Anthony Ranaudo Could Be Next Up

Anthony Ranaudo

The Red Sox have had a good showing from young pitchers Ruby De La Rosa and Brandon Workman so far this season. There is another young rising pitcher, Anthony Ranaudo, who could be next up. The rotation is full at the moment, but Ranaudo’s performance could force things to get crowded. 

In his last start at Pawtucket, Ranaudo pitched seven good innings allowing two runs on four hits. He fanned six batters and allowed two walks. His previous two starts have been solid going 15 2/3 innings without allowing a run, adding 2 2/3 innings to his scoreless streak on June 20th before allowing a solo homer. That home run was just the fourth he allowed in 83 2/3 innings.

On his 2014 season so far, he has a 7-4 record with a 2.58 ERA pitching in 83.2 innings. He is a right-handed throwing pitcher, towering at 6′ 7″ weighing 230 pounds and just 24 years old. He pitched for LSU  during the 2008, 2009 and 2010 seasons.  He was a part of the College World Series victory for the LSU Tigers in 2009 and was third in NCAA strikeouts. In addition to his minor league career with the Sox, he has pitched twice in the Cape Code Baseball League.

Ranaudo was selected 39th overall in the supplemental first round of the 2010 MLB Draft. He signed with the Sox for a 2.55 million dollar signing bonus just shortly before the signing deadline on August 16, 2010. Coming into the 2014 season, he was ranked by Baseball America as the Red Sox 13th best prospect in the system. The line on Ranaudo is that he throws between 92-95 mph and can top out at 98 mph. He was projecting coming into the season as a middle-to-back-end starter in the majors.

One would think that with the way things are now with the Red Sox influx of pitching, Ranaudo won’t get a shot until at least a September call up at best. Stranger things have happened and don’t rule out a sooner MLB debut for Ranaudo if injuries or lackluster performances occur.

There is too much pitching…… said no one ever.

Betts And Vazquez Could Jump to the Bigs

 

christian vazquez

With the Red Sox dismal play this season, prospects Christian Vazquez and Mookie Betts could join the team. Right handed hitting Outfielder Mookie Betts would be a candidate to join the team as early as this weekend’s series against the Yankees in New York. The Sox were banking on Shane Victorino, but a bad back has ruled him out from rejoining the team.

The Red Sox selected Betts in the fifth round of the 2011 Major League Baseball Draft with the 172nd overall pick. Betts started out at 2nd base, but the Sox already have that position tied up for awhile. The 21 year old Betts has been batting .324 as of late at AAA Pawtucket with an .888 OPS , despite being the youngest player on the PawSox and one of the youngest in the International League.

Manager John Farrell went on record saying the team would lean towards adding a right handed hitter to the roster that could help balance things out. Shane Victorino’s proven veteran track record would have been ideal, but with his injury and hot play of Betts, he could be the safe bet to be called up to the big leagues.

The other player who could get a look soon is 23-year-old right handed hitting Catcher Christian Vazquez. He was drafted in the 9th round in 2008 from the Puerto Rico Baseball Academy. He has gone on record as saying he is a big fan of the Puerto Rican famed catching Molina family. He spent time and picked the brain of the Tampa Rays veteran Jose Molina in the off season, but has patterned his style more after Yadier Molina. Like the St. Louis Cardinals All-Star, Vazquez has a strong arm and quick release.

Christian Vazquez wasn’t projected to be in the big leagues this year— if the Sox contended and if AJ Pierzynski was performing to his typical past performance. As of today, out of all catchers in baseball with at least 200 plate appearances,  AJ is dead last in OPS at .637. The Sox continue to slide in the standings and are currently seven games back of the 2nd Wild Card spot. If that continues, it will be time to play the kids over some struggling or injured veterans.

No Halting Brock Holt

There has been no halting Brock Holt since he has rejoined the Red Sox this year after Will Middlebrooks was injured. The line on Holt so far has been amazing with a batting average of .329 including 1 home run and 15 RBI. What has been equally impressive is Brock’s aptitude for playing multiple positions, leading off and playing stellar defense.

On Saturday June 21st, Brock made yet another amazing diving catch in right field. He also had three hits in the contest against the Oakland A’s. You might as well play the Superman theme song as his walk up music if he continues to play like this. He has saved the Red Sox hides in so many ways: by batting lead off after Jacoby Ellsbury left and providing support through the struggles since Grady Sizemore departed. The way he is going, some have whispered he is playing like an All-Star.

It has been a great story for a kid who started his career with the Pittsburgh Pirates and then was traded to the Red Sox on December 26, 2012 along with closer Joel Hanrahan. Who would have thought the former All-Star closer would be the non key piece to that deal with Holt being the prize?

If the struggling Red Sox of 2014 are going to make any type of late season push to try to get into the wild card race, Brock Holt will be a main piece of this. It has been a good story for the Texas native who is doing what the Red Sox would have expected, or have hoped for, out of Will Middlebrooks who was a much more heralded prospect.

