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Honeywell eager to shine at Futures Game

MLB.com @wwchastain

ST. PETERSBURG -- Loyal fans of any franchise love to get a sneak peek at the players who will dot the team's roster in the coming years, particularly the ones earmarked for greatness.

Brent Honeywell fits the bill for the Rays, which should serve as extra incentive to watch this year's Futures Game, since the Triple-A Durham right-hander will highlight the Rays' contingent.

ST. PETERSBURG -- Loyal fans of any franchise love to get a sneak peek at the players who will dot the team's roster in the coming years, particularly the ones earmarked for greatness.

Brent Honeywell fits the bill for the Rays, which should serve as extra incentive to watch this year's Futures Game, since the Triple-A Durham right-hander will highlight the Rays' contingent.

The 2017 SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game takes place today at 4 p.m. ET at Marlins Park in Miami and can be viewed live on MLB Network and MLB.com.

:: 2017 Futures Game coverage ::

Honeywell is looking forward to his opportunity to shine.

"I'm excited for it," said Honeywell in a recent phone interview. "I've never been to Miami. I guess that will be a fun time."

Durham manager Jared Sandberg will join Honeywell on the U.S. team, serving as the first-base coach. Shortstop Lucius Fox (Class A Bowling Green), who hails from Nassau, Bahamas, is on the World Team's roster.

Honeywell noted that the game will be played on a start day for him.

"So hopefully I get a start," he said. "That would be cool to start the game."

The Rays selected Honeywell, 22, with the No. 72 overall pick in 2014 out of Walters State Community College in Tennessee. He's currently ranked by MLBPipeline.com as the organization's No. 2 prospect.

Above all else, Honeywell is a strike-thrower with a mid-90s fastball that sets up four secondary pitches, including a screwball and a plus changeup. He's athletic, with smooth mechanics. 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 got good stuff," Rays farm director Mitch Lukevics said. "Has a repeatable delivery. And he's cocky and confident, which is a good quality."

Honeywell has scuffled a little with his control lately. He allowed 10 walks in 13 2/3 innings in three starts prior to his start on July 4, when he allowed no runs on three hits and a walk while striking out nine.

"You never know how a player is going to come until you see how he handles failure," Lukevics said. "How you handle failure is everything. How he's handled it so far is a good sign."

Honeywell allowed that he just needs to "figure out how to get back on track."

"In my opinion, the runs that I give up are out of my control. But I do know I can control the walk total. ... If you make a good pitch, you should get the guy out. If you execute the pitch you want in a situation, you're going to get the guy out more times than not."

Honeywell doesn't like the way his numbers look this season (9-8, with a 4.19 ERA in 17 starts between Montgomery and Durham), but that's not about to knock him off kilter.

"Even though I got knocked around a little bit early this year, it wasn't like I didn't feel like I was ready to pitch in the big leagues," he said. "I feel like I'm knocking on the door. I felt like I was knocking on the door last year."

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

Tampa Bay Rays