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Young Arms are Key to 2018 Success

The Rays have a certain method in going about finding young arms.

In a league where great pitching has proven to be an imperative aspect, the Rays have gathered quite the bunch. No stranger to farm league phenoms, it takes time and commitment to get these guys ready to have their shot.

Young pitchers like Brendan McKay, Brent Honeywell, and Dalton Moats are all prospects with bright futures for the Rays.

Brenden McKay is a special kind of player. He can pitch the ball, hit just as well, and could soon-be quite the threat for the Rays. The club is serious about his potential, selected fourth overall in 2017, having signed him for $7,007,500, which is the most ever handed to a draftee within the bonus-pool era.

McKay is considered one of the best two-way players we have ever seen. His college career is what really got the Rays excited, at Louisville he posted an 11-3 record with a 2.56 ERA.

“I think he’s earned the opportunity,” Scouting Director Rob Metzler said on draft day. “At some point, down the road the game of baseball will slow him down and his development path in one of those directions, but we’re going to let the game of baseball determine that.”

According to baseball-reference.com, in his 2017 season with the Hudson Valley Renegades (short-season-affiliate), he totaled a 1.80 ERA with a .232 batting average – not bad for a pitcher. He also generated a 0.75 WHIP and 21:5 K:BB throughout 20 innings in just six starts.

“On the mound he is aggressive and tenacious. He knows what he wants and plans to do with every hitter that comes to the plate,” said Josh Caray, the Hudson Valley play-by-play announcer.

Tap the ‘Well

Named the Futures Game MVP in 2017, after throwing two shutout innings with four strikeouts, Honeywell is the first pitcher to win the Larry Doby Award in the Futures Game.

This is important to state because the Futures Game is where top prospects showcase their talent. In the past, guys like Gary Sanchez and Francisco Lindor have played in this event. As have several other current MLB all-stars.

In August, Honeywell was suspended for four games because he overly expressed his feelings when he wasn’t promoted to the majors. The Rays felt it best to send a message. It goes to show that they care about his attitude and want to groom him correctly for the major leagues.

With a 3.80 ERA and 147 strikeouts over 118.1 Triple-A innings this season, he also recorded an impressive 29.7% strikeout rate. Honeywell’s screwball and four-seam fastball will prove to be a helpful addition to the Rays in 2018.

Whether it’s as a starter or a bullpen guy, Honeywell is expected to make the club out of Spring Training.

Understanding the value of development and patience, Dalton Moats is another young option for the Rays to consider next season. Although not as glamorous as Honeywell and McKay, he has proven to be efficient.

His 1.86 ERA and 0.81 WHIP excited fans following the High-A Charlotte Stone Crabs in 2017.

Six wins in seven decisions is also quite successful. Moats is proof that the Rays have a plethora of talent available in the coming years.


 

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