Anthony Ranaudo, once one of the most exciting names in Boston's farm system, is on the comeback trail after an injury held him to just 37 lackluster innings in Portland this year.
Throwing three innings of no-hit ball for Criollos de Caguas of the Puerto Rican league, Ranaudo struck out three and allowed just one baserunner via a walk. His fastball was clocked in at 93-94 miles per hour according to Peter Gammons--well above the range seen from him during the regular season as he struggled with injuries and mechanics, and right around where he sat in college. While the Puerto Rican league does not offer the stiffest of competition--the Sox sent 20-year-old Henry Ramos to take his hacks, for instance--the velocity alone is reason to be encouraged.
Ranaudo's stock has declined rapidly since he entered the Sox' farm system as one of the most exciting arms available in the 2010 draft. After signing for a $2.5 million bonus, Ranaudo was strong in an early Greenville stint before slowing down upon hitting High-A Salem halfway through the 2011 season. An agressive promotion to Portland should have given fans a chance to see where he really stood, but given the way he looked on the mound it's hard to really take much away from his short stint there.
Either way the Red Sox are really not relying on Ranaudo to make their system what it is. While in 2011 Ranaudo was one of a very few really recognizable names in the farm system (this being before Will Middlebrooks and Xander Bogaerts really made their pushes, not to mention more recent additions), at this point he's been left as an afterthought, not even in the top-10. Soxprospects.com, for instance, has him ranked at #15, behind the likes of Brandon Workman and Alex Wilson.
On the one hand that speaks to how far Anthony Ranaudo has fallen, but on the other hand it speaks to the depth available to them. Ranaudo is one hell of a lottery ticket to be holding onto that deep in the system. If he is does manage to get it together, stay healthy, and make himself a legitimate prospect again, it will be a matter of the rich getting just so much richer.