Ranaudo wasn't happy with his performance, and knows that adjusting to the Double-A level will be important to his success after pitching in low-A Greenville and high-A Salem in 2011. But considering it was his first Double-A start as well as his first start of 2012 due to a groin strain in Spring Training, the 6-foot-7 right-hander is staying optimistic, and is pleased he is healthy and pitching again.
"Obviously I didn't pitch very well the other day; I didn't pitch the way I have pitched in the past, or the way I'm capable of pitching, but it's great to be out there and healthy," he said. "It's great to be competing and part of a team again."
Ranaudo strained his groin in a start a week before Spring Training ended, and after approximately a month and a half on the DL and a few rehab stints in Florida, was activated from Salem's DL and sent to Portland early on Tuesday before he made the start at Reading Tuesday night.
Although Ranaudo's first performance didn't reflect his normal self on the mound, the Sea Dogs are happy to finally have him in Portland, and are excited about what he can bring to the table.
"You have to love his physical makeup, you have to love his stuff, and you have to love his makeup in general. There's intangible skills this guy possesses and if you spend any kind of time around him, you're really impressed by what he can do," Sea Dogs' pitching coach Bob Kipper said.
Predominantly a fastball pitcher — he throws a four-seam fastball that was touching 95 in Spring Training along with two-seamer — Ranaudo also mixes in a changeup, and a hard curveball that Kipper describes as a "paralyzing type of curveball."
And along with his struggles on Tuesday, there were many high points, and the curveball definitely stood out to Kipper and his staff as a strength in Ranaudo's game and a sign of his high potential.
"Once he started going he settled in around the third inning and you started to see his ability to drive the fastball in the lower half of the strike zone, and we saw what I would consider one of those paralyzing type of curveballs," Kipper said. "He handles his curveball very, very well."
"When I settled in I thought I threw some good quality curveballs for strikes. I struck a guy out with one and got some weak contact, so that was definitely something to build off of. My curve ball has been a great out-pitch." Ranaudo said.
Another thing that stood out was his poise and ability to compete.
"Even when I gave up those two home runs in the fourth, I bounced back and felt like I pitched really well against the last three batters with my fastball command. It felt good," Ranaudo said.
The LSU product and New Jersey native, who went 9-6 with a 3.97 ERA and 197 strikeouts in 127 innings in 2011, said getting used to a professional routine in both Greenville and Salem helped prepare him for his role in Portland.
"Just being on a five-day routine and being healthy for a whole year helped a lot and helped me get used to professional ball," he said.
"Making 26 starts, you kind of know your body and know what works for you in your routine, which gives you the ultimate edge when you get out there. You feel confident that you've put in your work and trust in your game, so I think that's the biggest learning curve that I made last year. I just have to keep figuring out my routine and what works for me, and use my strength to attack these hitters."
In his first day at Hadlock on Friday, Ranaudo spoke with confidence and determination about adjusting to the Double-A level, and noted that knowing how hitters at this level think will be a point of emphasis during his time in Portland.
"Learning how to get batters out at this new level of competition is important," he said. "It's a new wave of competition with older, more experienced guys, so I'm just trying to learn how they take their approach to the plate and learn how to pitch to better hitters."
Ranaudo's fastball was 90-93 in Reading on Tuesday, and, "touched 94, maybe," he said. But velocity is something that will come and frankly something the tall right-hander isn't worried about.
"Like I said, I wasn't throwing the way I know how to the other day. I was up in the zone, so I just need to put that behind me, move on and keep working hard," he said.
Now that he's healthy, and with the skills and poise a guy like Ranaudo possesses, what's not to like about his future in Portland and in the organization?
"When you look at his frame at 6-foot-7, there are things you can imagine this young man's going to be able to do on a consistent basis once he gets some innings under his belt this year," Kipper said. "We can expect a lot of good things from Anthony Ranaudo.
"Not that there won't be a bump or two in the road, but I really gotta believe his makeup is going to allow him to pitch very well in the future."
Ranaudo Adjusting To Double-A
Diehard Magazine Top Stories
Fantasy Baseball: Week 5 2-Start PitchersSenior Fantasy Baseball Expert Adam Ronis examines the starting pitchers slated to hit the mound twice in Week 5 of the MLB season.
Scout FantasyYesterday at 12:13 PM
Week 4: Fantasy Baseball Stock WatchTake advantage of this week's FREE Fantasy Baseball Stock Watch! Who is trending up? Who is trending down? Find out where these players stand in the world of Fantasy Baseball and…
Scout FantasyFriday at 10:38 AM
Carson Smith Suffers Setback in RecoveryThe Boston Red Sox transferred the reliever from the 10-day disabled list to the 60-day disabled list.
Hardball ScoopThursday at 9:00 PM
Five Changed Starting PitchersFive big-name pitchers have made changes to their repertoires in the early going this season. Chris Towers dives into the numbers for clarity.
Scout FantasyThursday at 12:59 PM
Fantasy Baseball: Week 4 AL Closer ReportSenior Fantasy Baseball Expert Shawn Childs takes an in-depth look at the bullpen for every team in the American League!
Scout FantasyWednesday at 10:37 AM