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Late Night Raymblings: Honeywell's Changeup

Does Brent Honeywell have an elite changeup? What makes a pitch "elite?"

There are certainly things we don't know about Rays top RHP prospect Brent Honeywell and his pitches yet, and probably won't until we see him in the majors, but the PITCHf/x data from his few AFL outings looks like he has many very promising pitches in his arsenal. Among them looks like a potentially elite changeup.

Commenter BravesRays pointed out that Brooks Baseball has PITCHf/x data for the AFL pitchers as well, and it looks more accurate than the stuff over at MLBfarm. I'm going to use that for Brent Honeywell's velocity, movement and separations, and compare them to MLB averages for a RHP.

Pitch H mov (in.) V mov (in.) Velocity (mph)
MLB Four-seam -4.2 8.9 92.4
BH Four-seam -6.5 10.86 96.81

MLB Change -6.7 4.1 83.7
BH Change -10.77 1.95 84.83

MLB Separation 2.5 4.8 8.7
BH Separation 4.27 8.91 11.98

A pitch is usually slower than league average if it has more movement, and faster than league average if it has less movement. That's usually the give and take there. A pitch enters elite territory when it is both thrown harder than average and with more movement than average.

Honeywell's changeup is 1mph faster than league average, moves 4" horizontally more than league average, and drops 2" vertically more than average. Not only that, it has more velocity AND movement separation from his fastball than league average.

I don't know how comfortable he is delivering it or locating it, but from a PITCHf/x standpoint this pitch is as close to elite territory as it gets. That's pretty exciting when you see from the same chart above just how good the fastball might be as well (it's probably not that fast over a full start, but still very exciting to see).