SoxProspects News

November 23, 2015 at 7:00 AM

2015 Top 40 Season in Review: Travis Lakins and Jalen Beeks


This week, we recap the next six players in the season-end Top 40, going from 34 to 29. All entries in this year's Top 40 Season in Review series can be found here.
 
#34 Travis Lakins, RHP
2015 Teams: GCL Red Sox, Lowell Spinners; Ohio State University
Final Stats: 3 IP, 0.00 ERA, 0.33 WHIP, 4 K, 1 BB (minors); 96 I P, 3.75 ERA, 1.34 WHIP, 84 K, 32 BB (college)
2015 Peak Ranking: 30 (Current, post-trade)
Links

Season in Review: Lakins entered the 2015 college season with a chance to be selected in the first few rounds of the draft, after a freshman year that saw him strikeout 55 batters in 55 innings. Pitching only out of the bullpen in 2014, his fastball reportedly touched 96, and his secondary offerings showed promise. The draft-eligible sophomore moved into the rotation for the Buckeyes in 2015, but both his results and pure stuff took a step back. His ERA rose from 2.45 to 3.75, and he proved to be very hittable, giving up 97 hits in 96 innings to go along with 84 strikeouts and 32 walks. He did reportedly change his arsenal after 2014, scrapping his slider for a curveball that would be better for his long-term development.

The step back in performance allowed him to fall to the Red Sox in the sixth round this year. Lakins' professional debut came in a playoff game for the Gulf Coast League Red Sox, throwing one scoreless inning after striking out the first batter he faced. He moved up to Lowell after the series was over, and made one start in which he went two innings, striking out three and walking one without allowing a hit. The 20-year-old induced seven swing-and-misses on just 27 pitches, flashing the stuff that could make him a rising prospect going forward. - Jim Crowell

Scouting Report and 2016 Outlook: Listed at 6-foot-1, 180 pounds, Lakins is a 21-year-old right-hander with a very thin frame and athletic body that has room for added strength. He showed a quick arm from a three-quarters arm slot in his only appearance with Lowell. Lakins featured a three-pitch mix with a fastball-curveball-changeup combination. His fastball sat mostly 92-93 mph, showing some arm-side run when down in the zone. The fastball is presently average with a chance to develop into slightly above-average if he can hone his command and add a tick or two with some expected physical maturity and strength gains. The curveball flashed plus-potential at 75-76 mph with two-plane, tight rotation and hard snap. The changeup also showed plus potential with late dive away from left-handed hitters when down in the zone. Lakins' frame and overall stuff profile best as a future bullpen arm if he can continue to show consistency with the secondaries and refined command and control overall. He projects to break camp with Greenville next season, but could be held back in extended spring training to start the year if the club deems more concentrated instruction appropriate. - Chaz Fiorino

#33 Jalen Beeks, LHP
2015 Teams: Greenville Drive
Final Stats: 145 2/3 IP, 4.32 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 100 K, 28 BB
2015 Peak Ranking: 29 (Current, post-trade)
Links

Season in Review: Appearing in two games in the Gulf Coast League after being drafted out of the University of Arkansas in 2014, Beeks was assigned to Greenville to open 2015, marking his first foray into full-season ball. He had some ups and downs throughout but started off strong, pitching to a 3.25 ERA over his first 63 2/3 innings, walking 10 and striking out 41. Following those first 11 starts, he hit a wall in the middle of June, and over his next five starts allowed 36 hits and six walks while striking out 15 over 27 1/3 innings. His 6.91 ERA over that span was more than double what it was over the first two months of the season.

Beeks rebounded after that down stretch, with his next 37 2/3 innings representing the best stretch of his season, holding batters to a .228 average with a 2.63 ERA during that time, while striking out 31 and walking nine. At that point of the season, he had already thrown 128 2/3 innings, which was well beyond the 86 2/3 innings that he threw in 2014 between Arkansas and the GCL. The extra innings seemed to have weighed on him, as he ended the season with a four-game stretch that saw him allow 15 runs over 17 innings. In all, it was a promising season for the 22-year-old left-hander, with the growing pains being ones that most players face in their first full season. - Jim Crowell

Scouting Report and 2016 Outlook: Beeks is an undersized lefty, listed at 5-foot-11, 195 pounds with limited remaining projection. He throws from a high three-quarters arm slot, starting on the first base side of the rubber. He sets with his hands by his waist then has effort and funk in his delivery, using a trunk twist and rocking back before coming forward. He also has long arm action and slight stab behind him.

Beeks' fastball sits in the low-90s, but can get up to 95 mph. He complements the fastball with a changeup and slider, both of which are below-average at present, but flash at least average to solid-average. His changeup works in the mid-80s with deceptive arm speed and late drop at its best. The slider also works in the mid-80s with short, vertical break at higher velocities, and long, two-plane break at lower velocities. With his size and delivery, Beeks profiles best out of the bullpen, where his fastball could also play up. As a left-hander who can touch the mid-90s, Beeks profiles as a potential middle reliever at the big league level, though he will continue to be developed as a starter for now. Beeks will look to start next season in Salem, but if they wanted to fast-track him, a move to the bullpen could see him end next season in the upper minors. - Ian Cundall

Photo credit: Travis Lakins from ohiostatebuckeyes.com and Jalen Beeks © SoxProspects, LLC

 
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