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Honeywell, O'Conner highlight Rays Arizona Fall League contingent

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It appears Arizona Fall League rosters have been posted

Brent Honeywell is approaching the majors
Brent Honeywell is approaching the majors
Jim Donten

On Wednesday, Arizona Fall League rosters were posted. The annual prospect showcase starts in October.

This season, Rays prospects will play alongside players from the Orioles, Reds, Padres and Mariners. They'll be managed by Durham's Jared Sandberg. Each team sends seven of players, one of which will be on the taxi squad who can only play on Wednesday and Saturday.

The games start on Oct. 11. MLB Network occasionally shows games, and I think there have also been live streams on MLB.com in the past.

LHP Kyle Bird (2.25 ERA, 23.7 K%, 6.9 BB% in 64 innings for Class A-Advanced Charlotte and Double-A Montgomery)

Bird, a 23-year-old Florida native, was a 35th-round pick in 2014, so he's not yet eligible for the Rule 5 draft. He pitched for Florida State but finished his amateur career with Flagler College. He was not good at either school, but he has been a force since joining the organization. In 18 innings with the Stone Crabs, he struck out 22 and walked just one in 18 innings to earn a promotion to the Biscuits.

C Nick Ciuffo (.264/.290/.300, 18.5 K%, 3.9 BB% in 233 PA for Class A-Advanced Charlotte)

If I had to guess a player on the taxi squad, it would be Ciuffo. The extra at-bats will be good for the 21-year-old since he's missed time both this season and last offseason when he was playing in Australia. Florida State League coaches tabbed him as the best defensive catcher in the league, and his glove is ahead of his bat. He makes frequent contact with a pretty low strikeout rate, but he has not yet posted an on-base percentage over .300.

RHP Greg Harris (3.12 ERA, 22.6 K%, 9.8 BB% in 147 IP for Class A-Advanced Charlotte)

Harris, 22, was acquired by the Rays in the 2014 trade that sent Joel Peralta and Adam Liberatore to the Dodgers. By the time this season is over, he'll likely have over 200 innings pitched in his career in the FSL, so it's time for the kind of challenge the AFL will provide. He has showed improved velocity this season.

RHP Brent Honeywell (2.14 ERA, 26.2 K%, 5.4 BB% in 109 1/3 IP for Class A-Advanced Charlotte and Double-A Montgomery)

Elbow tenderness cost Honeywell a pretty large chunk of his 2016 season, but it clearly hasn't stopped him from pitching well. The Rays are opting to have the 21-year-old screwballer make up those innings in the AFL rather than rest him, and that should put to rest any concerns about his health. This assignment could accelerate his development and land him in the majors at some point in 2017.

C Justin O'Conner (insignificant amount of play for Double-A Montgomery)

A back problem kept O'Conner, 24, out for most of the season. Alongside his previous hip problems, it's another injury that may jeopardy his future behind the plate, where he excels. It's no secret at this point that he's far better defensively than offensively, so it's important he's durable enough to put on the gear regularly. He previously played for the Javelinas after his breakout 2014 season, and getting some of those at-bats back is important.

OF Justin Williams (.301/.325/.447, 16.0 K%, 3.3 BB% in 338 PA for Class A-Advanced Charlotte and Double-A Montgomery)

The 21-year-old Williams is another player who will benefit from some ABs in the AFL after spending some time on the DL this season. In a limited amount of action with the Biscuits so far, his strikeout rate has jumped up a bit compared to the rest of his time in the organization, so getting extra experience against some upper-level pitching will help him. He needs to keep working on that plate approach.

IF Kean Wong (.273/.322/.363, 14.7 K%, 6.3 BB% in 443 PA for Double-A Montgomery)

The Hawaii Tribune-Herald knew Wong was going to the AFL before anyone else, and now it looks official. When you look at his stats from 2015 and 2016 right next to each other, it's remarkable how similar they are. He's having essentially an identical season compared to last year, with the exception of a little more power that could be a product of not being in the FSL. He's shown some versatility by learning third base this season.

Other players on the Javelinas are Brazilian lefty Luiz Gohara (SEA), slugging outfielder Tyler O'Neill (SEA), and Padres outfielders Franchy Cordero and Michael Gettys.