Honeywell comes into the season down one spot from last season’s number two ranking.
Last spring Honeywell was invited to his first major league spring training. In his first live batting practice session Honeywell left shouting expletives as he cradled his elbow. The next day it was confirmed that Honeywell had a torn UCL and would require Tommy John surgery.
The last time Honeywell was on the mound he threw 2.2 innings of relief in the 2017 AAA Championship Game and picked up the win. In 2017 he threw 136.2 innings with a 3.49 ERA and 2.80 FIP while striking out 30.3% and walking 6.2% of batters mostly in AAA.
At that time he threw a fastball that sat in the mid 90s topping out at 98. Of Honeywell’s four secondary pitches, the best are a plus changeup and plus screwball. He adds an above average curveball and average cutter to complete the five pitch mix.
Honeywell is known as the rare pitcher who throws the screwball. He does not, however, throw it very often. You may see it about five times a game, where it serves as his put-away pitch.
Tommy John surgery is common among pitchers, however it isn’t guaranteed they return with 100% of their stuff they possessed before the surgery. Until Honeywell sees game action it is unknown where he stuff currently sits.
Above average command was one of his best attributes and that is usually the last thing to return.
One thing Honeywell doesn’t lack is confidence. If confidence were graded he would easily earn an 80. Whether he is ultimately viewed as cocky or endearing will depend on whether his performance, once he gets to the majors, lives up to his attitude.
Plan for 2019
Currently Honeywell is on a normal schedule to return to the field. He has thrown bullpens and is expected to return to game action with the Durham Bulls in May.
Assuming everything stays on schedule Honeywell should see his first major league action sometime this summer. He’s likely to be under some form of innings limit.
His timetable to the majors will depend how the Rays choose to spend those innings. He could first make an appearance when he has built up to three innings stints or they could wait until he is ready for traditional starts of five plus innings.
Honeywell has long had the talent to be an impact starter, but injury has delayed his path to the majors. As he continues to make his way back from surgery, it looks like Rays fans will finally see #HoneyDay in 2019.