Baseball Prospectus dropped their midseason update to the 2017 prospect list, and Brent Honeywell has leapt into their Top-20 names, and rightfully so.
An injury scare slowed the end of Honeywell’s 2016 season, which he finished in the Arizona Fall League, and his 2017 season began with a return to Double-A.
Honeywell was promoted to Triple-A after two starts in Montgomery, and as of July 4th, leads the International League in strikeouts.
Here’s what B-Pro had to say about the Rays’ consensus No. 2 prospect:
Why He’ll Succeed: They’re good screwballs, Brent. Honeywell also features mid-90s velocity, and an assortment of average-or-better secondaries. He also knows how to deploy his whole arsenal, and the profile is better than the sum of its parts. It might very well add up to a number two starter.
Why He Might Fail: Honeywell doesn’t always have that mid-90s velo in every outing, and he can be a bit more hittable at times than you’d expect given the stuff. That kind of sounds like one of those frustrating mid-rotation arms we write about 25-50 spots lower on this kind of list.
You can read more about Honeywell and his backstory in this profile posted yesterday to the Durham Bulls website:
Now perhaps it’s here you’re wondering, “Well, what did B-Pro have to say about the Rays’ consensus No. 1 prospect?”
Curiously, the midseason updated dropped Willy Adames five spots to No. 26 overall, while boosting Mets SS Amed Rosario (who is essentially the same prospect) to No. 2 overall.
For what it’s worth, Baseball America ranked Rosario and Adames in their Top-10 in their May midseason update (No. 5 and 7, respectively), and that feels about right given the major league projectability of both star prospects, but here we are:
26. Willy Adames, SS, Tampa Bay Rays
Why He’ll Succeed: He continues to stick at shortstop (pretty likely now). He maintains his hit tool against major league pitching (we’re reasonably confident). And he adds some more game pop (not impossible)
Why He Might Fail: He ends up at second base (It’s the Rays, they might even play him at first). His hit tool only plays to average against major league arms (major league baseball is hard, man). And he tops out around 10 bombs a year (that’s been about the number so far).
If this comment reads as dismissive of Adames and his skillset, you’re right. Most jarringly, there’s no way the Rays are going to roll out their top SS prospect to first base, particularly when the Rays have two other Top-100 ranking first base prospects in Jake Bauers and Casey Gillaspie.
Adames had an early slump to his Triple-A season, but he’s put together a strong summer in response and is developing nicely. If B-Pro thinks these lists are malleable enough that players can fluctuate between No. 2 to No. 26 while having nearly the same profile (Rosario has an edge in speed, Adames has an edge in intangibles), then think of this list as having tiers.
Tier 1: Yoan Moncada, full stop.
Tier 2: A wide range from SS Amed Roasrio down to, likely, RHP Mike Sorka (No. 32).
That’s how you get prospects like 3B Rafael Devers (No. 5) or OF Juan Soto (No. 12) above 3B Nick Senzel (No. 15), who ranked between Rosario and Adames on the Baseball America list.
It’s important to remember the Baseball Prospectus midseason update is not built on full scouting reports, but is more an amalgamation of their “Notes from the Field,” sent in by staff roving between ballparks just 13 weeks into the minor league season.
Adames could end up higher on this list by the end of the year, just as Honeywell could have been lower now, but ranking in the approximate Top-30 is an honor for any prospect in the non-Moncada category.
No other Rays (such as RHP Jose De Leon, 1B/OF Jake Bauers, 1B Casey Gillaspie, OF Jesus Sanchez, or RHP Jake Faria) ranked in the Baseball Prospectus Top-50.