SoxInsider Scouting Report: RHP, Kris Honel

2001 draft pick Kris Honel

The Sox selected RHP Kris Honel in the first round (16th overall) of the 2001 amateur draft from Providence Catholic High School in New Lenox, Illinois. Soon to be 21, Honel just completed his second full season in the Sox farm system, finishing up 9-7 with a 3.11 earned run average in A-ball Winston-Salem.

Honel slid down the scale to 16th overall in the '01 draft after suffering a strained ligament in his pitching wrist during his senior year at Providence Catholic.

At the age of 20, Honel is steadily moving in the right direction in the organization. He led the entire Sox farm system in strikeouts this past season with 135.

Year

Team

W-L

R

IP

Hits

BB

K

ERA

2003

Winston-Salem

9-7

51

133

122

42

122

3.11

2003

Birmingham

1-0

6

12

9

6

13

3.75

2002

Kannapolis

9-8

57

153.1

128

52

152

2.82

2002

Winston-Salem

0-0

3

5.1

0

3

8

1.69



Kris Honel started 26 games between Winston-Salem and Birmingham as he continued to move up through the ranks of the Sox farm system in 2003 (Getty images).
Repertoire: Upper 80's/Low 90's Fastball, knuckle-curve, changeup.

Fastball: Honel's fastball is consistently clocked in the low 90's, generally from 90-91. The velocity has decreased from his senior season in high school.

Other pitches: Homel possesses a great curve that he often uses as his out pitch, which is already good enough on the major league level. Also included in his arsenal is a knuckle-curve, similar to that of Mike Mussina. His changeup is a good-sized part of his artillery given his physical size.

Pitching: Homel still could not find a way to increase his stamina in 2003. He pitched in even fewer innings this past season than in '02 and once again was not able to up his fastball to the velocity he possessed in high school.

ETA. 2006.

Projection: A strong candidate for a future #2 or #3 starter.

Keys: Must re-establish mid-90's fastball; use 6'5 frame to advantage; increase durability.

MLB clone(s): Mike Mussina, A.J. Burnett.

CAREER MINOR LEAGUE TOTALS

Year

W-L

R

IP

Hits

BB

K

ERA

2003

25-19

144

377

329

118

359

2.94



COMMENTS

The Sox have a good influx of young, stud pitchers in the farm system that are waiting to produce, even if Honel doesn't. Among his competition are Jon Rauch, Felix Diaz, Arnaldo Munez, and the Sox' newest minor league sensation, 23 year old Illinois native Neal Cotts.

After a spectacular 2002 season at Mid-A Kannapolis, Honel put together an impressive season in High-A at Winston-Salem. Although it wasn't quite as stellar as his '02 campaign, he still managed to fan 122 hitters in 133 IP with the Warthogs. In two starts at AA Birmingham in July, Honel held his own going 1-0 with a 3.75 ERA in 12 IP.

The biggest concern the Sox have with the 20 year old Honel is the noticeable drop in his fastball, down 5-6 MPH from his senior year in high school when he was consistently clocked around 94-95. The longer the fastball stays consistently between 88-91 MPH on the radar gun -and the more he has to rely on breaking pitches - the least likely he is to survive the next four or five years without major arm problems.

One positive on Honel is that control doesn't seem to be a problem for him, as witnessed the last two seasons by his near 3:1 strikeout to walk ratio.

He also does quite a number on left-handed hitters, who he held to just a .190 batting average this season, and is a great team leader with overall consistency. Look for Honel to start 2004 in Birmingham.

Got a question or comment for Josh? Email him at soxinsider@hotmail.com.

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