MLB Pipeline names Gillaspie, Honeywell Rays' Prospects of Year

Slugger succeeded across upper levels; No. 2 prospect paced organization in ERA

MLB Pipeline names Gillaspie, Honeywell Rays' Prospects of Year

ST. PETERSBURG -- Casey Gillaspie and Brent Honeywell put together exceptional seasons within the Rays organization in 2016. For their efforts, the pair has been named the Rays' Prospects of the Year by

Gillaspie, 23, hit .284 with 18 home runs and 64 RBIs between Double-A Montgomery (85 games) and Triple-A Durham (47 games).

The Rays' No. 9 prospect earned a spot on the Southern League midseason All-Star Team, and his 11 home runs with Montgomery ranked fourth in the Southern League at the time of his promotion.

After moving up, Gillaspie hit .307 with seven home runs for the Bulls. The first baseman's 22 extra-base hits with Durham were tied for third in the International League following the All-Star break.

"He has the potential for power from both sides," said Rays farm director Mitch Lukevics. "What's underestimated with Casey is how well he plays first base. He was signed because of his bat -- power from both sides. He had a banner year and that power was evident in 2016."

Lukevics believes Gillaspie has turned the corner in his development.

"I think he's made great strides since Day 1 when he started with us at Hudson Valley," Lukevics said. "And then his journey took him to the Arizona Fall League and he made some adjustments. And those adjustments were evident in him having a good season.

"He had success on the Triple-A level when a lot of young kids do not. So we believe he has a bright future."

Top Prospects: Honeywell, TB

Honeywell, 21, went 7-3 with a 2.34 ERA in 20 starts between Single-A Charlotte and Montgomery.

"Honeywell has been amazingly consistent from Day 1," Lukevics said. "He's a bright young guy, bright IQ and his stuff's good. And this is what you expect from Brent Honeywell."

Lukevics stressed that Honeywell has a good delivery.

"That allows him to repeat his delivery," Lukevics said. "Quality strikes with quality stuff. His ability to repeat his delivery was in his favor from Day 1. And when you have a good delivery like he does and it's repeatable. You can count on consistent, quality strikes. And that's what he brings. It's just focus and maturation as he goes up. He had an absolutely wonderful year."

Honeywell's 2.34 ERA ranked first among Rays Minor Leaguers with at least 100 innings pitched. The Rays' No. 2 prospect opened the season making 10 starts with Charlotte, going 4-1 with a 2.41 ERA and a 5.82 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

The right-hander finished the season making 10 starts with Montgomery, where he went 3-2 with a 2.28 ERA and 53 strikeouts.

Honeywell has a repertoire that includes a fastball, slider, changeup, and screwball.

"His screwball sets him apart," Lukevics said. "He has plus stuff. There's nothing he throws that is average. His stuff is plus."

Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for since 2005. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.