Red Sox's Ranaudo Satisfied With Debut

BOSTON—Anthony Ranaudo was declared the Red Sox's top pitching prospect before he threw his first professional pitch. By that standard, it would be easy to look at the 6-foot-7 righthander's season as underwhelming.

Ranaudo's numbers for the year were solid if unspectacular. At two Class A stops, he went 9-6, 3.97 with 117 strikeouts (8.3 per nine innings) and 46 walks (3.3) in 127 innings.

He was challenged more after his June promotion. After going 4-1, 3.33 for low Class A Greenville, Ranaudo's numbers dipped to 5-5, 4.33 with high Class A Salem.

Yet one year removed from an injury-riddled junior year at Louisiana State that dropped him from an early first-rounder to a sandwich pick (No. 39 overall) in 2010, Ranaudo suggests that he fulfilled more important goals. In his first year on a five-day routine, he made 26 starts and logged 127 innings.

"That was my biggest goal coming into the year," he said. "I wanted to make it through a whole year healthy and prove to everybody that my arm is 100 percent. I did that."

Sox farm director Mike Hazen raved that Ranaudo was "an animal" in his between-starts work—a necessary trait to build the strength needed to support such a large frame and to achieve a consistent delivery.

On the mound, Hazen suggested, Ranaudo had one of the top swing-and-miss rates on his fastball of anyone in the system, showing an ability to elevate the ball for strikeouts. Ranaudo, 22, also features a curveball that can produce swings and misses but was inconsistent in 2011, as well an improving changeup.

"I definitely feel like my changeup developed really tremendously this year," he said. "The more I use it, the more I'm going to trust it."

That could help him fulfill the huge expectations that greeted him before he threw a pitch as a pro. Ranaudo, however, suggests that he won't be driven by prospect status.

"When I go out on the field every day, I'm not trying to pitch to labels and what people look at me as," Ranaudo said. "I'm trying to get better each and every day."

Sox Yarns

• Third baseman Will Middlebrooks sprained his left thumb, ending his Arizona Fall League season. He will wear a cast for four to six weeks before commencing a full offseason workout program.

• Catcher Ryan Lavarnway left the Venezuelan League after being sidelined by illness for more than 10 days.