|Red Sox minor league roundup: Anthony Ranaudo reasserts prospect status; Sean Coyle, Garin Cecchini white hot||04.28.13 at 10:26 am ET|
The 2012 season officially represents a footnote for Anthony Ranaudo. His results through his first four starts of 2013 have been so overpowering that his previous year now simply looks like an aberration in which injuries to his groin and shoulder prevented him from performing with the stuff that made him the team’s top pitching prospect entering the year.
Now, he’s dominating in a fashion comparable to the way that he overpowered his opponents in his first professional assignment in Single-A Greenville at the start of 2011 — only this time, he’s carving up lineups in the Double-A Eastern League. A 2012 season in which he was getting hammered while pitching in Double-A now appears to be the outlier in his professional performance.
“Last year, give him a mulligan,” said Portland manager Kevin Boles. “He just wasn’t 100 percent, and if he was 100 percent, he was just behind the eight-ball because he didn’t really have a spring training and I think he was just trying to play catch-up last year. … We just never saw the real Anthony Ranaudo. And we’re starting to see it now.”
On Saturday, Ranaudo delivered his most impressive outing to date. He retired the first 13 batters of the game to open a contest in which he logged six shutout innings while recording a career-high nine strikeouts. For the first time since 2011, he did not walk a batter. He gave up two hits — one infield single and a one-out triple — and after the triple, he struck out the next batter to keep his shutout intact. The 23-year-old elicited 12 swings and misses — nine on fastballs, two on curves, one on a change — on 89 pitches while throwing a hearty 69 percent of his pitches for strikes.
Ranaudo showed a power curveball on Saturday (with 10 of his 15 curves going for strikes), but foremost, he continued to show the ability to dominate with his fastball. After sometimes struggling to break 90 mph last year, mostly working around 88-92 mph, Ranaudo has been sitting effortlessly in the 92-94 mph range, and often topping out higher than that, around 96 mph. On Saturday, there was even more in the tank, as his fastball was 93-97 mph, sitting at 95. He’s been able to work with an arm slot that takes advantage of his 6-foot-7 frame to power his fastball down in the strike zone at an angle that gets the ball under the swing paths of most opponents.
“This year, we’re seeing a healthy Anthony Ranaudo — plus fastball, feel for a breaking ball and changeup,” said Boles. “I think the biggest thing now is, he’s been able to put himself in a position with his delivery where he’s able to angle the fastball down. We never really saw that — we saw it very rarely last year. I think it was because of the physical ailments he was going through, but now he’s able to leverage the fastball down. Obviously, the velocity is sitting around 92-94 mph with his fastball, so there’s been an uptick in his velocity from last year to this year.” Read the rest of this entry »
|Red Sox minor league roundup: Jackie Bradley Jr. bounces back, more offense from Jose Iglesias, Michael Almanzar’s run continues||04.23.13 at 11:39 am ET|
A quick look at the action in the Red Sox minor league system on Monday:
TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: 8-2 WIN AT ROCHESTER (TWINS)
– Perhaps it was as simple as Jackie Bradley Jr. needing a couple of days to get his feet under him after being sent down to Triple-A. After a 1-for-8 start in his first two contests with Pawtucket, Bradley offered a reminder of why he opened the year in the big leagues in the first place. He went 3-for-4 — a single to right, a single to left, a double to left — and received an intentional walk in five trips to the plate. It still wasn’t quite vintage Bradley — not including the intentional walk, he saw just 10 pitches in the other five plate appearances — but the fact that he had his timing and was making hard contact after not doing so for his final weeks in the big leagues was noteworthy.
It was Bradley’s 10th career three-hit game and the 11th time that he’s reached base four or more times in a game.
– Ryan Lavarnway went 2-for-5 with a double, and for the fifth straight game, he did not strike out. In 11 games this year, he has seven walks and seven strikeouts, with the frequency of his walk rate and ability to put the ball in play reflected in a solid early batting average (.310) and OBP (.423).
– Jose Iglesias went 3-for-4 with a pair of singles to center and one to right, a season high for hits. It was his second multi-hit game since being sent to Pawtucket. Read the rest of this entry »
|Red Sox minor league roundup: Anthony Ranaudo keeps rolling, Jose Iglesias goes deep||04.21.13 at 6:44 am ET|
A brief look at what took place on Saturday throughout the Red Sox farm system:
TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: 5-4 LOSS AT ROCHESTER (TWINS)
– Shortstop Jose Iglesias went 1-for-4 with a homer, his second longball of the year. The two homers (through just seven games) marks a personal best in any of his four minor league seasons (though it’s worth noting that, last year, after hitting one homer in 90 minor league games, he also went deep once in 25 big league contests). In his first seven games since getting sent back down to Triple-A, Iglesias is hitting .222 with a .300 OBP and a surprising .481 slugging mark.
