Garin Cecchini, 3B
You might be disappointed with what Garin Cecchini has done to this point in the season, but there's no reason to be. If anything, this is in line with expectations, given his performance at Double-A combined with the cooler weather of April. Cecchini hasn't shown much power at all, as he has three doubles and a homer despite already racking up nearly 100 plate appearances, but he hasn't seen an increase in strikeouts compared to his time at Double-A, is batting over .300, and has drawn walks 13 percent of the time. It's not quite the even-ish strikeout-to-walk ratio of last year, but it's notable given this is the highest level he can go to before testing his approach in the majors.
With Cecchini, power is a hypothetical. He might develop it with time, as Kevin Youkilis did. He might never hit for power, but can put the bat on the ball often enough and do enough damage with singles and doubles that he's not attacked with an incessant barrage of strikes, limiting his walks. He's unlikely to change his approach and sell out for power with two strikes -- and he should not -- but maybe, with more experience, we'll see Cecchini better picking out the pitches he can drive, and then doing so.
You know about Vazquez's defense already, as it's usually what we focus on early in the season as he adjusts to a new level. However, the 23-year-old backstop seems like he was prepared for his promotion, as he's hitting .292/.342/.417 and has walked six times against just 13 strikeouts (16 percent). Seeing him constantly put the ball in play is good, and while his .350 batting average on balls in play won't survive the season, he tends to be a high-BABIP bat once he gets around to figuring out a level. The fact that's happening now, just days into May, is a potential great sign for Vazquez's development, as is seeing him post an 878 OPS over his last 10 games. It might not seem like much, but Vazquez has tended to be outright awful at the plate when introduced to tougher competition -- even 10 games of quality this early earns a sigh of relief.
If he can keep it up throughout the season, he just might get one of the open catchers' jobs in Boston in 2015. He's got four months before his performance tells us if that's the case, though, and then an off-season in front of him.
Anthony Ranaudo, RHP
Ranaudo is mixing high-quality performances in with disappointing ones, which shouldn't shock anyone who has followed his development. When he's on, he's nigh impossible to beat, mixing velocity with a serious bender. When he's off, his command is his enemy, his velocity lags behind, and the lack of a quality third offering is exposed. Ranaudo has a start with five runs allowed, one with four, and a three-inning appearance where he gave up a pair. All told in his other three starts, he's responsible for just one run. You can probably guess which starts everything was clicking in.
It's worth pointing out, though, that in the one other start he allowed a run in, he actually gave up four -- only one was earned. A throw that resulted in an error allowed a runner to advance to second, negating any further damage Ranaudo caused that inning with his own performance. In that one frame, he issued a walk, a single (then the error happened), another walk, and then a three-run homer. Unearned runs aren't always a pitcher's doing, but that runner was scoring whether it was from first or second once the ball went yard, so blaming the rest of the inning on an errant throw isn't quite honest, either.
He needs far more of the high-quality starts this year to convince me that he's not a reliever in the long run. I do think he's capable of great starts, and could be in a big-league rotation, but there might be more value to him in the bullpen or in a trade considering how many other starting-quality arms are in the upper levels of the system. If his change-up comes around and his command/velocity don't hop around anymore, that changes things entirely. That's been the story for a while now, though.