October 24, 2012 at 8:00 AM
#16 Keury De La Cruz, OF
2012 teams: Greenville Drive/Salem Red Sox
Final stats: .307/.350/.533, 20 HR, 87 RBI, 20 SB
2012 Season in Review: De La Cruz had a breakout year offensively. SoxProspects.com scout Chris Mellen noted during spring training that De La Cruz had filled out more and that he had increased his batspeed. Both of these elements contributed to a stellar first half with the Greenville Drive that earned him a spot on the South Atlantic League All-Star team. After posting a line of .308/.352/.536 with 19 home runs, De La Cruz earned himself a promotion to High-A Salem at the end of August. De La Cruz spent his first four years with the organization as a center fielder, but with his filled-out frame he has more-or-less shifted to the outfield corners, seeing most of his time this season in left field.
2013 Preview: De La Cruz appeared in only six games with Salem to get a taste of the level, and he is likely to begin his 2013 campaign there. De La Cruz was able to get away with some mechanical issues in the lower levels, but High-A pitchers will not let him make the same mistakes. SoxProspects.com scout Ian Cundall noted that De La Cruz needs to improve the consistency of his swing and his plate discipline. De La Cruz has shown improvement with each year in the organization, so it will be interesting to see how he adjusts to Salem and at which outfield position the organization chooses to develop him.
#15 Anthony Ranaudo
2012 Team: Portland Sea Dogs
Final Stats: 1-3, 6.69 ERA, 37 2/3 IP, 27 K, 27 BB
2012 Season in Review: It was not an easy season for Anthony Ranaudo, to say the least. A strained groin delayed his Portland debut until May, and his season ended in July due to dead-arm. A combination of injuries and mechanical issues led to Ranaudo throwing fewer than 40 innings and ineffectiveness when he did pitch, his walks and hits too high, his strikeouts too low. Mellen noted inconsistencies in his delivery and said that he needs to develop his changeup if he wants to be a starter at the major league level. Although it was a disappointing season in terms of development for Ranaudo, the jump between High-A and Double-A is among the toughest in the minor leagues. Still, the decline in his stuff left scouts wanting more, even ignoring the numbers. Ranaudo made his return to the mound in the Fall Instructional League, and is ramping up slowly with an eye on 2013.
2013 Outlook: Ranaudo needs to return to Portland and demonstrate success there before moving forward. The important thing will be improving his mechanics and consistency with his delivery, and he could also stand to work on pitching from the stretch and his changeup. Despite the disappointments thus far in his development, it still is too early to give up completely on him; if he can fix those mechanical issues and regain the dominant stuff that led the Red Sox to hand him a $2.55 million bonus out of LSU, he certainly has the potential to be the something approaching the pitcher the Red Sox drafted. However, expectations must be tempered at this point.
Photo credit: Keury De La Cruz by TJ Lawrence, Anthony Ranaudo by Dave Letizi.