Red Sox might have dominant lefty in Tommy Layne


Tommy Layne has been nothing but dominant since joining the Red Sox.

A non-roster invitee who signed a minor league deal with the Red Sox in the 2013-14 offseason, Layne showed impressive stuff in his first spring training in Fort Myers. Due to a glut of relievers on the Red Sox roster, however, the team decided to option Layne to Triple-A Pawtucket to start the season.

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Layne dominated his competition in the International League, posting a 1.50 ERA in 37 appearances (48 innings pitched) with the PawSox. He struck out 9.9 batters per nine innings and allowed only 5.4 H/9, but Layne was even more dominant against his fellow left-handers. When facing southpaws, Layne limited hitters to a microscopic .146/.235/.175 and punched out 29.6% of the lefties that he faced.

With such a phenomenal performance against Triple-A competition, the Red Sox gave Layne a shot out of a big league bullpen in the latter half of the season. He showed no signs of slowing down during 30 relief appearances for the Red Sox, posting a stingy 0.95 ERA while limiting lefties to an anemic .159/.229/.182 slash line (though he was admittedly hammered by righties).

Now 30 years old, Layne has made the first Opening Day roster of his career, slotting in as a key lefty in the Red Sox bullpen. Layne made his first appearance of the young season on Opening Day on Monday and looked good, allowing a walk in an otherwise perfect inning.

Layne might not throw a whole lot of complete innings this season, but he figures to be very valuable as a situational lefty. His continued dominance against left-handed hitters makes him a very attractive option to face an opponent’s left-handed power bat in the late innings and Layne is really the only one that fits the bill for the Red Sox. While Boston has two others lefties in Craig Breslow and Robbie Ross Jr., neither has displayed the consistent excellence against lefties that Layne has shown. One doesn’t often find gold in non-roster invitees, but the Red Sox may have done just that with Layne, acquiring a useful arm off the scrap heap.