Red Sox top-30 prospect rankings after the 2018 season

BOSTON, MA - SEPTEMBER 18: Dave Dombrowski the President of Baseball Operations of the Boston Red Sox stands at home plate before a game against the New York Yankees at Fenway Park on September 18, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Red Sox won 5-4. (Photo by Rich Gagnon/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - SEPTEMBER 18: Dave Dombrowski the President of Baseball Operations of the Boston Red Sox stands at home plate before a game against the New York Yankees at Fenway Park on September 18, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Red Sox won 5-4. (Photo by Rich Gagnon/Getty Images) /
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BOSTON, MA – OCTOBER 09: Rain drops are seen on seats before game four of the American League Division Series between the Houston Astros and the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park on October 9, 2017 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Tim Bradbury/Getty Images) /

20. Travis Lakins

Talk about catapulting your stock in one year. Before the season, I would’ve classified Travis Lakins as a “Hunter Noll Guy”. He’s now the 15th ranked prospect in the Red Sox organization though, so I can’t say he’s not getting any love anymore.

The move up to 15th in the Red Sox system is definitely deserved. Lakins came out firing this year, and when he was moved to the bullpen he was that much more dominant.

The 24-year-old was having a good time in Double-A in 2018 – posting a 2.61 ERA over 38 innings. He also had a 1.05 WHIP and .191 BAA with 42 strikeouts. Things only got better following a promotion to Triple-A. There Lakins tossed 16 1/3 innings, accumulating a 1.65 ERA and 0.98 WHIP. Opponents hit .186 against him and struck out 15 times.

The right-hander already has two MLB-ready pitches. His four-seam could still be improved upon but the velocity is nice in the mid-90s. Meanwhile, his cutter was fantastic for him in 2018. It’s already a plus-pitch and could still get better. He also has a solid curveball and a decent-enough changeup (especially considering how sparingly he uses it).

There were talks of Lakins possibly being called up before the end of the 2018 season to help the Red Sox bullpen but that didn’t happen. He should go into Spring Training next year with a chance to win a spot though. Even if that happens, there’s a good chance he doesn’t stay in the minors too long next season.

Now that Lakins has transitioned to a relief pitcher, he seems more comfortable on the mound. His fastball has gained velocity and he struck out batters a career-high rate. This could be the perfect move for him and should make Lakins an intriguing prospect as he should only get better from here.