With the way Holt is playing, he is going to make bringing back the injury prone— the disappointing duo of Middlebrooks and Shane Victorino— a harder decision come the time they are ready. Holt has had his share of rides back and forth to Pawtucket, never being taken seriously each time he would be called up to the majors.

He is being taken seriously now.

Trade Now for Samardzija

Jeff Samardzija

Trade now for Samardzija or risk losing out. That is the dilemma the Red Sox are faced with. The longer they wait, the price will go up and other bidders will get involved. With a weaker A.L. East division so far, the Blue Jays will lead the pack in trying to acquire Jeff Samardzija followed by….you guessed it, the Yankees.

If the Oakland A’s think they have a shot to dance with the Tigers in the postseason, they would be next in line as well. In looking at the Red Sox farm system, they have more pitching depth than the other mentioned teams here to offer to Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer. The Cubs would probably want four arms, but the Red Sox would offer two and have to meet in the middle with three ultimately. Hopefully, that would get it done.

The arms the Sox would have to offer include: number five prospect Anthony Ranaudo, number eight Allen Webster, number nine Brandon Workman, number 10 Matt Barnes, number 11 Drake Britton, number 12 Trey Ball, number 13 Simon Mercedes, number 17 Teddy Stankiewicz, number 18 Jamie Callahan, number 19 Brian Johnson and number 20 Ty Buttrey. Prospect not listed, but could be included, is Ruby De La Rosa.

Jeff Samardzija is 29 years old and very talented throwing an arsenal of up to 5 pitches ranging from 87-97 mile an hour. He is coming up for a new contract, but so is Jake Peavy and Samardzija has less mileage on him. He would be a solid number two guy to be paired with Jon Lester. Prospects are always questionable and Samardzija would be a solid bet. With the stock of arms the Red Sox have on the farm, giving up three to get a solid top of the rotation guy would be worth the risk and the cupboard would still be hearty.

Back To The Future With Stephen Drew

Stephen Drew

Stephen Drew will reportedly return to the Red Sox on a one year prorated deal for 10 million dollars of the 14 million dollar qualifying offer the Red Sox made last offseason as being reported on WEEI.com and first reported by Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports. With the upcoming draft and struggles of the Sox infield, the time was right to snatch up Drew.

If any team signed Drew up to this point, they would have had to surrender a first round pick to the Sox. After the draft, no compensation would be required. One could say the Evil Empire in New York would have been waiting in the wings on Drew. This was a heads up move by GM Ben Cherington after being swept by the Detroit Tigers, Will Middlebrooks landing again on the disabled list and Xander Bogaerts being inconsistent in the field.

The Sox can now shift Bogaerts back to third base where he played in the World Series and he can be mentored by Drew on how he carries himself in the field and in the clubhouse. With youth, there can be growing pains and this has been the case so far. As for Middlebrooks, after numerous stints on the disabled list and up and down play with the bat, the Sox can also buy time for prospect Gavin Cecchini to develop in the minors.

Another positive sign of this move is that the Sox still believe they can get back into the American League East race and aren’t ready to give up. Drew’s defense and veteran presence will help rebuild chemistry for this 2014 squad. Drew won’t start here right away as he will need a brief rehab assignment in the minors to shake off the rust.

Here’s hoping to a better rest of the Summer from here on out.

The Time to Extend Lester is Now

jon lester extend him now

Pitching in Major League Baseball is a premium; having a top of the staff ace and leader is a must if you want to win championships. The Sox have that person in Jon Lester, who is in the last year of his contract.

The Sox have been trying to negotiate with Lester and he has said he wants to stay and would take a hometown discount such as Dustin Pedroia did last year. With the notable contract of Clayton Kershaw and Max Scherzer about to hit market, the Sox would be wise to lock him up now.

The longer they wait Lester’s price could go up. He just threw a 15 strikeout gem on Saturday May, 3 and has been the staff leader coming of the 2013 World Series victory. He has overcome adversity before—having Lymphoma in 2006, then coming back to win the clinching game four of the 2007 World Series against Colorado.

He also threw his 1st no hitter on May 19, 2008, as if winning a World Series wasn’t enough to show his toughness. He would overcome adversity yet again with disastrous years in 2011 and 2012 for the Red Sox, bouncing back to win the World Series in 2013. His career stats have him at 103-60 wins/losses with a 3.72 era and 1,425.0 IP.

Now compare that with Max Scherzer of the Detroit Tigers who at 29 years of age has a record of 76-46 and a 3.62 era with1,058.0 IP. Scherzer just turned down a reported 6 year contract worth 144 million dollars. Scherzer has only had one big season which was last year. With that being said, it is time to find out Lester’s bottom line, try to meet him in the middle and lock him up before he changes his mind.