Lakins eager to continue career with Red Sox

Travis Lakins hooked his computer up to the television at his home in Franklin on Tuesday and anxiously followed the Major League Basetball Draft pick by pick, waiting for his name to be called.

Fortunately for the 2013 Franklin High School graduate and Ohio State University sophomore right-hander, he didn’t have to wait as long as he might have expected.

Three hours into a long Day 2 of the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft, the Boston Red Sox selected Lakins in the sixth round with the 171th overall pick.

He is one of a handful of area players who were taken in this year’s draft, as fellow Buckeye pitcher Ryan Riga (Fairfield High School) and Missouri Baptist infielder Jeff Smith (Badin) also were selected in the 13th and 30th rounds, respectively.

“I was shocked, honestly,” Lakins said. “I didn’t know what to think. It was a dream come true. I’ve lived this whole life to get where I am now. It’s been an unbelievable experience.”

Lakins was 4-4 with a 3.75 ERA in 15 starts this season with 84 strikeouts in 96 innings, after pitching in 25 games, mainly as a reliever as a freshman. He had been ranked by Baseball America as the 229th best available prospect going into the draft, though – a site commonly used by agents to get an idea where players might land – listed him as the No. 152 prospect overall.

A three-time first team all-conference selection at Franklin and two-time league Player of the Year, Lakins went undrafted out of high school but said he had not expected to be drafted until college.

The 6-foot-1, 175-pound pitcher is the highest pick out of Ohio State since hurler Alex Wimmers went to the Minnesota Twins in the first round in 2010. Lakins was the fourth player from Ohio taken off the board.

“I was probably more anxious than nervous,” Lakins said. “Waiting three weeks for the draft after the season ended, it was crazy with all the teams calling and checking in. A lot of teams had contacted me, but I just didn’t know who it was going to be or what round I would go. Finally Draft Day came, and it was kind of a relief.”

Lakins had not yet signed with the Red Sox as of Friday but said he plans to. His slot was valued at $287,500.

Though he doesn’t plan to return to Ohio State, Lakins said he is grateful for his experience there.

“I’ve come a long way since high school,” he said. “I’ve gotten stronger and I’ve grown a lot with my pitching. I couldn’t be happier with my experience at Ohio State. It’s gotten me where I am.”

Riga, a 6-foot, 175-pound left-hander from Fairfield, was the second player from Ohio State drafted this year, going to the White Sox at No. 382 overall. The junior was 5-4 with a 3.32 ERA in 14 starts and 15 appearances overall. He led the Buckeyes with 97.2 innings pitched, striking out 71 batters and walking 27.

Smith, a Hamilton native who just finished his senior year at NAIA’s Missouri Baptist, went to the Diamondbacks at No. 886. He batted .303 with 40 RBIs, 11 doubles and 11 home runs this season as the Spartans finished 43-13.

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