The Royals have traded minor league outfielder Donnie Dewees to the Chicago Cubs for pitcher Stephen Ridings. The Royals originally acquired Dewees from the Cubs back in 2017 for pitcher Alec Mills.
Ridings is a 23 year-old from Huntington, New York who pitched at Haverford College, a small Division III school in Pennsylvania. Baseball America wrote that the 6’8’’ right-hander had a fastball that “works in the low 90s and some scouts saw him get up to 93 mph.” Ridings, a chemistry major who planned to attend graduate school, was able to impress scouts despite pitching at a small school in the Northeast.
“Stephen is a guy that persevered over a long period of time,” said Rob Steinert, the Northeast scout for the Cubs, who took Ridings with the 254th pick. “He was never the star, not in Little League or high school. But he worked tirelessly and ignored the doubters.”
Ridings was selected in the eighth-round by the Cubs in the 2016 draft, but needed Tommy John surgery before he even made his first professional pitch. Ridings didn’t make his debut with the Cubs until 2017, and he spent last season in A ball, posting a 4.15 ERA in 34 2/3 innings with 44 strikeouts and 15 walks pitching for Eugene in the Northwest League.
The 25-year old Dewees began last year at AA Northwest Arkansas where he got off to a dreadful start, hitting just .188 in April. He began to heat up over the summer and earned a promotion to AAA Omaha in June and finished strong by hitting .266/.315/.423 in 64 games with the Storm Chasers.
Dewees may have been caught in a numbers game, and this may be an indication that the Royals plan to send Jorge Bonifacio and/or Brett Phillips to Omaha, as well as Bubba Starling to play in the outfield. Outfielders Elier Hernandez and Anderson Miller could also be candidates to be on the Omaha roster, and Khalil Lee, Nick Heath, Blake Perkins, and Rudy Martin seem slated to play in the outfield for AA Northwest Arkansas.