Rays Prospects

The Undercards: Brent Honeywell K’s 9 in Hot Rods Loss

By Robbie Knopf
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Any correlation between Tampa Bay Rays blowout losses and bad days in their system is pure coincidence, but Rays affiliates did go 0-3 while the big club lost 12-7 to the Toronto Blue Jays. For what it’s worth, Montgomery and Bowling Green actually pitched relatively well, but offensive highlights were not too prevalent.

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Triple-A International League: Norfolk Tides (BAL) 8, Durham Bulls 0

Everett Teaford‘s second Bulls start was far worse than his first as he allowed 7 runs, 6 earned, on 10 hits in 4 innings. At least he struck out 6 while walking 1, but that certainly wasn’t the type of outing he was hoping for. Bryce Stowell, on the other hand, was a completely different story. He went 3.1 hitless innings allowing just a walk while striking out 3. He did a great job giving the Bulls length and saving their relievers for their next game.

Also appearing was Ronald Belisario in his Bulls debut. He faced just two batters but retired them both, one on a strikeout and the other on a groundout. If he looks as good as expected at Durham, he should eventually get a chance with the Rays. Brandon Gomes finished the game for Durham in mediocre fashion, allowing a run on 3 hits in his inning of work.

There wasn’t much happening at the plate for Durham, but Jake Elmore did go 1 for 3 with a walk while Taylor Motter went 0 for 2 with a walk and an outfield assist.

Double-A Southern League: Jacksonville Suns (MIA) 3, Montgomery Biscuits 2

The Biscuits received a solid game for one of their prospects to watch in this one as Justin O’Conner went 1 for 4 with his second homer of the season and threw out the only runner that attempted to steal against them. O’Conner’s pop and arm have been great to begin the year (obviously his arm is always great), but the Rays are hoping he can make his .250/.250/.550 line on the season look a little more conventional with the help of some walks.

O’Conner also caught Jaime Schultz, who went 4 innings allowing 1 run on 3 hits, striking out 7 while walking 4. He somehow threw 92 pitches in 4 innings, although he certainly didn’t look bad. Through two starts, Schultz is striking out everybody he is seeing, 16.6 strikeouts per 9 to be exact, but his BB/9 is also 6.2. Given that Schultz has been a relief prospect from the start, though, the Rays can’t complain too much about those results.

Tommy Coyle and Tyler Goeddel also delivered nice performances for the Biscuits, each going 2 for 4. Both of Coyle’s hits were doubles as he is off to a fascinating start to the year. He has hit for an outstanding .444/.474/.722 line in 19 plate appearances, and now 4 of his 8 hits have gone for extra bases. Coyle managed just 26 extra-base hits in 525 plate appearances in 2014, but he is on pace for 111 right now.

Obviously Coyle won’t get to that point even in his best-case scenario for the season, but he hit for more power in the Australian Baseball League and has taken that into the season. Coyle’s power hasn’t come free as he has struck out 5 times while walking just once and failed to show his usual plate discipline. That being said, he didn’t look like much of a prospect last year, but hitting for more power this year could change that in a Taylor Motter-esque fashion.

Low-A Midwest League: Dayton Dragons (CIN) 4, Bowling Green Hot Rods 0

The Hot Rods couldn’t find any run support for Brent Honeywell, but that doesn’t diminish how good Honeywell looked on the mound. He went 6 innings allowing 3 runs, just 1 earned, on 2 hits, striking out 9 while walking 3. The unearned runs came after an error each by Honeywell and Cristian Toribio. His need for more pitchers’ fielding practice aside, Honeywell continues to be electric, striking out 15 against just 5 walks in his first 10 full-season innings.

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Honeywell just turned 20 on March 31st, making him two years younger than the Midwest League’s average age, but that hasn’t fazed him at all. He had been an unknown when the Tampa Bay Rays selected him with their Compensation Round B pick (after the second round) in the 2014 MLB Draft–some people even thought he was a money-saving pick–but instead he has turned into one of their top prospects. The Rays like to develop their starting pitching prospects slowly, but Honeywell might just do enough to end up in Charlotte before long.

In other news from this game, the legend of Grant Kay continues. Kay went 3 for 3 with a double, raising his average to .294 on the season. That isn’t quite the .400 average he maintained for a while at Hudson Valley, but his Short Season-A numbers established him as a sleeper in the system and his start to the season has supported that a little bit more. Riley Unroe also had a nice game, going 1 for 3 with a walk, while Bralin Jackson went 1 for 4 with an outfield assist.

Next: Tampa Bay Rays Game 9: Erasmo Ramirez Struggles In First Start

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