MIAMI -- Yes, Brent Honeywell throws a screwball, though he'd prefer that people not view his mound artistry as some kind of novelty act. The Rays standout put his entire arsenal on display at Marlins Park on Sunday, becoming the first pitcher in the 19-year history of the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game to win the Larry Doby Award as the game's MVP.
Honeywell set an early tone of dominance in a 7-6 U.S. victory over the World team, striking out four over two scoreless innings. The 22-year-old right-hander hurled a 1-2-3 first inning before pitching around a second-inning single by Rafael Devers (Red Sox No. 1 prospect; MLB No. 12).
"This is actually the coolest thing I've ever done. I don't think I've ever won a real MVP," Honeywell said. "This is kind of cool. I thank them for letting me do this. I really, really wanted this start."
Though Honeywell snapped off just one screwball out of 34 pitches, zipping a sharp one past Alex Verdugo (Dodgers No. 2; MLB No. 50) for a called third strike in the first inning, it became the talk of the U.S. clubhouse after Sunday's game.
"I'd kind of thrown him everything," Honeywell said. "I thought, 'If I'm going to do it, I'm just going to do it right here.' If it's good, it's going to be the only one, and it was a really good one. I probably couldn't throw it any better than that on TV."
Honeywell's delighted teammates-for-a-day raved that they had seen something special.
"Honeywell's screwball is unbelievable," said Brewers outfielder Lewis Brinson (Brewers No. 1; MLB No. 13). "I don't know what it is, but it started at their dugout and ended up in the strike zone. That was nasty."
Honeywell picked up the pitch from former big leaguer Mike Marshall, a cousin who used it heavily while winning the 1974 National League Cy Young Award with the Dodgers. Honeywell also boasts a fastball, slider, curveball and changeup, preferring to pepper the zone with those pitches over the suggestions of catcher Chance Cisco (Orioles No. 1; MLB No. 84).
"I was calling for [the screwball]," Cisco said. "He obviously knows himself the best, so I let him shake me off whenever he wanted. He threw it the one time on the strikeout looking, and it was filthy. I describe it as a left-handed slider, so coming out of a righty's hand, it's weird."
The Rays selected Honeywell with the No. 72 overall pick in 2014 out of Walters State Community College in Tennessee. He's currently ranked by MLBPipeline.com as the No. 22 prospect in the game (Rays' No. 2).
"He really located his fastball very well," U.S. manager Charles Johnson said. "Once you do that, it opens the door for your offspeed pitches. He has a great changeup, and the little screwball he throws, once you establish that and you can throw a fastball for strikes around the plate, you will get a lot of guys to chase your offspeed pitches."
Honeywell is 8-7 with a 4.54 ERA in 15 starts for Triple-A Durham, where he has struck out 99 against 22 walks in 79 1/3 innings. While those numbers are not as slim as he'd like, Honeywell believes he is on the cusp of making a jump to the next level.
"I try to treat every game the same, including this one," Honeywell said. 'There's just a lot more people watching."
On Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. ET, tune in to the 2017 All-Star Game presented by Mastercard live on FOX, and during the game visit MLB.com to submit your choice for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet via the 2017 MLB All-Star Game MVP Vote. The 88th All-Star Game, in Miami, will be televised nationally by FOX, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 160 countries via MLB International's independent feed. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB.com, MLB Network and SiriusXM will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com.
Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.