Tampa Bay Rays prospect Brent Honeywell is one step closer to reaching the big leagues. The 22-year-old righty was called up to the Triple-A Durham Bulls on Sunday. After just two starts in Double-A for the Montgomery Biscuits, Honeywell is knocking on the big league door.
Brent Honeywell is the latest young pitcher in the Tampa Bay Rays‘ minor league system to join the Bulls. The Rays regularly churn out pitchers of high-caliber talent like him. Although there’s no guarantee he ever succeeds, the franchise’s history of getting it right surely suggests a bright future for Honeywell. Soon enough, Honeywell could join Chris Archer and Blake Snell on the MLB roster.
The promotion seems perfectly appropriate for Honeywell. He already pitched well last year with the Biscuits so it was reasonable that he would only return to Montgomery for a limited time.
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In his 10 starts with the Biscuits last season, Honeywell was 3-2 with a 2.28 ERA. He was also very solid with the Single-A Charlotte Stone Crabs prior to his time in Montgomery with a 4-1 record and 2.41 ERA there.
This season has been even better for Honeywell. He’s 1-1 with a 2.08 ERA and 20 strikeouts in just 13 innings of work. Strikeouts have been a big part of his professional career and should continue to appear regularly at all levels. He is averaging more than a strikeout per inning without issuing very many walks at all.
Honeywell began the season as the Rays’ number-two prospect at MLB.com behind only shortstop Willy Adames. When he arrives in Durham he will actually join several of the top prospects in the Rays’ system, including Adames. The Bulls’ starting rotation is particularly loaded with Chih-Wei Hu and Jacob Faria already on the team. Once Jose De Leon returns from the disabled list, the team will employ four of the franchise’s top 10 prospects in the rotation.
Challenges will still arise for Honeywell as he attempts to leap into the major leagues. Plans for Archer and the more tradable Jake Odorizzi look uncertain. The Rays have already traded Matt Moore and Drew Smyly in the last 365 days. Unloading any other starting pitcher could set them back rather than help the future.
Only Snell, 24, looks to have a spot in the rotation locked for the long term due to his talent and controllable, cheap contract. As it stands, Honeywell’s biggest competition will come from the minor leagues. His new Bulls teammates will likely prove to be his mightiest rivals instead of any of the veterans already at the big league level.
Honeywell probably won’t see any big league action this year. He is not on the 40-man roster at the moment while several other pitching prospects are. This should do little to thwart his plans of MLB dominance as he continues to spring towards his major league debut.