When the Royals acquired Donnie Dewees for Alec Mills back in the 2016-2017 offseason, he immediately popped up on my radar as someone who could help our aging outfield down the road. He had a promising debut season with us last year, with a slash line of .272/.340/.407 to go with 52 runs batted in and 20 stolen bases in his 126 games. Not bad for his first year in AA. It seemed like he was doing something productive in the box score every single night, whether it was bringing home a run or scoring one himself.
As solid as his season was at the plate, it was his speed and defense that really piqued my interest. I mean, that was a huge part of the Royals championship success, so it just makes sense for them to acquire players like Dewees who could potentially play similar roles during our next run. So after his solid debut in our system in 2017, I was looking forward to seeing Donnie take another step in his development this season.
For the start of 2018, Kansas City opted to keep him in AA for more growth with the Naturals. Repeating a level isn’t a bad thing, and for Donnie, it was probably the right move starting the year. Unfortunately, he ended up taking a small step back at the plate, slashing just .253/.305./.351 in 70 games for the Naturals this season. He still produced runs at a solid clip, but his base stealing dropped off a bit. He was a productive player at the plate, but the league might have started to figure him out. Even with his struggles, the Royals decided to be aggressive with him and promoted him to AAA Omaha on June 21st.
The promotion seemed to be exactly what he needed, because he produced like the player he was back in 2017 again. Over his 64 games in AAA, he upped his slash line to .266/.315./.423 and added more power by tripling his AA home run total, giving him 8 overall on the year. He ended up with 16 steals and 54 runs driven in between his two minor league stops, while playing solid defense all year long.
Looking ahead, he would need to have a fantastic spring in order to make the big league club out of camp next year. But on a team as talent starved as the Royals, they could always use a talented player like Dewees on the roster as they continue the rebuild. Maybe his defense and speed could warrant the attention of the front office as they put more pieces in place for the future or maybe he could just be another AAAA outfielder that gives the team extra depth in times of need. Only time will tell if he fits into their long-term plans or not. Regardless, the time is now for Donnie Dewees to make an impact for the team, before higher profile prospects like Khalil Lee and Seuly Matias reach the upper minors and usurp his spot in the outfield pecking order.