The Red Sox used their first four picks to select hitters, a strategy that sticks out even more after 2014's pitcher-heavy drafting by Ben Cherington and company. They used their sixth-round pick on a college arm, though, selecting right-hander Travis Lakins out of Ohio State University 171st overall.
Lakins ranks 229th on Baseball America's top-500, and he has two breaking balls, each with the potential to be an average major-league offering. Both MLB's analysts and BA's said that he might need to push one aside for a time to improve the other, however, especially if he's going to have time to work on improving his change-up.
The soon-to-be 21-year-old threw his fastball in the mid-90s last year, but he's been slower than that in the spring. He doesn't absolutely have to throw 96 to succeed, but it would certainly help given the lack of other quality offerings he has at the moment. Of course, he's in the minors to develop, so what he has today isn't necessarily what he'll have down the line after building up years of innings and experience.
Command is the big thing with Lakins, in the sense he needs to improve it. He gave up a lot of long hits in this past college season thanks to leaving too many pitches up in the zone. Between that, the repertoire, and the drop in velocity, Lakins seems to profile as a future reliever. That isn't a negative, by the way: please remember that Lakins was selected in the sixth round, not sixth overall, so the point at this stage is finding future big-league players.