25 in 25: Tommy Layne


2014 Recap

Tommy Layne signed a minor league contract with Boston in November of 2013 after being designated for assignment by the San Diego Padres. Layne, now age 30, was assigned to Pawtucket where he started the season as a left-hand specialist out of the PawSox bullpen.

Layne performed successfully in Pawtucket with a 5-1 record and an ERA of 1.50 resulting in a spot promotion to Boston. Layne returned in August to finish the last two months operating out of the Boston bullpen and tossing 19 innings with an impressive 0.95 ERA.

Layne, who saw increasing opportunities with the ineffectiveness of Craig Breslow, proved especially effective in facing left-handed batters who had a slash line of .159/.229/.182 against Layne. Layne, appearing in 30 games, finished 2014 with a 2-1 record.

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2015: Outlook

The path for Layne was partially set with the failure of Andrew Miller to be resigned. The Red Sox also resigned Breslow to provide support in the left-handed specialist role leaving one other opening for a left-hand specialist. Drake Britton may still be in the picture, but his Pawtucket performance (5.86 ERA/1.97 WHIP) makes Britton a likely returnee to Pawtucket.

The Red Sox also have an abundance of minor league talent that tosses from the left side. Edwin Escobar, sent to Boston as part of the Jake Peavy trade, provides the most apparent left-hand specialist challenge.

Escobar, age 22, appeared briefly in Boston and the assumption is he will start the season at Pawtucket. Henry Owens, Brian Johnson and Eduardo Rodriguez are all projected to start at Pawtucket, but any slippage by Layne or Breslow could mean a short shelf life for either.

The Red Sox are expected to have two portside pitchers available out of the bullpen and Layne is on the inside track to have one of the slots. Like Breslow, Layne may find MLB success later in his career.

*** Statistics courtesy of Fangraphs