Honeywell Leading The Next Wave For Rays

ST. PETERSBURG—Righthander Brent Honeywell has made things look easy at times in moving quickly through the system.

He reached high Class A Charlotte a little more than a year after being a supplemental second-round pick in 2014.

As much as the Rays are impressed with what he has done, farm director Mitch Lukevics said Honeywell, 20, needs work on how he has gotten there.

“He has good stuff, and he needs to work on focus, which (coordinators Dewey Robinson) and (Dick Bosman) and all our pitching coaches will help,’’ Lukevics said. “Sometimes I think he thinks it’s easy—and it won’t be. But he has the stuff once he gets over that hurdle of focusing more, he can be a really good pitcher.

“He has that stuff. He has that acumen. We’re working on that maturation part a little bit . . .”

With a repertoire that includes a solid fastball, better-than-billed changeup and an eye-opening screwball, Honeywell is positioned to lead the Rays next wave of arms. The Walters State (Tenn.) CC product was one of 20 prospects invited to the team’s annual winter development camp in mid-January at Tropicana Field.

After making a sterling pro debut at Rookie-level Princeton in 2014, Honeywell pitched at two Class A levels in 2015, going 9-6, 3.18 in 24 starts with 8.9 strikeouts and 1.9 walks per nine innings.

“I’m a perfectionist. I try to be,’’ Honeywell said. “I had a fun year. I did go through a bunch of ups and downs.

“I got down to Port Charlotte and my first two games I got smoked, and everybody was (asking), ‘How do you bounce back from that?’ But you learn. It’s what you learn on the way up that develops you into being a big league pitcher.’’


• Newly hired pitching coordinator Charlie Haeger, who spent parts of five seasons in the majors throwing a knuckleball, will have one primary pupil after the Rays signed righthander Eddie Gamboa to a minor league deal. Having a knuckleballer in the system makes sense given the controlled atmospheric environment of Tropicana Field.

• Shortstop Jake Hager, who missed the entire 2015 season with to a knee injury that required surgery, said he is set to return “with no limits” to Double-A Montgomery.

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