Franklin’s Travis Lakins was one of four Red Sox players optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket today.
Lakins, a right-handed reliever, joined left-handed reliever Josh Taylor, right-handed starting pitcher Chandler Shepherd and top infield prospect Michael Chavis as the minor leaguers who will open the 2019 campaign at Pawtucket. All four are expected to see time with the Red Sox at some point this season.
A three-point marksman at Franklin High School, Lakins was a prep teammate of lifelong friend and current Detroit Pistons standout Luke Kennard when the Wildcats packed gyms everywhere they played. He loved basketball so much that the 6-foot-1, 180-pound right-hander considered giving up baseball to concentrate on preparing himself for college hoops. Lakins opted to keep playing baseball, and now he is on the verge of making his Major League debut.
After graduating from Franklin in 2013, Lakins pitched at Ohio State University and was selected in the sixth round of the 2015 draft by the Boston Red Sox.
Lakins was a starter in his first two seasons in the Red Sox minor league system, but his numbers did not stand out, and his 2016 and 2017 campaigns ended in July – both times from a stress fracture in his right elbow, and both times while he was throwing to first base holding on a runner.
After extensive rehab and no surgery, he returned last year and was moved to the bullpen, which catapulted his career.
He posted a 0.86 ERA (21 innings, two earned runs) and 0.71 WHIP in 20 relief outings for Double-A Portland. Lakins earned a promotion to Triple-A Pawtucket where he recorded a 1.65 ERA (16.1 innings, three earned runs) in 10 relief outings.
In shorter bursts, Lakins can showcase more velocity, and he features five pitches – a four-seam fastball, a two-seam fastball, a curveball, a cutter and a circle changeup. The cutter is considered his top pitch as a reliever.
Lakins’ fastball sits around 94-95 miles an hour with the power cutter in the low 90s and a curve in the low to mid 80s.
The Red Sox added Lakins to the 40-man roster in November.
So far in spring training, Lakins has allowed two runs and eight hits with two strikeouts and three walks over seven innings and five appearances.