PROGRAMMING NOTE: Iglesias and PawSox manager Gary DiSarcina will join Down on the Farm on Sunday morning from 8:30-9 am on WEEI to discuss the phenomenon of prospects who get sent down to the minors following a compelling run of major league success.
– In his first game in Triple-A, Jackie Bradley Jr. went 1-for-5 with a single and a stolen base while batting leadoff.
– First baseman Brandon Snyder continued his scorching start, going 3-for-4 with a double. Snyder has reached base in all 13 of the games he’s started, collecting hits in 12 of them. For the season, the 26-year-old is hitting .391 with a .472 OBP, .739 slugging mark and 10 extra-base hits in 14 games.
– Knuckleballer Charlie Haeger, who missed all of 2012 after undergoing Tommy John surgery, logged five innings in which he allowed three runs (all unearned) on six hits (all singles) while walking two and striking out two.
DOUBLE-A PORTLAND SEA DOGS: 7-1 WIN VS. NEW BRITAIN (TWINS)
– For the first time this season, Anthony Ranaudo worked into the sixth inning, permitting one run on four hits in 5 2/3 frames. His struggled with his control more than in any other outing this year (a season-high three walks while throwing just 59 percent — 50 of 85 — of his pitches for strikes), but he minimized the damage, continuing an early season run of impressive run that has seen him forge a 1.15 ERA with 17 strikeouts and five walks in his return to Double-A. He’s given up just nine hits and no homers, with opponents hitting .184 against him. Read the rest of this entry »
|Red Sox minor league roundup: Xander Bogaerts heats up; Rubby De La Rosa struggles; Travis Shaw, on-base machine; Mathew Price resurfaces||04.20.13 at 9:33 am ET|
Catching up on the action in the Red Sox minor league system from Thursday and Friday…
TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX:
Friday: Postponed at Rochester
Thursday: 14-5 loss vs. Lehigh Valley (Phillies) – BOX
– Right-hander Rubby De La Rosa struggled badly with his fastball command and execution. In two innings, he threw just 24 of 46 pitches for strikes while allowing four runs on two hits and three walks with one strikeout.
It’s been a difficult start to the season for the right-hander with the electric arm who was acquired from the Dodgers in last August’s blockbuster. He continues to work under a limit of approximately 50 pitches per outing; he’s been so inefficient that he has yet to pitch more than 2 1/3 innings. In a combined 6 2/3 innings, he’s allowed 10 runs on seven hits, six walks and three homers while punching out seven.
On the mound, though he’s shown the arm strength to generate 98 mph fastballs and displayed swing-and-miss changeups and curveballs at times, he’s looked like a pitcher without a plan, someone who scatters his pitches either outside of the strike zone or leaves them too much in the middle of it.
“He looks like he’s just throwing out there. He’s got to get to the point where his mindset is more pitching,” manager Gary DiSarcina told the Providence Journal. “You can throw 96 miles an hour, but these guys are going to hit it. He just needs to be a little more efficient with his pitches, be down in the zone a little more and pitch — not just get out there and throw.
“Sometimes, when pitchers get hit, and they get hit hard and somebody turns on their fastball and hits it for a line drive, they feel that machismo to throw it harder, harder, harder. He’ll learn. This is his third outing, and he’s kind of been repeating the same mistakes. It’s time for him to adjust and pitch.
“He just has to go out there and experience what he’s going through right now. He’ll be better for it.”
– Shortstop Jose Iglesias was 2-for-4 with one infield single (a chopper into the hole — something that is becoming, oddly, a signature of his repertoire) and a line drive double to left-center on an 88 mph fastball on Thursday. The resounding impact of the ball off the bat on his double was noteworthy, as was the fact that the ball was driven not to straightaway left but instead on a swing where he stayed towards the middle of the field. Iglesias is 5-for-23 with a double, homer and three walks since heading back to Pawtucket.
PROGRAMMING NOTE: Iglesias and PawSox manager Gary DiSarcina will join Down on the Farm this week to discuss managing a player’s expectations when he’s sent down to the minors after a notable run of big league success. The show will air on Sunday from 8:30-9 a.m. on WEEI and WEEI.com; for complete podcasts of the show, visit weei.com/podcast. Read the rest of this entry »
|Red Sox minor league roundup: Brandon Workman locked in; context for Xander Bogaerts’ early struggles||04.12.13 at 11:55 am ET|
A quick look at the action in the Red Sox system on Thursday…
TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: 5-4 WIN VS. ROCHESTER (TWINS)
– David Ortiz collected a pair of singles in his first rehab game in Pawtucket. He also had to make a trip around the bases on the second hit, advancing to third on a double and then scoring on a single. The Red Sox will make a gametime decision, based on the weather, about the wisdom of having Ortiz play again on Friday.
