FORT MYERS, Fla. -- As part of MLBPipeline.com's visit to all 30 Spring Training facilities this month, we will be sitting down with prospects and getting to know them a little better. At Red Sox camp, it was No. 11 prospect Travis Lakins.Though scouts viewed Lakins as a potential top-three-rounds
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- As part of MLBPipeline.com's visit to all 30 Spring Training facilities this month, we will be sitting down with prospects and getting to know them a little better. At Red Sox camp, it was No. 11 prospect Travis Lakins.
Though scouts viewed Lakins as a potential top-three-rounds pick heading into last year, the Draft-eligible sophomore ultimately fell to the sixth round, where the Red Sox signed him for an above-slot bonus of $320,000. The Ohio State product made his pro debut in late August in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League and followed with one solid start in the Class A Short-Season New York-Penn League before impressing club officials with a strong showing during fall instructional league. Lakins' fastball sits at 92-94 mph, topping out at 96, and he pairs it with a mid-70s downer curveball and a changeup, giving him the potential for three average-or-better pitches. While he's somewhat undersized, Lakins projects as a starter long term thanks to his arsenal, athleticism and control profile.
MLBPipeline.com: How are you enjoying your first professional Spring Training?
Lakins: It's been really great. The Red Sox do an unbelievable job helping with everyone here. It's hard to take care of nearly 300 players a day in camp, but I think they do a wonderful job with the pitchers and hitters. They're always here and helping.
MLBPipeline.com: How do you feel your career at Ohio State prepared you for the transition to pro ball?
Lakins: Out of high school, I was a smaller kid -- maybe 5-foot-10 or 5-foot-11 and 150 pounds -- but I got to college and added 20 pounds of good weight, which helped me start to throw harder and become more durable and, now, make the transition to pro ball.
MLB Pipeline Spring Training reports
MLBPipeline.com: After a long college season, the Red Sox had you throw just three innings last summer in your pro debut between the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League and Class A Short-Season Lowell. Was it good to get your feet wet?
Lakins: Absolutely -- it felt very good to begin my career. I think I struck out my first batter [in the GCL], then I hit a guy and got a double play. I was called up to Lowell after that and made my first start there a few days later (three strikeouts in two innings), so it was nice to be able to end the regular season on a high note before heading to instructs.
MLBPipeline.com: You threw both a curveball and slider in college, but you shelved the latter upon turning pro. What was the goal in reducing your arsenal to three pitches instead of four?
Lakins: The Red Sox want me to master those three pitches first, and then maybe we can add a fourth down the road. It's actually helped me out a lot, because it makes me think about how I should attack one hitter with three pitches over the course of a full game rather than worry about trying to mix in a fourth pitch.
MLBPipeline.com: Since you first remember picking up a baseball as a kid, what is the greatest game you've ever pitched?
Lakins: I threw a perfect game -- a nine-inning perfect game -- for the Chillicothe Paints of the Prospect League the summer after my freshman year at OSU. I think I struck out 13 or 14 guys in that game, and I remember my pitch count was only a hair over 100, too.
Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero.