Honeywell, Sanchez named Rays Prospects of the Year

Honeywell, Sanchez named Rays Prospects of the Year

ST. PETERSBURG -- Brent Honeywell and Jesus Sanchez have been named the Rays Prospects of the Year by MLB Pipeline.

Honeywell, 22, is ranked No. 1 on the Rays' Top 30 Prospects list and No. 11 overall. The right-hander has a full arsenal that includes a fastball, slider, changeup and screwball.

Rays Prospects of the Year
2017 Jesus Sanchez Brent Honeywell
2016 Casey Gilaspie Brent Honeywell
2015 Richie Shaffer Blake Snell
Year Hitter Pitcher

"There's nothing he throws that is average," Rays farm director Mitch Lukevics said. "His stuff is plus. All of his pitches are there and they're all good. His screwball sets him apart."

Honeywell is athletic with smooth mechanics and a repeatable delivery that allows him to be a strike thrower. He's also a fearless competitor and draws raves for his ability to mix pitches, set up hitters and execute a game plan.

"He's on the cusp of making our Major League team," Lukevics said. "He has it all. He's the most competitive pitcher in the organization and he has the stuff to go with it."

Lukevics said the Rays wanted to see more consistency from Honeywell this season before they punched his ticket to the Major Leagues.

"You saw when he went from Double-A to Triple-A he struggled," Lukevics said. "And you learn from your struggles and you also learn from your good performances. You don't know how to handle failure unless you've had failure. And I think he's learned that in Durham this year.

"I think he's learned that it's not the lower Minor Leagues where he could just go about his business and dominate without putting in the time. I think he's learned to be more of a professional. We all knew the intangibles of competing were off the charts. Now it's all about being the consummate professional. And I think with this experience in Durham, at the Triple-A level, he's learned that."

Sanchez, 20, is a 6-foot-3, 210 pound outfielder, who hits from the left side and throws right-handed. He's the organization's No. 4 prospect.

"Great year, great kid, good worker," Lukevics said. "He really has the ability to hit a baseball and impact a baseball."

Top Prospects: Sanchez, TB

In 234 Minor League games, he has hit .318, with 26 home runs and 166 RBIs in 294 Minor League games. Playing at Class A Bowling Green this season, Sanchez hit .305 with 15 home runs and 82 RBIs for the Hot Rods.

When asked about Sanchez's defense, Lukevics described him as a "good outfielder with a good arm."

"And the thing is, like all young kids, they've got to learn better routes on the ball," Lukevics said. "Pure skill, he's a good outfielder with a good arm and he plays the outfield with energy. And sometimes that doesn't always take place."

Lukevics allowed that Sanchez is on the fast track as far as advancement, adding: "He hasn't stumbled yet. But he has very good makeup. So if he does, he'll be able to handle."

Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for since 2004. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.