Under the radar Red Sox players ready to make big contributions in 2019

BOSTON, MA - SEPTEMBER 05: Tzu-Wei Lin /
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Boston Red Sox
BOSTON, MA – SEPTEMBER 26: David Price #24 of the Boston Red Sox enters the bullpen to warm up before the game against the Baltimore Orioles at Fenway Park on September 26, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /

Travis Lakins

Travis Lakins was a 6th-round pick in 2012 and struggled as a starter. Going into his 5th minor league season, he got his last chance to start. As his struggles continued, he was moved to the bullpen, where he flourished. He had a terrific 1.21 ERA with a 3.06 FIP.  In 37 innings he allowed just 1 home run as well. He also showed the ability to go multiple innings out of the bullpen. Those 37 innings were across just 30 games.

For a Red Sox bullpen that needs help, Lakins could be a huge add. There are very few guys who currently have guaranteed spots in the bullpen, so a strong spring from Lakins could earn a spot on the Opening Day roster. The only guarantees currently seem to be Matt Barnes, Heath Hembree, Ryan Brasier, and if health permitting, Steven Wright.

Lakins took the first step towards making the roster this off-season when he was added to the 40-man roster to avoid getting taken in the Rule 5 draft. Clearly, the Red Sox intend to use him at the major league level.

If Lakins does make the Opening Day roster, he will likely be eased into a more substantial role. If he can pitch multiple innings in big spots, it would be a huge boost to the Red Sox bullpen. The highest he can get in the bullpen calling order is probably the 7th inning, with Brasier and Barnes ahead of him.

Regardless of when he pitches, if he can be a solid bullpen arm, he would be a huge addition to the Red Sox bullpen, that will likely be trying to fill holes left by Craig Kimbrel and Joe Kelly, which will need to be filled with a bunch of pitchers.  Lakins has not accrued any service time and figures to be a piece of the bullpen for a while. He will either be on the opening day roster or get called up at some point during the season.