SoxProspects News

July 14, 2015 at 5:00 PM

Red Sox sign sixth-rounder Lakins and 20th-rounder Valentin

The Red Sox announced today that they have signed sixth-round pick Travis Lakins, a right-handed pitcher from Ohio State University, and 20th-round pick Yomar Valentin, a shortstop from Carlos Beltran Baseball Academy in Puerto Rico. Additionally, the team signed undrafted free agent Andy Perez, a senior second baseman from Duke University.

The Red Sox have now signed every draft pick from the first 15 rounds, and with Jim Callis of reporting that Lakins is receiving $320,000, or $32,500 over the slot value of $287,500 associated with the 171st pick, the team has $235,490 of cap space left to spend without losing any future draft picks. Some of that money may have gone to Valentin, which may explain the delay in his signing, but his bonus is currently unknown. With very little money left and the signing deadline approaching on Friday, it is likely that the Red Sox have finalized their draft class. 

Lakins was the first pitcher the Red Sox selected in the draft, and the 6-foot-1 sophomore figures to begin his professional career in the Gulf Coast League. After a terrific freshman campaign that saw him strike out 55 batters in 55 innings with an ERA of 2.45 coming out of the bullpen, he moved to the starting rotation this year where he was unable to find the same success. His ERA rose to 3.75 over 96 innings, and his strikeout rate dropped to 7.88 per nine innings. He did manage to drop his walk rate from 3.4 to 3.0 as a sophomore however, so there were some signs of improvement in 2015. 

As a reliever, his fastball touched 96, but as a starter he was sitting in the high-80s-to-low-90s with a decent breaking ball and a changeup that was a work in progress. Because of this, some scouts believe his future is in the bullpen, but the Red Sox will almost assuredly develop him as a starter and have him work on all three pitches. Lakins just turned 21, and he will join a GCL Red Sox team that already leads the league in ERA.

Valentin, who is listed at 5-foot-8 and 145 pounds, was ranked as the 330th best prospect in the draft by Baseball America, and they praised his feel for the barrel and good speed as possibly making him a top of the order bat. The switch-hitter is the son of longtime big leaguer Jose Valentin, and he played on Puerto Rico's 2010 team that appeared in the Little League World Series.

Originally committed to play college ball at Auburn University, Valentin should see some good playing time, as the GCL Red Sox are a bit short-handed in the infield. He made his debut yesterday, and the Red Sox list his official signing date as July 9. He will not turn 18 until December, making him one of the youngest players selected in the draft, and he is only a couple months older than Anderson Espinoza.

Perez earned second-team All-ACC honors during both his sophomore and senior campaigns, and he set the school record for stolen bases in a season this year with 35. He was elected team captain prior to his senior season, and posted a triple slash of .290/.373/.429. He was named to the All-ACC Academic team during his junior season, and he recently graduated with a degree in psychology.

Photo Credit: Travis Lakins by

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