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Honeywell on progress: 'Ready for next step'

Rays' No. 1 prospect hopes to make Major League debut in 2018
MLB.com @basebollie

Gifted with an electric repertoire that has given hitters fits throughout four years in the Minor Leagues, Rays top prospect Brent Honeywell is poised to rise to the game's highest level. The 22-year-old joined MLB Network on Thursday to discuss his progress, as he attempts to push his way up to the Majors in 2018.

"I've done everything that I've wanted to do in Minor League Baseball so far," Honeywell said. "I think I'm ready to go to the next step. I'm not going to be the one to say, 'I can control what I can control.' No, I'm ready to go."

Gifted with an electric repertoire that has given hitters fits throughout four years in the Minor Leagues, Rays top prospect Brent Honeywell is poised to rise to the game's highest level. The 22-year-old joined MLB Network on Thursday to discuss his progress, as he attempts to push his way up to the Majors in 2018.

"I've done everything that I've wanted to do in Minor League Baseball so far," Honeywell said. "I think I'm ready to go to the next step. I'm not going to be the one to say, 'I can control what I can control.' No, I'm ready to go."

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Honeywell, the Rays' second-round Draft pick in 2014, began the '16 season with Class A Advanced Charlotte, but quickly rose through the organization's ranks and spent much of '17 with Triple-A Durham. The right-hander went 12-8 with a 3.49 ERA with 152 strikeouts in 136 2/3 innings with the Bulls last year.

Video: Honeywell on his development through the Rays' system

While the young hurler is confident his stuff is ready to take on big league hitters, Honeywell is expected to begin the 2018 season with Durham. He knows there is still more room for growth, as he continues to master his diverse arsenal of pitches.

"The main thing is the pitches I make, they have to get better along the way," he said.

Honeywell's plethora of offerings are highlighted by his screwball, a pitch taught to his father at St. Leo University by former National League Cy Young Award winner Mike Marshall. The pitch was then passed down to Honeywell at age 13.

"I was 13 years old [when] he finally showed it to me and let me cut it loose in high school," Honeywell said. "Then I just kind of ran with it. I can make it do a couple of different things. That's how it went. I can hear him right now critiquing me on the pitch, because that's his favorite pitch to critique."

Video: Honeywell's potential impact in 2018

As it stands now, there is not a spot for Honeywell in the Rays' rotation. But with Tampa Bay starters Chris Archer and Jake Odorizzi being potential trade candidates, a position could open for Honeywell at some point during the season.

Regardless of which level he plays, the promising prospect is just focused on retiring the man standing in the batter's box.

"That's something that I try not to get worked up about," Honeywell said. "You never know what could happen. I come into camp every year -- it doesn't matter if it's big league camp, Minor League camp -- it doesn't matter. Whatever hitter steps in there first is going down. I'm ready to go either way."

Oliver Macklin is a reporter for MLB.com based in Washington, D.C. Follow him on Twitter at @basebollie.

Tampa Bay Rays, Brent Honeywell