The original version of this story reported Alec Mills had been designated for assignment. The story has been updated to reflect he has been traded to the Chicago Cubs.
The Royals have traded Alec Mills to the Chicago Cubs for outfielder Donnie Dewees. The move clears up a spot on the 40-man roster for pitcher Jason Hammel, signed to a deal this week.
The move is a bit of a surprise considering Mills has been a very solid minor league pitching prospect in an organization that does not have much in pitching prospects. He was named the #19 prospect in the organization in 2016 by John Sickels and had a 3.22 ERA in 24 games across AA and AAA last season with 122 strikeouts in 125 1⁄3 innings. Mills ended the season in Kansas City, giving up five runs in 3 1/3 innings.
The 25-year old right-hander attended the University of Tennessee-Martin and was selected in the 22nd round of the 2012 draft by the Royals. The ZIPS projection system was high on Mills, projecting him to be a 1.2 WAR pitcher with a 4.27 ERA in 105 innings.
Dewees was a second-round pick in 2015 out of Northern Florida. He hit .284/.338/.416 with five home runs in low A and High A ball last year. He seems to have good speed, legging out 14 triples with 31 steals in 36 attempts. The 23-year old is a left-handed hitter with a 6% career walk rate. John Sickels rated him as the 11th-best prospect in the Cubs system, writing he is “an above-average defensive outfielder despite weak throwing arm; may have more raw power than he’s shown so far.” In June, Bob Glover at Minor League Ball saw DeWees up close and wrote:
Dewees shows a swing geared for line drives. While he does not project to hit a ton of home runs, he is strong and can drive the ball in the gaps where his plus speed allows him to take extra bases.....
While Dewees lacks the pure ceiling of Jimenez or right fielder Eddy Martinez, it is easy to see a Major League profile here. His plus speed plays well on offense and defense to go along with a solid hit tool. He appears to have a fairly high floor with the chance to develop into starter, or perhaps a quality fourth outfielder.
Other candidates to be moved off the 40-man roster were catcher Cameron Gallagher, infielder Ramon Torres, and pitchers Scott Alexander and Andrew Edwards.