Top prospects Jameson Taillon, Anthony Ranaudo promoted to Triple-A

USA TODAY Sports

Two teams in the middle of heated division races have moved top pitching prospects to one level away from the show.

Two teams with playoff aspirations promoted powerful young arms up to Triple-A on Friday. The Pittsburgh Pirates have promoted 21-year-old pitching prospect Jameson Taillon, according to Steven Petrella of MLB.com, and the Red Sox have moved up 23-year-old Anthony Ranaudo, according to Jason Mastrodonato of MLB.com.

Taillon was drafted by Pittsburgh with the second pick of the 2010 draft and he immediately landed at the top of the prospect rankings. Prior to the 2011 season, he was ranked the 11th best prospect in the game by Baseball America. He flashed good command and excellent strikeout abilities in 92 2/3 innings in the South Atlantic League in 2011 and was ranked 15th by Baseball America and 8th by MLB.com on their top-100 prospect list heading into 2012. This season, he has posted a 3.67 ERA in 110 innings at Double-A and struck out 106 batters.

Ranaudo was a dominant college pitcher for LSU before being taken by the Boston Red Sox in the first round of the 2010 draft. He was impressive over 46 innings in the South Atlantic League in 2011, but failed to carry the same strikeout abilities to High-A that season. Injuries and erratic control marred his 2012 season and he managed just 37 2/3 innings that year with a 6.69 ERA. He has bounced back in a major way this season with a 2.67 ERA and 106 strikeouts in 109 2/3 innings at with Double-A Portland.

For both teams, these promotions signal an opportunity for these promising players to play in the major leagues this season.

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