EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

May 12, 2013

Ranaudo is back and better than ever

On Pro Baseball
Christopher Smith

---- — PORTLAND, MAINE — Red Sox prospect Anthony Ranaudo lost his command and his velocity and was hampered with a groin injury and fatigued shoulder last year.

One word sums up that season ... disaster.

The 2010 first-round pick, who received a $2.55 million signing bonus, saw his fastball velocity dip to the mid-to-high 80s. He went 1-3 with a dismal 6.69 ERA at Double-A Portland before being sent to the Red Sox minor league complex in Fort Myers with a tired arm.

“You look back at last year and it was pretty bad overall,” the 23-year-old said.

“Everything that you could imagine kind of went wrong and it did. I have to accept it. I’ve moved forward. It’s behind me.”

Ranaudo is better than ever this year with Portland. His fastball has topped out at 97 mph. Through six starts, he is 4-1 with a 1.64 ERA, 0.82 WHIP, 7 walks, 36 strikeouts in 33.0 innings.

That’s a far cry from his 27 walks and 27 strikeouts in 37.2 innings last year.

“I think I learned a little bit about my body and realized that I had some shoulder fatigue from not doing some exercises that I probably could have been doing more of — some heavier weight and stuff,” Ranaudo said.

“And so when I got hurt last year, I went back to the basics. I didn’t try to reinvent the wheel. I went back to the shoulder program and kind of building my strength step by step.”

Ranaudo, who is 6 foot 7, put on needed weight in the offseason.

“It’s nice to see a lot of the hard work pay off and the results come,” Ranaudo said.

“You can think about it and do everything you want (to prepare) but as soon as you get over the line, things change.”

Ranaudo’s scouting report on soxprospects.com states that his inconsistent delivery “caused both fastball command and velocity to regress in 2012.”

“I’ve learned some things about my delivery over the course of the last couple of years,” Ranaudo said. “Obviously, I’m in a pretty good place now with my delivery. I know a few focus points I need to work on every day and I do it in throwing in the outfield and stuff. But I think the biggest thing you’re seeing is me being healthy and able to feel my body.”

Ranaudo throws a fastball, spike curveball with 12-to-6 action and a changeup

“I feel pretty confident in it,” Ranaudo said about the changeup. “It’s probably the most confidence I’ve ever had in the pitch. I’ve been throwing it behind in counts or even in counts and having good results with it. I changed it a little bit. It’s more of a power change-up. It’s actually coming out 87, 88 mph. But it has got good action and it’s doing just enough to keep the hitters off-balance.”

Portland manager Kevin Boles said of Ranaudo: “No. 1 he’s healthy. He was behind the eight ball a little bit last year in spring training. But again, here’s a guy whose velocity is up from last year, showing a plus-curveball at times and a feel for a change-up. This is a guy who doesn’t have any fear of contact. He pitches well from the stretch. He maintains his stuff from the stretch.”