The Braves made a couple of notable roster moves ahead of their series against the Rockies. The one that should get everyone excited is the return of Ozzie Albies, but I was more intrigued by Darius Vines, who will make his MLB debut today.
Darius Vines will start tomorrow
— Mark Bowman (@mlbbowman) August 30, 2023
MLB Pipeline recently updated their prospect lists following the MLB Draft, and Vines clocked in at #10. As far as ceiling, that’s a pretty fair evaluation, but he’s by far the most MLB ready prospect not named AJ Smith-Shawver in Atlanta’s system.
The 25-year-old began the year on the injured list, but he’s consistently turned heads with each passing outing. To this point in the season, he’s made nine starts, five of which most recently occurred in Gwinnett, where he owns a 2.86 ERA over 28.1 innings.
Vines was drafted in the seventh round of the 2019 draft. He’s much more cut from the same cloth as Bryce Elder than someone like Spencer Strider or AJ Smith-Shawver. He’s not going to overpower opponents with his fastball, but he does possess some swing and miss, posting 10.1 strikeouts per nine innings over his minor-league career.
Vines fastball is probably considered below average in today’s game, topping out in the mid-90s, but he has a legitimate three-pitch mix, featuring a changeup and slider. His best offering is that changeup, which some scouts have as a 70-grade pitch (on a 20-80 scale). He’s not afraid to switch things up to keep opponents off balance, and most importantly, throws strikes.
Vines’ ceiling is probably a back of the rotation arm. He has some trouble with the long ball, which means it could potentially be a long day at Coors Field, but he’s definitely a prospect that could make an impact in Atlanta over the next few seasons, whether it be as a starting pitcher or out of the bullpen.
Photographer: Larry Radloff/Icon Sportswire