Brent Honeywell Needs Tommy John

As spring training games begin, the first significant prospect injury of the season has already happened.

The Rays announced on Friday morning that righthander Brent Honeywell, the team’s best prospect and the 14th-ranked prospect in baseball, has a torn ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) and is recommended to have Tommy John surgery.

Honeywell injured his elbow throwing on Thursday. Tommy John surgery generally require roughly 15 months for recovery, which means that Honeywell will likely miss all of the 2018 season and the first half of the 2019 season.

Honeywell made 24 starts with Triple-A Durham last season, going 12-8, 3.64 with 11.1 strikeouts per nine innings and 2.3 walks per nine innings. With a 93-95 mph fastball that touches higher, a potentially above-average curve, slider and changeup and an at time devastating screwball he throws sparingly, he was among the favorites to be the American League rookie of the year.

Unfortunately, Honeywell’s spring training injury continues what has been a discouraging trend for top pitchers. Alex Reyes, the top pitching prospect and the No. 4 prospect on the 2017 Top 100, missed all of last season with Tommy John surgery. Dodgers lefthander Julio Urias, the top pitching prospect and No. 4 prospect on the 2016 Top 100 list, is trying to recover from a shoulder injury that cost him almost all of last season.

Dylan Bundy, the top pitching prospect on the 2013 Top 100, missed a season with Tommy John surgery, as did Jose Fernandez (No. 5 on the 2013 Top 100). Shelby Miller (No. 6 on the 2013 Top 100) has also had Tommy John surgery since, as had Matt Moore (No. 2 in 2012) and Yu Darvish (No. 4 in 2012).

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