bundy but the strength and consistency of delivery are still being built up to where they were pre-injury. He has the best stuff in the minors when 100% healthy and he should be owned accordingly.

Line at A: 22 IP, 5.73 ERA, 1.64 WHIP, 8 K

7. Corey Seager, SS, LAD (LW: 7)

The Dodgers reluctancy to part ways with either of the top prospects on this list speaks volumes about how the organization sees their futures playing out. Seager has taken a massive step forward this year and with Hanley Ramirez a free agent after this season, I could see Seager getting a shot soon.

Last 10 days: .314/.324/.486, 0 HR, 3 RBI, 0 SB

8. Jonathan Gray, SP, COL (LW: 6)

Gray continues to tick along but isn’t making a ton of progress in keeping the runs down. He still needs to go longer in games and his command comes and goes at times.

Line at AA: 105 IP, 3.94 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 96 K

9. Lucas Giolito, P, WAS (LW: 10)

This man could end up as the best player on this list by next year. He’s having his way with batters at the level and his Hagerstown teammates get to see a spectacular show every five days.

Line at A: 83 IP, 2.17 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, 94 K

10. Joc Pederson, OF, LAD (LW: NR)

The jack-of-all-trades outfielder finally cracks the list despite slumping a bit as of late. The counting stats are still there in full affect. This guy is going to be very fantasy relevant.

Last 10 days: .216/.370/.568, 4 HR, 8 RBI, 1 SB

Missing Due to Season Ending Injury: Carlos Correa and Miguel Sano

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About the author: Jake is a Massachusetts native currently living in Washington, DC. He writes for the Professor’s Dynasty Desk focusing on prospects. (@DevJake)

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