With an adjustment period behind him, Brent Honeywell is making strides with every start for Triple-A Durham.
The Rays' No. 2 prospect (No. 26 overall) struck out 10 batters in six innings for the Bulls on Thursday afternoon, both season highs for Honeywell in his five starts since receiving a promotion to Triple-A. He threw 70 of his 98 pitches for strikes, allowing two earned runs on eight hits, but ultimately took the loss as Durham fell to Columbus, 3-1.
Honeywell, 22, turned in several uneven performances upon reaching the Triple-A level, posting a 5.87 ERA in 15 1/3 innings across his first three starts. He rebounded to throw 5 1/3 scoreless frames with eight strikeouts in his next turn, however, and then built on that outing on Thursday in his best start for the Bulls.
Overall, Honeywell has allowed three earned runs or fewer in four of his five starts. He's pitched to a 4.05 ERA in that span, with 32 strikeouts and five walks in 26 2/3 innings.
Rays top prospectWilly Adames' (No. 18 overall) second home run of the season, a solo shot in the second inning, accounted for Durham's lone run in the loss. He was one of two Bulls players to collect two hits (2-for-4).
MILB Video - Title: Watch: Adames swats solo shot - Url: http://www.milb.com/r/video?content_id=1378610183
The rest of the best performances from top prospects Thursday
• Making his season debut, No. 28 overall prospectJose De Leon (Rays' No. 3) punched out seven batters in 3 1/3 innings for Class A Advanced Charlotte. The 24-year-old righty threw 61 pitches (41 strikes) in the outing, allowing two earned runs on five hits. De Leon had been sidelined since Spring Training with a right flexor mass strain.
• Pitching deep into games hasn't been an issue for No. 52 overall prospect Erick Fedde this season. The Nationals' No. 2 prospect worked seven innings for the fourth time in five starts for Double-A Harrisburg, ultimately allowing two earned runs on five hits and one walk. He recorded seven strikeouts and 10 ground-ball outs while finding the zone with 62 of his 99 pitches.
• Cardinals Nos. 5 and 11 prospects Harrison Bader and Paul DeJong each tallied two hits and three RBIs to lead Triple-A Memphis past El Paso, 6-4. Bader went deep twice in the contest, hitting a two-run shot in the fourth inning and then adding a solo shot in the sixth to push his season total to six. DeJong, meanwhile, connected on a three-run shot in the first for his eighth homer in 32 games.
MILB Video - Title: Bader hits second homer - Url: http://www.milb.com/r/video?content_id=1379005183
• Padres No. 6 prospect Fernando Tatis Jr. filled out the stat sheet as he went 2-for-4 with four runs scored and two RBIs out of the leadoff spot for Class A Fort Wayne. One of those hits was a two-run homer, his third of the season, and the 18-year-old shortstop also walked twice and recorded his eighth steal. Jorge Ona (No. 7), playing in his fourth game since returning from a quadriceps injury, drove in Tatis three times before finishing with a career-high 5 RBIs in a 3-for-3 performance.
• Tigers No. 7 prospect Mike Gerber connected on a pair of home runs in his third straight multi-hit game for Double-A Erie. It also marked the fourth career multi-homer game for the 24-year-old outfielder, who's slashing .326/.383/.504 on the season.
MILB Video - Title: Gerber goes deep again - Url: http://www.milb.com/r/video?content_id=1378361583
• Nick Kingham also made his 2017 debut, and it couldn't have gone better for the Pirates' No. 7 prospect. The right-hander did not allow a hit for four-plus innings en route to completing five scoreless frames of one-hit ball, with zero strikeouts and walks, for Class A Bradenton. Though the 25-year-old righty missed much of 2015-16 after undergoing Tommy John surgery, it was an ankle injury that sidelined him for the first month of this season.
"I just got ahead of guys, attacked with the fastball and used both sides of the plate," Kingham told MiLB.com. "They were putting balls in play and I had good defense behind me. It was just huge tonight that my defense took some hits away."
MILB Video - Title: Kingham finishes fifth in return - Url: http://www.milb.com/r/video?content_id=1377942183
• Blue Jays No. 10 prospect Justin Maese, 20, set a season high with seven strikeouts as he went the distance for Class A Lansing in a 4-1 win over Kane County. He permitted one earned run on five hits and one walk and needed just 103 pitches (69 strikes) to notch his first career nine-inning complete game. Maese has now compiled 23 innings across his past three starts, each of which has seen the right-hander complete at least seven frames.
• Phillies No. 13 prospect Rhys Hoskins powered Triple-A Lehigh Valley to a 10-7 win for Buffalo without hitting a homer. The slugging first baseman drove in half of his team's runs in a 4-for-5 performance that included a bases-clearing triple -- his second in 168 games since the start of the 2016 season. The five-RBI game boosted Hoskins' season total to 26 through 33 games, during which he's hitting a robust .348/.422/.652.
MILB Video - Title: Hoskins clears the bases - Url: http://www.milb.com/r/video?content_id=1378287083
• Mets No. 23 prospect P.J. Conlon took the loss for Double-A Binghamton despite tossing eight innings of one-run ball. The 23-year-old lefty scattered five hits and struck out six in the season-long outing, also generating 11 ground-ball outs. He's posted a 2.88 ERA with a 41-to-6 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 40 2/3 innings (seven starts) this season.