Pitcher Brent Honeywell and shortstop Lucius Fox will represent the Tampa Bay Rays in the Futures Game on July 9 in Marlins Park. Honeywell, my #2 ranked Rays prospect from our earlier Top 50, was selected to represent the U.S., Fox the World in the annual classic featuring top minor league prospects.
Honeywell is probably “next up” in the long line of outstanding Rays pitching prospects to hit the big leagues. He follows Blake Snell, who has struggled with consistency since his call-up in 2016, and Jake Faria, who has impressed in his first outings for the Rays this summer. Honeywell, 22, is a Georgia native and son of former minor league pitcher Brent Honeywell, who spent three years in the Pittsburgh Pirates’ organization. Brent the younger was drafted in the second round in 2014 out of community college in Tennessee.
His minor league career features numbers like these: 27 wins and 18 losses and an ERA of 2.98 with a WHIP of 1.08. He has struck out 405 batters in 371.2 innings. He has struggled a bit at AAA Durham this summer, including one stretch where he allowed 12 runs in 13.2 innings over three starts. But he battled the Charlotte Knights in his last outing, giving up three hits and a walk while striking out nine in six innings of a 1-0 victory. The righty leads the International League in strikeouts with 99. His mastery of a rare screwball gets press, but his other stuff (fastball, curve, changeup) plays up and Honeywell has a chance to be a top of the rotation starter.
Fox, 20, born in the Bahamas, was obtained by the Rays in the Matt Moore trade to the San Francisco Giants in 2016. In his second season of full A ball (Bowling Green), Fox is hitting .273 with 2 homers, 23 RBI and 24 stolen bases. He came in #16 in my Prospects1500 Top 50 Rays prospects from prior to this season.
It’s uncertain whether Fox will stick at short (he might end up in center field), but he has a plus arm, plus speed and the hit tool, if not a lot of power. His athleticism turns heads, and this will be the first opportunity for Fox to shine on a national stage.
It will be interesting to see how both of these Rays fare in this coming Sunday’s Futures Game at Marlins Park. With a lot of good talent in the Rays’ farm system it’s also intriguing to think about who might represent Tampa Bay in the 2018, 2019 and future Futures Games. Let me know who you think might be those next stars and we can discuss the possibilities. Hit me up on Twitter at @ParnellMichael or add a comment below.
Article featured image of Lucius Fox – courtesy TampaBay.com, Will Vragovic – Tampa Bay Times