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Snell, Honeywell, and Adames crack MLB.com's Top 100

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An order change among the top prospects in the Rays system

Brent Honeywell's strong season led to a slight rise in his spot on the Top 100
Brent Honeywell's strong season led to a slight rise in his spot on the Top 100
Jim Donten

On Friday MLB Pipeline released their Top 100 prospect list. Blake Snell, Brent Honeywell, and Willy Adames all slotted in the following places:

  • Blake Snell: No. 14
  • Brent Honeywell: No. 43
  • Willy Adames: No. 81
Comparatively, Adames ranked No. 37, Snell No. 41, and Honeywell No. 48 on the 2015 list.

Snell rose significantly thanks to his oft-discussed astounding 2015 season, and Honeywell also had a slight rise. Honeywell had a combined 3.01 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, and 8.85 K/9 between Class-A Bowling Green and Class-A Advanced Charlotte. On the other hand, Willy Adames fell more than 30 spots. Adames did have an above-average season with a 121 wRC+ at Charlotte, but in my opinion his fall came from the mercurial rise of many other prospects and the influx of 2015 draftees.

Garrett Whitley and Daniel Robertson ranked No. 68 and 79, respectively, in 2015, but did not make the list this season. Whitley put up a meager .174/.293/.312 line (87 wRC+) between the GCL and short-season Hudson Valley, failing to meet the first-round expectations. Robertson had a solid season (.364 wOBA) but struggled in the Arizona Fall League (.282 wOBA). In addition, Robertson suffered a broken hamate bone in June, and when he returned, his power was sapped considerably (.164 ISO before the injury and .099 ISO after).

MLB.com will release their Top 30 lists for each team at some point in February, and from there we will get the rankings for the rest of the system. How will Mikie Mahtook's September surge affect his spot? And will new acquisition Kevin Padlo get a nod in the Top 30?

Snell's new tool rankings according to MLB.com:

Scouting grades: Fastball: 65 | Slider: 60 | Changeup: 55 | Control: 45 | Overall: 60
Snell sits at 92-94 mph with his fastball but can run it up to 96, and the pitch consistently plays up because of its exceptional late life. His slider is a second plus offering, thrown with sharp tilt that helps him miss plenty of bats, and his command of the pitch improved markedly in 2015. Snell's changeup is still a work in progress, but it shows plus potential because he throws it with fastball-like arm speed and can dip it out of the zone.

Snell trimmed his walk rate considerably last season but still possesses below-average control, and he'll need to continue getting stronger to be able to handle the rigors of a full season. The Rays have a strong track record of developing young, high-upside pitchers, and it might not be long until Snell's name is added to that list.
Honeywell:

Scouting grades: Fastball: 60 | Screwball: 65 | Curveball: 45 | Changeup: 55 | Control: 55 | Overall: 55
Honeywell is a good athlete who repeats his quick and effortless delivery with ease. His velocity has steadily increased over the past few years to the point where he now operates in the low 90s and can reach back for a few more ticks as needed, and scouts believe he could add even more velocity as he grows into his lean and athletic frame. Honeywell's outstanding screwball represents his best secondary offering and is anything but a novelty, as he's adept at using his advanced arsenal to set up the pitch. He also mixes in an above-average changeup and serviceable curveball.

Honeywell is a fierce competitor who attacks the zone better than most pitchers his age, and his athleticism and smooth mechanics suggest his command should continue to improve. The Rays rarely rush their top young arms to the Major Leagues, but that doesn't preclude Honeywell from jumping on the fast track in 2016 with some upper-level experience.
Adames:

Scouting grades: Hit: 55 | Power: 50 | Run: 50 | Arm: 60 | Field: 50 | Overall: 55
That Adames, 19 at the time, held his own in the pitcher-friendly Florida State League was impressive, and even more so because he served as Charlotte's three-hole hitter for the entire season. Adames has plus bat speed from the right side of the plate as well as a natural feel for hitting, and scouts envision him developing at least average power as he tightens his approach and becomes more selective.

Adames is a good athlete who stands out for his excellent hands and plus arm strength at shortstop, though his average speed limits his range at the position. He's likely to lose another step or two with physical maturation, leading some scouts to forecast an eventual move to either second or third base.