Oakland A’s hope Brent Honeywell can live up to potential

Brent Honeywell had been considered one of the top prospects in baseball for years. From 2016 through 2019, he was a consensus top 100 prospect, a player whose pedigree, excellent command of his stuff, high octane fastball, and an actual screwball tantalized prospect hounds everywhere. Unfortunately, injuries derailed his career, leaving him unable to live up to his potential.

The Oakland A’s are taking a chance that those days are behind him. They acquired Honeywell from the Tampa Bay Rays on Friday, adding him to their 40 man roster ahead of the Rule V Draft.

Oakland A’s taking chance on Brent Honeywell

Honeywell appeared to be on the fast track to the majors. He had an impressive 2017 campaign in the minors, posting a 3.47 ERA and a 1.237 WHiP in 136.2 innings between Double-A and Triple-A, striking out 172 batters with 35 walks. Even if he was sent back to Triple-A to start the 2018 season due to service time concerns, the expectation was that he would be promoted to the majors the second his arbitration clock was pushed back another year.

Instead, Honeywell would not pitch again until 2021. He suffered numerous injuries, undergoing Tommy John surgery, fracturing a bone in the elbow of his pitching arm, and other assorted ailments. Honeywell underwent four different surgeries in three years, keeping him sidelined until this past season.

He finally made his major league debut with the Rays, typically serving as an opener. While his debut was impressive, he did struggle in his limited opportunities, allowing four runs on five hits and three walks in his 4.1 innings while striking out four batters. However, he was solid in Triple-A as he moved between the rotation and bullpen. Honeywell posted a 3.97 ERA and a 1.200 WHiP in his 81.2 innings, striking out 67 batters with 24 walks.

With a full season under his belt, and being used to pitching again, there is the chance that Honeywell can capture some of the form that made him such an intriguing prospect. The A’s need arms, whether it is in the rotation or bullpen. If the expected fire sale does happen, Honeywell could get a long look at a rotation spot, giving him the chance to be the pitcher he was expected to develop into.

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The Oakland A’s are taking a chance on Brent Honeywell. If he can stay healthy, he may end up becoming an incredible bargain.