Anthony Ranaudo, 39th Overall Pick and Scott Boras Client, Playing Hardball With Red Sox

Anthony Ranaudo, 39th Overall Pick and Scott Boras Client, Playing Hardball With Red Sox At the beginning of the season, Anthony Ranaudo was ranked Baseball America’s No. 1 college prospect — and he wants to get paid like one.

The Red Sox selected Ranaudo with the 39th overall pick in this year’s draft. The right-hander expected to go much higher in the draft but dropped because of an elbow injury and subsequent struggles in his junior year at LSU.

Ranaudo suffered a stress reaction in his right elbow before the start of the 2010 campaign. After he returned, he went 5-3 with a 7.32 ERA. It wasn’t exactly on par with his stellar 2009, when he helped LSU win the College World Series and was third in the NCAA in strikeouts with 159 behind Mike Leake and Stephen Strasburg.

But as a Scott Boras client, Ranaudo is not letting any ‘10 numbers get in the way of his financial demands. And if he doesn’t get what he wants, he may return to LSU for his senior season, the Cape Cod Times reports.

"If Anthony's not treated and viewed as one of the top 10 picks in the draft by the Boston Red Sox, in terms of their financial commitment, then Anthony wants to come back to LSU and prove that he can be that guy," LSU associate head coach David Grewe told the Cape Cod Times.

According to The Boston Globe, the No. 9, 10 and 11 picks in 2009 got $4.7 million, $1.6 million and $3.9 million, respectively.

For Boston, Ranaudo’s loyalty to LSU could be an even bigger hurdle than money.

"It's for myself and LSU," Ranaudo, 20, told the Cape Cod Times. "To develop back into that pitcher, back into that role, and prove it to myself and everybody else in the country that I'm still Anthony Ranaudo. I'm still the same talent, I'm still the same prospect, I'm still the same team player.

"It might sound crazy, but [my biggest goal right now] is winning another national championship. … That would be the ultimate topping to prove that it wasn't a one-year fluke, that our group of guys were legit and are a part of LSU history forever."

Members of the Red Sox' front office have witnessed Ranaudo’s two starts this summer in the Cape League, both of which were strong. In 10 2/3 innings, he has allowed two hits, surrendered one unearned run, walked two and struck out 11. Ranaudo’s pitches are consistently clocked between 91 and 94 mph, and he’s held opponents to an .057 batting average.

So who has the leverage — Ranaudo and Boras or the Red Sox?

We’ll find out by the Aug. 16 signing deadline.

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