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Travis Lakins promoted to Double-A Portland

The right-handed starter moves up the ladder

Photo courtesy of Kelly O’Connor;

With a little over a month under our belts for the 2017 baseball season, now is the time we are going to start seeing roster movement throughout minor-league organizations. We had already seen it when outfielder Aneury Tavarez moving up to Triple-A led a flurry of moves throughout the organization. Now, another big move has been made. Travis Lakins is heading up to Double-A Portland.

Lakins was Boston’s sixth round selection back in the 2015 draft and was seen as a player with a decently high ceiling despite the relatively late selection. The righty threw only two innings in that first pro season, but in 2016 was aggressively placed in High-A Salem to start the year. The results were not great, as he finished with a 5.93 ERA in 91 innings. His season was shortened due to injury, and it turned out that he even before his year ended Lakins was pitching through discomfort.

Rather than continuing to aggressively move him up the ladder, the Red Sox opted to let Lakins repeat the same level to start 2017. It was a good move for the Ohio State product, who has thus far been proving his first full season does not accurately portray who he is as a pitcher.

Lakins has tossed 38 innings in seven starts for Salem this season, pitching to a 2.61 ERA with 43 strikeouts and 13 walks. The 22-year-old throws in the mid-to-low 90’s with his fastball and also offers a curveball and a changeup. All three pitches have the chance to be at least average, with the first two flashing as above-average.

Lakins will join a Portland rotation that already includes Jalen Beeks, Teddy Stankiewicz, Trey Ball, Jacob Dahlstrand and Kevin McAvoy. There’s a chance Beeks could be bumped up a level, too, but it seems more likely that someone like Dahlstrand or McAvoy will simply be kicked out of the rotation to make room for Lakins. At the moment, it’s unclear when his first start in Portland will be.

UPDATE: Daniel Gonzalez is getting promoted from Greenville to Salem to take Lakins’ roster spot.

Gonzalez is pitching exclusively out of the bullpen this year after starting all of last year between Lowell and Greenville. It’s more of a piggy-back relief role, though, as he’s thrown multiple innings in all eight outings and has gone at least three in all but two of them. The righty is getting more than a strikeout per inning this season, but his lackluster stuff suggests that won’t continue.

UPDATE 2: Jamie Callahan is making the jump from Portland to Pawtucket, opening up a roster spot for Lakins at Double-A.

As you can see from that Speier tweet, Callahan has been incredible for the Seadogs this year. If he keeps this up in Triple-A, he’ll get major-league time this year.