25. Darius Vines
Personal Rank: 26
The Atlanta Braves selected Darius Vines in the 7th round of the 2019 draft. Vines had been drafted twice before. Once by the Astros in the 32nd round in 2016 and by the Cubs in the 27th round in 2017.
Third times the charm for the Atlanta Braves as they landed Vines. It has been a slower process for Vines, like most prospects the 2020 covid pandemic really hurt his development and minor league career.
He did finally figure it out in 2021 between Augusta and Rome. In 8 games at Low-A Augusta, Vines pitched 36 innings with a 2.25 ERA, 3.23 FIP, and 3.23 xFIP. He struck out 33.6% of batters and only walked 7.3% of guys.
After the promotion to High-A Rome, Vines would appear in 14 games, pitching 75 innings, totaling a 3.24 ERA, 4.45 FIP, and 4.16 xFIP. This includes a 27.0% strikeout rate and 6.3% walk rate.
In total, Vines struck out 129 of the 443 batters faced (29.1%) showing impressive strikeout potential. He also has great control, only walking 29 batters (6.5%).
His best pitch is his changeup, it currently grades as a plus pitch and is one of the better changeups in the entire system. It will only get better too.
He also adds in a fastball and a curveball to pair with his elite changeup. The curveball is promising, but the fastball is currently inconsistent.
The fastball is the reason his HR numbers went up in Rome. If he can throw the changeup and curveball for strikes, it will help the fastball if he keeps it out of the middle of the zone. He will need to develop the fastball into a more consistent pitch to move up the system.
Entering his age 24 season, 2022 should be considered a big season for Vines. He might start back in High-A but should move to AA Mississippi quickly. If he figures out that fastball and the secondary pitches continue to impress, Vines might find himself higher in the midseason rankings.