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Honeywell poised to take next step in 2018

Rays hurler is MLB Pipeline's No. 4 right-handed-pitching prospect
MLB.com @JoeFrisaro

No matter the setting, Brent Honeywell has risen to the occasion. Throughout his Minor League career, the Rays' top prospect has set himself apart, whether it was in the 2016 Arizona Fall League or last July at the Sirius XM All-Star Future's Game at Marlins Park.

Wherever he's been, Honeywell has delivered. He keeps trending upwards, and in the latest MLB Pipeline's rankings, Honeywell is the No. 4 right-handed-pitching prospect in baseball.

No matter the setting, Brent Honeywell has risen to the occasion. Throughout his Minor League career, the Rays' top prospect has set himself apart, whether it was in the 2016 Arizona Fall League or last July at the Sirius XM All-Star Future's Game at Marlins Park.

Wherever he's been, Honeywell has delivered. He keeps trending upwards, and in the latest MLB Pipeline's rankings, Honeywell is the No. 4 right-handed-pitching prospect in baseball.

After dominating in the Minor Leagues, Honeywell is knocking on the door to reach the bigs. Whether it is breaking Spring Training with the Rays or getting the callup during the regular season, Honeywell projects to be in the Majors at some point in 2018.

Top 10 Prospects by Position

From Carnesville, Ga., Honeywell has small-town roots and big-time aspirations. He attended Franklin County High School in Royston, Ga., which is famous for being the home of Ty Cobb.

Honeywell is making a name of his own. If the smooth delivery, competitive fire and flowing hair don't grab your attention, perhaps Honeywell's throwback pitch will. The Rays' top prospect befuddles batters with a rare screwball. The pitch was part of the game decades ago, and Honeywell just may bring it back into the spotlight again.

Honeywell's father, also named Brent, played Minor League ball in the Pirates system in the late 1980s, but he never reached the Majors. Brent Sr.'s cousin is Mike Marshall, the National League's Cy Young Award winner in 1974.

Marshall was noted for throwing a screwball, which for a right-handed pitcher provides a similar break to a lefty's slider or curveball.

The younger Honeywell learned the pitch through Marshall, and it has been a big weapon for him ever since.

Video: Honeywell's potential impact in 2018

At the Future's Game in Miami, Honeywell struck out four, walked one and allowed one hit in two scoreless innings. He was named Most Valuable Player in Team U.S.A.'s 7-6 win.

"This is actually the coolest thing I've ever done. I don't think I've ever won a real MVP," Honeywell said in July. "This is kind of cool. I thank them for letting me do this. I really, really wanted this start."

Video: Honeywell opens eyes with prodigious Futures outing

The Rays selected Honeywell in the second round of the 2014 Draft. He was a relatively unknown at the time, coming out of Walters State Community College in Morristown, Tenn. Now, he is one of baseball's best prospects.

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 11.06 strikeouts and 2.26 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.

His next step might just be the big leagues.

Joe Frisaro has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro.

Tampa Bay Rays, Brent Honeywell