The strange case of Anthony Ranaudo
So, we all know what’s been going on with LSU’s Anthony Ranaudo of late. Early injury, major struggles since, Draft slide as a result. His start today in the SEC Tournament could go a long way toward either reversing the disturbing trend or continuing his fall, perhaps even out of the first round.
His performance was his best of the season, though that’s not saying a whole lot based on what’s gone on the past few weeks. He went 7 2/3 innings, by far his longest outing of the year. Over his first two innings, he was touching 95 mph and his breaking stuff, said scouts, looked better than it has in a long time. As the game went on, he lost some velocity, finishing at 91-92 mph in the eighth. And here’s the puzzling thing. His stuff got raves, with some calling it “top 10” pure stuff. But at the same time, it very hittable. He gave up eight hits and was charged with six runs (five earned), though he left the game with runners on base and the bullpen didn’t strand them.
Ranaudo struck out two in the first inning and his stuff was downright nasty. And while LSU and Ranaudo were thrilled that he was “back,” he looked a little more ordinary later in the game. There is definite concern about the lack of life on his fastball. Straight and 95 mph might work here, it won’t at the next level; straight at 91 mph even gets hit here.
So where does that leave Ranaudo? I was chatting with Baseball America’s Jim Callis about that very subject (yes, us arch rivals do talk to each other) and he felt today’s start had to help the right-hander, at least a little. I’m not sure how much it helped him, but I agree it definitely didn’t hurt him. I think it helped him stop the slide to an extent, especially if he follows it up with a better outing in a regional. That could mean, as Callis pointed out, that a team that might have thought he’d slip into the sandwich round will have to snag him in the first round instead.
In the end, then, it can be looked as a step in the right direction, however unsure it may have been. Things are still inconclusive, I think and what he does in regional play could go a long way in determining if Ranaudo can sneak back up draft boards.