– Jose Iglesias, in his first game in Pawtucket since getting sent down following his 9-for-20 performance in the big leagues, went 1-for-4 with a homer and a pair of strikeouts. The homer was his third in three seasons in Pawtucket (he had exactly one in both 2011 and 2012).
“I’ve got my confidence back, and I know what to do in the field to help the team win some ballgames,” Iglesias told the Providence Journal. “That’s what I’m going to continue to do here every single day with the same intensity.” Read the rest of this entry »
|Stephen Drew: ‘It’s a good feeling to be back’||04.10.13 at 4:56 pm ET|
After getting hit by a pitch in the head and suffering a concussion in early March during a spring training game against the Twins in Fort Myers, shortstop Stephen Drew said before Wednesday’s game against the Orioles that he can’t wait to rejoin the Red Sox as the starting shortstop. Drew spoke at length about what it was to overcome the concussion, watch the team get off to a hot start and watching Jose Iglesias perform well in his absence.
More than anything, Drew said he was happy to finally be back on the field and ready to make his true Red Sox debut.
“It’s a good feeling to be back,” he told reporters three hours before Wednesday’s scheduled first pitch. “It was kind of a long process, and kind of didn’t know when I would be back. The symptoms are gone and I’m ready to get back after it. It’s good to be here.”
Does he feel ready to play?
“Oh yeah, I feel ready,” he said without hesitation. “It’s now getting in there and getting back and playing the game that I always played. I’m looking forward to getting back with the guys to help this team win. That’s what it’s about.”
Most importantly, Drew said he doesn’t fear being gun shy at the plate or in the field.
“No hesitation,” Drew said. “I knew after going through that, it’s not frustrating. You just could do nothing. You get hit in the head, and it’s your brain, and it’s one of those things that takes time to heal. I thought I was fine during the game, and going home, I knew something wasn’t right. It’s like I said, that concussion took a little while longer than I thought it would be.
“Just now, while I was down there [on a rehab assignment], trying to see as many pitches as I can, playing catchup, just getting as many at-bats as I can, taking as many swings and ground balls to be back up here.”
Drew said he started really feeling better just before the season opener in New York.
“I would say about a week and a half ago, things started to come around,” Drew said. “I don’t feel no symptoms no more. That’s what I was saying. Two weeks ago, they were still there. Just trying to get over the spin feel, being a little lethargic, tired and stuff like that. With the drills I had to do, the vision stuff, the time held itself.”
Drew said he is very grateful for the new seven-day concussion policy instituted by Major League Baseball, which began last season. Read the rest of this entry »
|Jerry Remy on D&C: ‘Chemistry comes with winning’||at 10:01 am ET|
NESN’s Jerry Remy joined Dennis & Callahan on Wednesday to talk about the Red Sox’ shortstop situation with Jose Iglesias and Stephen Drew, how big a role chemistry plays in a team’s success, and what he’s seen from the Sox so far.
Remy said it’s no surprise that Iglesias was optioned to Pawtucket now that Drew is healthy, but that he thinks Iglesias has made significant strides toward staying in the majors.
“He’s played well enough to stay, but they did go out and get a shortstop who’s a pretty good player,” Remy said. “The thing that I saw most in spring training and at the beginning of the season is that he’s learned how to be a big leaguer. He’s done the work properly, he’s been in the right frame of mind, and I just hope that being sent to Pawtucket doesn’t change that attitude for him. Sometimes when guys get sent down after having success like he had for the first week, you worry about their attitude about being sent down.
“You hope it remains the same, because I think he’s finally getting what it means to be a big league player. He’s played very well. His swing has been much more aggressive than we’ve seen in the past. It’s a tough move, but it’s a move everybody expected, and now we’ll see what Drew can do.”
Iglesias had nine hits in 20 at-bats in his six games in Boston, and Remy said he thinks Iglesias’ approach at the plate has improved.
“He takes a full, healthy cut, maybe a little too big for his own britches,” Remy said. “I think that’s still something he has to work on. But he committed himself in the offseason to becoming a better hitter. All he has to do is hit .250 and he’ll be an asset to a ball club, and I think he can do that.”
With the Sox starters opening the season on a positive note, Remy said he’s been impressed with the team’s pitching and defense.
“I think the biggest concern was, can the starting pitching be good, and I know we’re not deep into the season — we’re only going into our second round of the rotation — but that’s the key,” he said. “They’ve got such a strong bullpen, and if that starting pitching is good, that bullpen is going to be able to pick them up at the end of games.
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