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Honeywell headlines Rays-rich Top 100 list

Adames, McKay, Sanchez, Bauers and Arroyo also crack MLB Pipeline's annual top prospect rankings
MLB.com @wwchastain

ST. PETERSBURG -- MLB's Top 100 Prospects List is crowded with Rays.

Representing the club are right-hander Brent Honeywell (No. 12), shortstop Willy Adames (No. 22), first baseman/left-hander Brendan McKay (No. 25), outfielder Jesus Sanchez (No. 57), outfielder/first baseman Jake Bauers (No. 64), and third baseman/shortstop Christian Arroyo (No. 81).

ST. PETERSBURG -- MLB's Top 100 Prospects List is crowded with Rays.

Representing the club are right-hander Brent Honeywell (No. 12), shortstop Willy Adames (No. 22), first baseman/left-hander Brendan McKay (No. 25), outfielder Jesus Sanchez (No. 57), outfielder/first baseman Jake Bauers (No. 64), and third baseman/shortstop Christian Arroyo (No. 81).

MLB Pipeline's 2018 Top 100 Prospects list

The annual ranking of MLB's Top 100 prospects is assembled by MLBPipeline.com Draft and prospect experts Jonathan Mayo, Jim Callis and Mike Rosenbaum, who compile input from industry sources, including scouts and scouting directors. It is based on analysis of players' skill sets, upsides, proximity to the Majors and potential immediate impact to their teams. Only players with rookie status entering the 2018 season are eligible for the list. Players who were at least 25 years old when they signed and played in leagues deemed to be professional (Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Cuba) are not eligible.

:: Complete 2018 Top Prospects coverage ::

Honeywell is knocking on the door to reach the Major Leagues, as he projects to be in the Majors at some point in 2018.

Rays farm director Mitch Lukevics called Honeywell the most competitive guy in the organization. He has a smooth delivery and five pitches, including a screwball. In 2017, Honeywell was 12-8 with a 3.64 ERA in 24 starts at Triple-A Durham. In 123 2/3 innings, he averaged 11.1 strikeouts and 2.3 walks per nine innings. Including two starts with Double-A Montgomery before making the step up to Durham, Honeywell's 2017 ERA was 3.49.

Adames, 22, came to the Rays' organization in the 2014 trade that sent David Price to the Tigers. He's played well at every level. Early in Adames' career, scouts noted how well he competed against more advanced players. Last season, he took over as the starting shortstop for Durham and became an International League All-Star, hitting .277 with 10 home runs and 62 RBIs in 130 games for the Bulls.

Adames is a good athlete who stands out for his excellent hands and plus arm strength at shortstop, though his average speed limits his range at the position. Some believe he'll end up at third base once he's totally filled out. He should be in the infield mix this spring, and could become the starting shortstop if Adeiny Hechavarria gets traded.

Video: Top Prospects: Willy Adames, SS, Rays

The Rays drafted McKay with the fourth pick in the 2017 Draft. McKay pitches and plays first base, and the Rays seem content to let his positional flexibility play out, remaining open to any possibilities that go against conventional baseball thinking.

At Class A Short-Season Hudson Valley, McKay hit .232 with four home runs, 22 RBIs and an on-base percentage of .349. His 21 walks were also the fourth most on a Renegades team that won the New York-Penn League championship.

Video: Top Prospects: Brendan McKay, 1B, Rays

Sanchez, 20, hits from the left side and throws right-handed, and according to Lukevics, "He really has the ability to hit a baseball and impact a baseball." As for defense, Lukevics described him as a "good outfielder with a good arm."

Video: Top Prospects: Jesus Sanchez, OF, Rays

In 234 Minor League games, Sanchez has hit .318 with 26 home runs and 166 RBIs. Playing at Class A Bowling Green this past season, Sanchez hit .305 with 15 home runs and 82 RBIs in 117 games for the Hot Rods.

Bauers opened eyes with his bat last spring during his first spring campaign with the Major League club. By the time he was reassigned to Minor League camp, he had amassed a .371 average, three doubles, a triple, four homers and 13 RBIs. Included in that collection were some tape-measure blasts.

Video: Top Prospects: Jake Bauers, 1B, Rays

Bauers followed with a solid year at Durham. At this juncture, the Rays have not announced their intentions for first base in 2018. Brad Miller is a likely candidate, and Bauers will definitely get a shot.

Video: Top Prospects: Christian Arroyo, 3B, Rays

Arroyo came to the Rays in the December trade that sent Evan Longoria to the Giants. The 22-year-old infielder reached the Major Leagues last season after a hot start for Triple-A Sacramento in which he hit .446 with seven doubles, three home runs, and 12 RBIs in 16 games.

In 34 games for the Giants, he hit .192 with three homers and 14 RBIs before getting sent back to the Minor Leagues in early June. After eight games, Arroyo broke his left hand on July 1 to end his season. That injury should be healed, paving the way for Arroyo to be in the infield mix this spring.

Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005.

Tampa Bay Rays, Willy Adames, Brent Honeywell