The Boston Red Sox bullpen needs some help and they are only going to find those relief pitchers from within the organization.
Throughout the 2018 season, the Boston Red Sox bullpen has been serviceable. However, it has recently hit a wall.
Matt Barnes, who had been phenomenal all year, has allowed 7 runs in his last 4 outings. Craig Kimbrel had looked like he solved his July struggles before blowing a save against the Marlins on Tuesday. With those two struggling, it leaves the Red Sox without any very reliable relief pitchers, which is something needed in the postseason.
The bottom line is they need help and with both trade deadlines having passed, all the help will have to come within the organization. They already have called up 3 pitchers in William Cuevas, Robby Scott and Bobby Poyner in addition to the activation of Eduardo Rodriguez and Steven Wright. There are more options in the minor league though, some with higher upside and the potential to make a bigger impact.
On May 31, righty Travis Lakins made an appearance out of the bullpen in Portland. Since then, he has a 1.27 ERA across AA and AAA. In addition to having a terrific ERA, he has also shown the ability to work multiple innings out of the pen effectively. 3 out of his last 5 appearances have been multi-inning, and he has only allowed 1 run in those outings. Lakins uses a hard fastball and a hard slider. His stuff has played much better as a reliever than it did as a starter. Not only could he help the Red Sox bullpen this season, but he could be a contributor for years to come.
Austin Maddox was called up late in 2017 and pitched extremely well. He finished with an 0.52 ERA after allowing only 1 run in 17.1 innings. However, injuries have derailed his 2018 season. He missed all of spring training with shoulder inflammation and was placed on the 10 day disabled list to start the season. Shortly after a rehab attempt in late May, he was moved to the 60-day DL with a shoulder strain. He struggled mightily in his only rehab appearance so far in Pawtucket, allowing 5 runs without recording an out. Following that outing he returned to Boston, leaving his rehab assignment. What that means is unclear, but if he gets healthy he could be a nice add to the bullpen.
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Durbin Feltman was drafted by the Red Sox in 3rd round of the 2018 draft after an unbelievable year at TCU where he had a 0.74 ERA with 43 strikeouts in 24.1 innings. He is currently pitching in A+ where he has a 2.38 ERA with 11.1 K/9. A promotion to Portland could be coming soon considering how few appearances he made at other levels before being promoted. He has a fastball in the upper 90’s and a terrific slider. If he is not moved up to AA soon it is unlikely he makes the majors this year.
Marcus Walden came into spring training as a guy many had never heard of. He ended up having a great spring and making the opening day roster. He was sent down after 14 innings where he posted a 3.68 ERA and a 2.06 FIP. He has struggled in AAA, with a 5.12 ERA, but has only allowed 1 earned run in his last 10 innings with a .552 OPS against. He proved he can be solid early in the year and could provide some depth down the stretch for this bullpen.