Season starts, so do the injuries…
With the 2017 MLB season underway and the injuries already starting, teams start to rely on some of their prospects. The Tampa Bay Rays have consistently had one of the strongest farm systems in all of Major League Baseball. Having a strong core of “back-ups” is incredibly valuable, especially to a team trying to contend year after year.
So who has the most potential in the Rays farm system?
Willy Adames, SS
Dominican-born, Willy Adames is a young shortstop with a strong, accurate arm. The young Adames has promise, although his numbers so far this season do not reflect that. With Triple-A Durham, Adames is batting a meager .150, going 6-for-40 over his first ten games this season, with 13 strikeouts.
On the bright side, of those six hits he has one double, one triple, and a home run.
— Willy Adames ™! #12 (@willya02) April 6, 2017
Brent Honeywell, RHP
Just 22 years old, Brent Honeywell throws a fastball that tops out at 95-96 MPH. That along with an excellent screwball and a deadly curve give him a serious arsenal on the mound. Last season between the Single-A Charlotte Stone Crabs and Double-A Montgomery Biscuits, Honeywell racked up a 2.34 ERA over 115 innings of work – allowing 94 hits while striking out 117 and walking 25.
So far this season with Montgomery, Honeywell only pitched in two games, but is bettering his numbers from 2016. After two starts, Honeywell (1-1) has a 2.08 ERA, with 20 strikeouts and only four walks through 13 innings pitched. In those 13 innings, he has allowed a staggeringly low four hits. He was bumped up to Durham on April 16th, but has not pitched for them yet.
This kid is on fire right now, and the Rays may need him down the stretch when guys start getting burnt out.
— Durham Bulls (@DurhamBulls) April 16, 2017
Jose De Leon, RHP
The Rays acquired pitcher Jose De Leon from the Dodgers as part of the Logan Forsythe trade. Last season with the Triple-A Oklahoma City Dodgers, De Leon finished with a 2.61 ERA in 86 innings, compiling 111 strikeouts and 20 walks, while allowing 61 hits.
De Leon was given a shot this spring with the Rays and frankly, put up awful numbers.
In two spring-training starts, De Leon was 0-1 with a ridiculous 17.18 ERA…in only 3.2 innings! Although he is currently on the disabled list and has not pitched this season for Triple-A Durham, the Rays seem hopeful he could make some late season appearances.
— Marc Topkin (@TBTimes_Rays) April 4, 2017
The future is promising for the Rays organization.
Adrian Rondon, SS
Although he is not expected to be called up for a few years, shortstop Adrian Rondon is putting up big-league numbers at only 18 years-of-age. The $2.95M teenager is batting .238 for the Single-A Bowling Green Hot Rods this season.
The Rays signed Rondon on July 7, 2014 – as part of the International signing class. Many scouts will argue that he was the best talent in that class. MLBPipeline.com had him as the third-best prospect in the class. With the recent increase in offensively gifted shortstops, in a few years, Rondon may find himself as one of those “it factor” shortstops in Major League Baseball.
Down on the Farm
The Durham Bulls are off to a hot start at 7-4, leading the International League South Division.
The Double-A Biscuits (6-5) are sitting in second place of the Southern League North Division.
At Single-A, the Charlotte Stone Crabs (3-9) are off to a slow start and currently occupy last place in the Florida State League South Division.