Garin Cecchini, 3B
Cecchini only spent 66 games with Double-A last year, but he also only spent 63 games with High-A prior to that. He's rocketed up through the system, as his patience and approach are such that he won't truly be tested until he's facing major-league pitchers, or the closest approximation Triple-A has to offer. It's early yet for Cecchini, but we're seeing basically what we should be expecting: he's hitting for a high average, he's not striking out overly much, he's drawn a few walks, and his power is nonexistent.
It's early, so he could start to whiff more, or begin showing some real power, but two parts of the Cecchini approach already seem to be in place with the high contact rate and the three walks in 28 plate appearances. We'll give him a little time to settle in before we declare mission accomplished at this stop, of course: this is more just a comment on how it's nice to see him hit the ground running despite unfamiliarity with the level, and a cold New England spring.
Cecchini doesn't have to hit for power to be a useful big-league bat, so keep that in mind throughout his time at Triple-A if he shows off less power than Jackie Bradley Jr., a player with a similar rise through the system, did a year ago. The things to watch for will be his strikeout and walk rates: if Cecchini can keep drawing free passes without watching too many pitches become strikes thanks to more experienced arms behind them, then Pawtucket will have been a success.
Christian Vazquez, C
Vazquez has three doubles to his credit, but is curiously yet to draw a walk, and, more unsurprisingly, hasn't hit for a high average in the early going. He tends to take some time to get moving after a promotion, as his glove has pushed the 23-year-old backstop up through the system before his bat was necessarily ready for the more difficult competition. With that in mind, seeing him do anything besides fall on his face at the plate is a bonus until about June, when we should expect him to start to put things together offensively.
His ridiculous throwing arm is already doing work, though, with Vazquez throwing out three of seven would be baserunners, as well as mixing in a snap throw to nail a runner at first. The Red Sox are making sure to get him time in the lineup even when he's not behind the plate, which serves the dual purpose of keeping fellow catcher and 40-man roster member Dan Butler on a regular schedule as well as making sure Vazquez gets enough at-bats during his first full stint at the level. He'll need them, as there is a non-zero chance he's catching in Boston this time next year.
Anthony Ranaudo, RHP
Ranaudo has one mission this summer, and it's to develop his change-up to the point that he can be considered for whatever opening exists in the 2015 Red Sox rotation. Without that third pitch, it doesn't matter if he's got a plus curve, as his fastball is a little inconsistent: one-and-a-half offerings is not enough to succeed with as a big-league starter, but he could be a monster out of the bullpen with his bender and even an inconsistent heater.
Ranaudo made some starts at this level in 2013, and to this point has compiled a 3.38 ERA with 7.2 strikeouts per nine and a 2.7 strikeout-to-walk ratio in his 40 innings of work. He has plenty of time to refine his change-up and his fastball command, as Brandon Workman is the next-in-line should a starter be necessary in the majors for an extended stretch, and Allen Webster is likely waiting in the wings after that. He'll need that time, as, despite obvious talent, there's still plenty of development to be done here before the 6-foot-7 right-hander is ready for the big stage.