Portland Sea Dogs update: Anthony Ranaudo, Michael Almanzar, Keith Couch

USA TODAY Sports

Ranaudo pitches in the Double-A All-Star game, Almanzar is slowing down, and Couch is picking things back up.

Anthony Ranaudo, RHP

Year Age Tm Lg Lev ERA GS IP BF WHIP H/9 HR/9 BB/9 SO/9 SO/BB
2013 23 Portland EL AA 2.67 16 91.0 362 1.044 6.2 0.6 3.2 9.3 2.94
3 Seasons 3.91 51 255.2 1078 1.267 7.7 0.7 3.7 8.4 2.27
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 7/11/2013.

Ranaudo represented the Red Sox in Wednesday's Double-A All-Star Game, throwing an inning, but it wasn't a good one. He walked three batters, struck out one, and allowed a homer and three runs. Don't worry, Anthony: you've still got the Futures Game to make up for it.

More importantly, though, Ranaudo has just been okay of late. Including Wednesday's appearance, he has 12 walks against 13 strikeouts in his last 19 innings, and while it hasn't harmed his ERA much yet, given Ranaudo's history of slowing down as the year goes on, it's worth paying attention to what could be a slide. It's certainly too early to panic, and Ranaudo might just be dealing with some mid-season fatigue after missing most of last season. But, as said, it bears watching.

*****

Michael Almanzar, 3B

Year Age Tm Lg Lev PA 2B 3B HR SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
2013 22 Portland EL AA 348 22 2 11 7 0 31 55 .279 .342 .468 .810
6 Seasons 2494 128 11 44 29 16 147 498 .250 .302 .373 .675
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 7/11/2013.

Almanzar hasn't been bad recently, he just hasn't been as good as he was earlier in the season. He's scuffled a bit in July, and has hit .278/.366/.361 over his last 10 games. The only reason this actually matters is that the Sox need Almanzar to keep it up for the rest of the month, in case he's a trade chip that can be leveraged before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. Almanzar needs 40-man roster protection this off-season, and the Sox don't have anywhere to put him on their 40 given he's not quite big-league ready yet. That won't stop someone else from having a spot, though, and that means he's a believable piece to deal now before he's lost for nothing.

He's young enough that, even if he loses a year of development sitting on a bench (when his new team isn't hiding him on rehab assignments in Triple-A, I mean), he can bounce back and continue along the path he's brought himself back to since 2012. Plus, with the Red Sox logjam at third base in the upper minors and in the majors, it just makes sense to deal Almanzar if the Sox can find a taker that will give them a piece they need for 2013. Prospects aren't only for promoting, you know.

*****

Keith Couch, RHP

Year Age Tm Lg Lev ERA G IP BF WHIP H/9 HR/9 BB/9 SO/9 SO/BB
2013 23 Portland EL AA 3.67 19 68.2 303 1.442 9.6 0.8 3.4 8.3 2.42
4 Seasons 3.65 89 407.0 1730 1.283 9.6 0.6 1.9 7.5 3.84
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 7/11/2013.

Couch has had a bit of an up-and-down 2013, but he's come around of late. He's struck out 23 batters in 31 innings since returning to the Portland rotation in June, all while walking 10 batters, allowing just one homer, and posting an ERA of 2.32. It's a small sample, of course, but it looks as if Couch might have taken something he learned from pitching in the pen and applied it to his work as a starter. That seasonal strikeout rate won't stay where it is for the rest of the season if he remains in the rotation, but that's not his only weapon, either: Couch induces ground outs in bunches, and that hasn't changed since he switched back to starting.

His future is still likely in relief, but it's good to see him pitching well enough as a starter that can be stick in the role while at Double-A. The longer he can stay as a starter, the more innings he can throw in preparation for an eventual MLB relief role.

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