Anthony Ranaudo turned in two solid innings Friday. (AP)
FORT MYERS, Fla. – Red Sox fans might want to start keeping tabs on Anthony Ranaudo.
The big righty got his spring training off to a solid start, retiring all six of his batters while striking out four in a start against the Twins Friday at JetBlue Park.
“There was definitely some adrenaline there,” said the 24-year-old after the Red Sox‘ 8-2 loss. “I think all the older guys kept the situation light for me. I had a lot of fun when I was going out there. That’s the approach I took. I was just trying to have fun with it and get that first one under my belt.”
What makes Ranaudo’s existence even more intriguing is the opportunity for the righty to potentially duplicate what his former Portland Sea Dogs’ teammate, Brandon Workman accomplished in 2013.
The 6-foot-7 starter is coming off a minor-league season in which he notched a 2.95 ERA in 19 starts with Portland, before going on to make six appearances with the Triple-A Pawtucket Red Sox. Ranaudo’s ERA with the PawSox was 2.97.
If the momentum continues, Red Sox manager John Farrell wouldn’t rule out a scenario similar to the one experienced by Workman in ‘13, which included a valued role in the big league bullpen come the season’s second half.
“He’ll perform his way into a role once his date arrives to get into the big leagues,’ Farrell said. ‘But as far as profiling and looking at the physical package, he’s got everything you’re looking for in a starting pitcher with power stuff with the ability to pitch innings. Provided that health, which he was able to get through last year with no time missed because of injury, time will tell what the ultimate performance will be. It’s hard to say at this point to begin to either put him in a category or compare him to anyone else. But he’s a very good prospect.”
The manager then added, “Coming to us and eventually pitching out of the bullpen, that type of track? We haven’t ruled that out. I think the fact is he put the first full year under his belt without any health issues, and, like I said, a solid performance today.”
As Farrell also pointed out, it doesn’t hurt that Ranaudo can see the possibilities of what might lay ahead thanks to a couple of former teammates.
‘The thing that stood out the most is that he and [Matt] Barnes started the year with Workman in Portland and the fact that they saw him go to the big leagues, he and Drake Britton, and see the success they were able to have, I think it boosted their confidence to know that their timeline is maybe getting shorter,” the manager explained. ‘When they see a teammate go up because they worked with them side by side and they see the way they perform at the level they’re currently at, I think they can some confidence from another guy going before them.”
“It’s definitely reality. Living with Drake and Brandon in Portland, starting the season with them, in the same rotation, and then seeing that they not only made it up to the big leagues but they had success and contributed to a team that won the World Series,’ Ranaudo said. ‘It’s definitely an eye-opener. All the young guys are pretty well aware of the opportunity.”