Tampa Bay Rays not giving up on Brent Honeywell

MIAMI, FL - JULY 09: Brent Honeywell
MIAMI, FL - JULY 09: Brent Honeywell /
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Although he has not appeared in a professional game since 2017, the Tampa Bay Rays are holding out hope that Brent Honeywell can be a part of their future.

One could be forgiven if they had forgotten about Brent Honeywell. The one time top pitching prospect for the Tampa Bay Rays has not appeared in a game since 2017, his career derailed by a series of arm issues. He required Tommy John surgery, then had his rehab set back when he fractured his elbow. Honeywell then needed a third procedure, this time for ulnar nerve decompression.

On Wednesday, Honeywell went under the knife yet again, a fourth elbow surgery since his last in game action. This time, it was an arthroscopic procedure intended to take care of some discomfort in his elbow. This procedure is also not expected to impact him for the coming year.

At this point, there is no such thing as a minor elbow procedure with Honeywell. Even a minor twinge is enough to leave Rays fans holding their breath. There is no guarantee that Tampa Bay will ever be able to unleash the one time top prospect.

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When he was able to take the mound, he was excellent. Honeywell had produced a 2.88 ERA and a 1.082 WHiP in his 416 innings, striking out 458 batters with only 93 walks. Based on that performance, it is not a surprise that he was a consensus top 100 prospect from 2016 through 2019, and still made appearances on that list in 2020.

Honeywell is still relatively young. He will turn 26 just before the 2021 season begins, giving him time to become the pitcher that Tampa Bay had hoped for. And he had performed well in AAA before his arm injuries had derailed his career.

If he is healthy in 2021, he is likely to spend a portion of the year in the minors. He will need to get back to game action, and his innings are likely to be severely limited. But that does not mean that he will not be a factor at some point. The Rays still believe that Honeywell can be a key part of their future.

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Brent Honeywell has the stuff and ability to be a long term piece for the Tampa Bay Rays. It is just a matter of his being able to stay healthy.