Anthony Ranaudo Rumors
Major League Baseball's amateur draft will be held from June 7th-9th, so we're going to introduce you to some of the top players available between now and then.
College righthanders are always a hot target come draft day, and coming into the season the best one this class had to offer was Anthony Ranaudo of Louisiana State. He made a name for himself by winning the clinching game of the 2009 College World Series, giving the Tigers their first National Championship since 2000.
Despite all his promise, Ranaudo's season was derailed by a sore elbow that not only cost him a month of the season, but also some of his effectiveness. ESPN's Keith Law recently ranked him as the 20th best prospect in the draft, while Baseball America had him 23rd (sub. req'd for both). Expected to be no worse than a top five pick a few months ago, now it's a question of whether or not Ranaudo will even be selected in the first round. He owns an 8.02 ERA with a 39/21 K/BB ratio in 42.2 innings this season, and opponents are hitting .301 off him.
Looking beyond the stats, it's easy to see why scouts like Ranaudo. He towers over the competition quite literally at 6-foot-7 and 230 lbs., and MLB.com's Draft Report says he throws his fastball up to 93. He backs it up with an over-the-top spike curveball and an average changeup, and when he's right he commands everything well. After the injury, his stuff wasn't as sharp and the control wasn't there. The MLB.com link offers video.
Law said in this week's chat that Ranaudo's strong outing in the SEC Tournament on Wednesday "threw him right back in the first round mix," but it's unlikely to get him back in the top ten picks because of the injury and his price tag. Baseball America's Aaron Fitt provided a first hand report from that game. A Scott Boras client, Ranaudo will not be cheap, nor should teams expect a discount due to the injury and poor overall performance.
Baseball America's Jim Callis projected the Red Sox to roll the dice and select Ranaudo with the 20th overall pick in his latest mock draft (sub. req'd). Boston received that pick from the Braves as compensation for losing Billy Wagner. Ranaudo is the draft's wildcard, a team willing to gamble on his health could grab him, as could a team with extra picks (Angels, Blue Jays, Red Sox, Rays). It's entirely possible that the team who drafts him will be unwilling to meet his asking price, and Boras takes Ranaudo to an independent league next year before re-entering the draft, similar to what he did with Luke Hochevar.
Links for Thursday, as the Phillies attempt to get their offense going...
- Padres GM Jed Hoyer tells FanGraphs contributor Mike Lee that trading within a division makes sense at times. The entire interview is worth a read.
- In a clip for FanHouse TV, former Mets GM Steve Phillips explains what he meant when he said he would deal Stephen Strasburg for Roy Oswalt.
- MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo breaks down this year's class of draft-eligible catchers and describes Yasmani Grandal's development into a top prospect.
- David Patton, who was designated for assignment when the Cubs had to make room for Bob Howry, has cleared waivers and re-signed with the Cubs, according to MLB.com's Carrie Muskat (via Twitter).
- Chipper Jones told 790 the Ticket in Miami that he might not play next year, even though he's under contract (transcript on Sports Radio Interviews, hat tip to USA Today). Chipper has gone back and forth on the issue this year.
- Angel Pagan is a better player than Jeff Francoeur for 2010 and beyond, writes Joel Sherman of the New York Post.
- The Phillies are more likely to trade for a third or fourth starter than an ace this summer, according to Danny Knobler of CBSSports. Knobler hears that the Phillies may match up best with a team looking to shed the salary of an expensive starter.
- Drew Pomeranz pitched well in front of a dozen or more scouting directors, writes ESPN.com's Keith Law. Meanwhile, teams have questions about righty Anthony Ranaudo's medical history.
- Yahoo's Tim Brown and Jon Heyman of SI.com believe Stephen Strasburg will make his MLB debut on June 8th, though both writers remind us that the date could change (Twitter links).
- David Golebiewski of FanGraphs says Carlos Pena should show more plate discipline and pull the ball if he wants to sign a big free agent contract this offseason.
Links for Monday, as Jose Bautista continues to astound...
- Jake Peavy told MLB.com's Scott Merkin that he has no interest in being part of a rebuilding effort at this point in his career. He hasn't given up on the White Sox, though.
- The injured Justin Duchscherer tells John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle that he wants to pitch in 2011 (Twitter link).
- Yahoo's Tim Brown lists Dave Trembley, Jerry Manuel and other managers whose jobs aren't completely secure.
- Frankie Piliere of MLB FanHouse names 24 international player to watch leading up to July 2nd, when teams can start signing a new crop of free agents. The Giants are among the favorites to sign top Dominican outfielder Eskarlin Vasquez.
- Cubs GM Jim Hendry says he doesn't have "one thought" in his mind about firing Lou Piniella, according to Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune (via Twitter).
- Another manager whose contract expires after the season, Jerry Manuel, tells Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork that he isn't worried about his status (Twitter link).
- RotoAuthority identifies some pitchers who have gained and lost velocity this season. Francisco Liriano's fastball has more zip than ever and, now that he's in the rotation, C.J. Wilson isn't throwing as hard.
- Rival executives feel that the Nationals could become aggressive this trade deadline, according to ESPN.com's Buster Olney. The Nats, now 20-18, could take on an apparently-oversized contract and make a playoff push.
- MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo explains that top college pitchers Anthony Ranaudo and Drew Pomeranz have struggled recently and aren't as attractive to teams as they once were.
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports believes the Cubs should consider firing Lou Piniella if they don't jump into serious contention.
- Dave Cameron of FanGraphs explains that Jose Bautista and Jake Westbrook could be attractive trade chips later in the summer.
- South Side Sox says Kenny Williams' roster construction "lacked imagination and vision" this year. The result so far: a 15-22 record for the White Sox.
Links for Thursday...
- Chat today, 2pm CST.
- Dan Hayes of the North County Times tweets that the Padres signed Eric Munson to a minor league deal. Munson, 32, hit .265/.362/.450 in Triple A last year while catching 73 games.
- Potential high 2010 draft pick Anthony Ranaudo, a righty at LSU, will miss a start Friday due to elbow discomfort according to Baseball America's Aaron Fitt.
- ESPN's Jerry Crasnick looks at the mentor role Ben Sheets will play for the Oakland pitching staff.
- Maury Brown of The Biz of Baseball reports that despite a decrease in attendance, MLB revenue reached a record $6.6 billion in 2009.
- J.D. Drew feels that he's been worth the $42MM he's been paid so far by the Red Sox over the 2007-09 seasons, reports Steve Buckley of the Boston Herald.
A few links for the evening....
- Chico Harlan of the Washington Post notes one name that stands out on the Washington Nationals' roster for the Florida Instructional League: Stephen Strasburg. Strasburg is expected to pitch in the Instructional League that runs from Sept. 24 to Oct. 13.
- Keith Law of ESPN.com reports that LSU righty Anthony Ranaudo has chosen Scott Boras as his adviser for the 2010 draft. Ranaudo projects to be one of the top college pitchers next year and a potential top-five pick in the June draft, assuming Boras' presence doesn't scare teams away.
- BP's Eric Seidman at ESPN.com follows up on the Prince Fielder to San Francisco speculation by discussing what the Giants would have to give up to net the slugging first baseman. Seidman is doubtful that Giants GM Brian Sabean would want to part with any blue-chip prospects like Buster Posey or Madison Bumgarner, but suggests that of their major league talent, only the front-line starters (Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, and Jonathan Sanchez) would interest the Brewers. Seidman writes that to even consider a trade, the Giants would have to be confident they could sign Fielder to a long-term deal.