Brent Honeywell was drafted in the 2014 Competitive Balance Round B out of Walters State Community College in Tennessee. When he was in Junior College scouts were drawn to his unique arsenal, which features a screwball, and his athleticism. He was also one of the youngest JuCo players eligible for the draft last year. He was ranked as the 195th draft prospect pre-draft by Baseball America, so the Rays got him a little earlier than where most expected expected he would go.
Honeywell was born March 31, 1995. He had a 2.91 ERA and a 2.43 FIP for the Bowling Green Hot Rods in the Midwest League before his promotion to High-A on June 26th. Since the promotion he has a 11.88 ERA and a 2.72 FIP in a very small sample of 8.1 innings. Before his promotion I was able to catch one of his starts.
As mentioned above, Honeywell has a very athletic looking frame and there is definitely some physical projection remaining. He works from a ¾ arm slot and the delivery there is definitely some effort in the delivery. There is very limited deception in the delivery other than the good arm speed, as hitters can see the ball most of the way.
Honeywell’s main pitch right now is the fastball. He worked 92-94 touching 95 with some life in the outing I saw. The command and control both looked to be right around average. Currently this is a 60 grade pitch with the potential to be 65 in the future.
After the fastball, Honeywell’s second most used offering right now is his change-up. He sat 83-84 with it during the outing I saw. This pitch featured really good fading action, enough that some actually mistake it for a screwball. He also is able to maintain his arm speed well when throwing this pitch, combine that with the velocity difference and this pitch features really good deception. However, he did really struggle to find the strike zone with it during the outing I saw. He was consistently spiking it into dirt. If the control takes a big step forward this is a big he could use to get major league hitters out. Currently I’ll grade it as a 45 with the potential being 55.
Next in his arsenal is a curveball. He worked 74-75 with it during the start I saw. The pitch features some ok 11-5 type movement, but it is easy for hitters to pick up on it because he slows his arm way down. He also struggled to throw this pitch for strikes. Currently I’ll grade it as a 35 with 45 potential.
Next is the pitch Honeywell is most known for, the screwball. He really didn’t throw this pitch that often in the start I saw but when he did it was in the low 70’s. This pitch has very good 1-7 type movement. He struggled with his command and control on this pitch for most of the start I saw. This is a pitch he will very commonly use in two-strike counts to get swings and misses. Currently I’ll grade it as a 50 and with improved command it could very easily become a plus pitch (60 grade) at the major league level.
Summary: He’s a very interesting prospect. 92-94 t95 with the fastball, a change-up that has the potential to be above average and a screwball with plus potential. The curveball is his worst pitch and I don’t see it becoming even an average major league pitch. The command and control need some work.
Projection: For me is looks like Honeywell has a pretty good chance to become a back-end (4th or 5th) starter at the major league level.