Photo Credit: Shawn Patrick Ouellette / Portland Press Herald
The Red Sox have opted not to pursue external options thus far, but potential help exists in Pawtucket.
Travis Lakins was the Red Sox sixth round pick out of Ohio State in 2015.
Before the season began, the Buckeye-product was listed as the 16th rated prospect in the Red Sox farm system. The prospect ranking was also given well before this season started and Lakins had never posted an ERA below 4.21.
In the midseason version of the rankings, the MLB Prospect Watch listed him as #15 within the Red Sox organization with Jalen Beeks being sent to Tampa Bay.
After a string of a few mediocre starts to begin the season in Portland, Lakins was relegated to the bullpen. To say the right hander has flourished may be an understatement. After his transition to the bullpen, Lakins has posted a 1.32 ERA over 34 dominant innings. Opposing hitters have a stone-cold .144 batting average against the reliever. The performance was rewarded with a promotion, as Lakins was bumped to Pawtucket – just one step away from Boston.
One Promotion Away
As it stands, the Red Sox relief prospect is not on the 40 man roster. However, there are a number of players that could be removed in favor of bullpen help that may be valuable experience for Lakins, but also beneficial to the Red Sox.
The bullpen has been a source of trouble for the majority of the season. Question marks are aplenty and the Sox would be wise to continue to pursue internal options, if a last minute trade was not possible.
Beyond Craig Kimbrel, Matt Barnes, Ryan Brasier, and the starting rotation, there are certainly no “locks” for the postseason roster. Joe Kelly, Heath Hembree, Tyler Thornburg, and Brandon Workman have all had their moments of struggles and should consider every outing a continual audition for the ALDS, or Wild Card game. Meanwhile, the addition of Lakins could prove to be valuable for the Sox.
It is important to note that Lakins would have to be added to the 40 man roster before September 1st in order to be eligible for postseason baseball; however Dave Dombrowski, and the Red Sox, would be wise to give him a look.