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Anthony Ranaudo's Deadline Deal Completes Red Sox' Excellent Draft Class

It came down to the final hour -- indeed, Alex Speier's news of his signing was tweeted at exactly 12:00 A.M. -- but the Red Sox were able to reach an agreement with seemingly their most elusive 2010 draft pick, Anthony Ranaudo, a right-handed pitcher from LSU.

Up until the deal was struck -- the Red Sox agreed to pay $2.55 million, roughly equal to what MLB recommends a team pay for the No. 5 overall pick, and largest signing bonus ever given by the club to a college player -- the team apparently had "no clue" if they'd be able to land Ranaudo, who was seemingly content with not signing and simply returning to pitch at LSU for his senior season.

Ranaudo was drafted with the No. 39 overall pick (in the sandwich round) back in June, and then spent his summer with an impressive performance in the Cape Cod Baseball League, throwing 29.2 shutout innings and striking out over a batter an inning. Elbow issues with LSU in 2010 -- and representation from Scott Boras -- left Ranaudo signing with Boston anything but a sure thing, but in the end, Theo and company were able to get it done.

"He has a chance to really repeat his delivery and pitches with a plus fastball and a plus breaking ball and an average changeup, and [he] is someone who obviously went through a little bit of adversity this year but he bounced back and started to really put it together at the end," said Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein the night of the draft. "He's somebody we really think is on the [rise], and went into the year as one of the top college pitchers in the draft."

Ranaudo's deal means that the Sox successfully signed 14 of their top 15 picks from June (they missed out on Tyler Barnette, a ninth-round pick), including their top 10 selections.

Also late Monday night, Boston was able to come to terms with their seventh-round pick, LHP Chris Hernandez (Miami), agreeing to a deal worth $375,000. At the time he was drafted, Sox director of amateur scouting Amiel Sawdaye said of him, "None of his pitches are straight. Everything moves. He's just a guy who has a really good chance to get to the big leagues because of his repertoire from the left side."

In addition to Ranaudo, Monday also brought it with agreements with No. 57 overall pick Brandon Workman (RHP, Texas), third-rounder Sean Coyle (SS, Germantown Academy, PA), fourth-rounder Garin Cecchini (SS, Barbe HS, LA), eighth round pick MMatthew Price (RHP, Virginia Tech), and 11th-rounder Lucas LeBlanc (OF, Delgado Community College, LA).

It was an expensive day -- the Sox spent $7.25 million in deals on Monday, and totaled about $10.4 million overall in draft pick signings -- but one that could prove to be a pivotal day for the franchise. As Over The Monster said, "This was a huge day for the organization's future."