The A’s announced that right-hander Brent Honeywell Jr. has been outrighted to Triple-A Las Vegas.
Honeywell, 27, was drafted by the Rays in 2014 and spent years being considered one of the best prospects in the game. He cracked Baseball America’s top 100 list for five straight years from 2016 to 2020. He stayed on that list for so long both because of his talent and because repeated injuries prevented him from exhausting his prospect status.
Honeywell required Tommy John surgery in early 2018, which wiped out that entire season. In June of 2019, he fractured a bone in his right elbow while working his way back to the mound, making it two straight lost seasons. In May of 2020, while the pandemic had put the season on pause, he underwent a decompression procedure on his right ulnar nerve. That eventually made it three consecutive campaigns without Honeywell taking the mound in an official game of any kind.
In 2021, he finally was healthy enough to pitch, making his MLB debut for the Rays. They only let him throw 4 1/3 innings at the big league level, however, leaving him in Triple-A most of the year. He threw 81 2/3 frames there with a 3.97 ERA, 20% strikeout rate and 7.2% walk rate.
Those weren’t eye-popping numbers, though it probably would have been unrealistic for Honeywell to just jump to ace-like results after three lost seasons. The A’s acquired him from the Rays in November, hoping that another healthy year could perhaps allow Honeywell to rediscover some of the form that made him such a hot prospect in previous years. Unfortunately, he was dealt another injury setback, diagnosed with an olecranon stress reaction in his elbow in March. That landed him on the 60-day IL to start the year, where he’s been until today. The club didn’t announce that Honeywell had been designated for assignment but they evidently passed him through waivers in recent days.
Since he was on the 60-day IL, Honeywell wasn’t occupying a spot on the 40-man roster. He was about to, however, as he began a rehab assignment August 16. Rehab assignments for pitchers come with a 30-day maximum, meaning Honeywell was nearing his activation point. Instead, the A’s put him on waivers and passed him through. This is his first career outright and he has less than three years of MLB service time. He will stick with the A’s without retaking a spot on the roster. In 11 2/3 innings as part of his rehab, he logged an ERA of 8.49, though likely somewhat marred by a .405 BABIP. He’s struck out 19.3% of batters and walked 7% in that small sample.