Tampa Bay Rays: Brent Honeywell throwing once again

MIAMI, FL - JULY 9: Brent Honeywell
MIAMI, FL - JULY 9: Brent Honeywell /

Tampa Bay Rays top prospect Brent Honeywell is moving ever closer to a return to the mound.

It has been over two years since Brent Honeywell set foot on the mound in a game. One of the Tampa Bay Rays top prospects, Honeywell has endured the wrath of the injury bug over the past two seasons, missing time due to Tommy Joh surgery and a broken elbow suffered during his rehab attempt.

Now, Honeywell is starting to take the next steps towards making a return to the mound. On Saturday, he as at Tropicana Field, throwing in the outfield as he works his way back.

Despite the injuries, Honeywell has been a consensus top 100 prospect in each of the past four seasons. He certainly looked ready to contribute to the Rays after an excellent 2017 campaign, when he posted a 13-9 record with a 3.49 ERA and a 1.237 WHiP, striking out 172 batters against 31 walks in his 136.2 innings.

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If healthy, Honeywell could be a weapon for the Rays as soon as the end of this season. He has a varied arsenal, featuring a mid 90s fastball, a plus change, and his signature screwball. Honeywell also has an above average slider and a curve that could develop into an average offering. With his ability to command each of his pitches, and his excellent control, Honeywell appeared to be an emerging star.

That health is the biggest question facing Honeywell moving forward. Tommy Joh surgery on a young pitcher is not a concern any longer. His broken elbow, however, is of far greater concern. Considering his infamous screwball, the wear of such a pitch on his arm, and elbow, has to lead to a bit of a pause.

Nonetheless, time is still on Honeywell’s side. Even after missing those two seasons, he will only be 25 years old shortly after the start of the season. He has plenty of time to become a fixture on the Rays, the potential top of the rotation arm that can join Blake Snell in leading Tampa Bay into the new decade.

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However, Brent Honeywell needs to remain healthy to fulfill that destiny for the Tampa Bay Rays. That is the biggest question of all – can he manage to do so?