The Tampa Bay Rays have a superfluity of starting pitching heading into 2020. Today we take a look at eight candidates for the five rotation spots within the Rays’ system.
For the first time in a while, the Tampa Bay Rays appear to have loads of starting pitching depth. We take a look at the top eight rotation candidates for 2020. There are three locks at the top and some interesting decisions to be made on the back end.
It’s likely we will see most of these guys start a game at some point this season, due to injuries or ineffectiveness. Let’s take a look at who the Rays have in line.
8. Brent Honeywell
Honeywell was ranked as the 11th best prospect prior to the 2018 season by Baseball Prospectus. He was coming off a season in which he pitched 123 innings at Triple A-Durham, going 12-8 with a 3.64 ERA. Honeywell struck out 11.3 batters per nine and walked only 2.3 hitters every nine frames.
Honeywell missed all of 2018 after undergoing Tommy John surgery. In April of last season, during his recovery, he fractured a bone in his elbow causing him to miss a second-straight complete season.
Honeywell has been progressing and despite missing each of the past two seasons, he still found himself ranked inside Baseball Prospectus’ annual Top 100 Prospects, taking the 80th overall spot.
Brent began playing catch last month and hopes to progress to the point of throwing off the mound by the end of February.
Honeywell was thought to be ready to make an impact at the major league level in 2018. Of course, injuries derailed that notion. If he is able to regain his health and prove to the organization that he’s ready with a solid performance – likely in Durham – there’s a chance we see him at Tropicana field later this year.
It could be a year or two before he’s back to full health. It is asking a lot of a player to come off of two very serious injuries in consecutive years, and suddenly be the star everyone thought he would be a couple of years ago.
While it’s possible that Honeywell could end up a rotation candidate later in the season, the Rays will exercise plenty of caution with the prized prospect.
Prior to the injuries, Honeywell projected to be a frontline pitcher. Should he make a full recovery and find that form again, it would make the Rays four-deep with frontline pitchers.
Best case scenario: We see him late this year.
Tempered Expectation: He’s ready to take over for a potentially departing Charlie Morton in 2021.
The next guy has a chance to battle for a backend position out of spring training. He could be a dark horse to win a spot.