Atlanta Braves prospect Darius Vines has been named the Arizona Fall League Pitcher of the Week. Vines surrendered only one run in 5.2 innings of work and struck out nine batters. He put his command on display as he only issued one free pass in his outing.
The Houston Astros drafted Darius Vines in the 2016 draft. After a road filled with ups and downs along with injuries, 2023 was the year that Vines finally made his MLB debut. The 25-year-old stepped onto a big league mound for the first time in an Atlanta Braves jersey on August 30th, 2023.
Vines has started two games and appeared in five total at the major league level. Across this stretch, he has tossed a total of 20.1 innings, gave up 9 earned runs, struck out 14 and walked 7.
If Darius Vines could come back to the Braves in 2024 and put up performances like he had in the Arizona Fall League this week, he could be a real asset to the team. Pitching is undoubtedly the biggest point of weakness Atlanta has right now and this shows hope that help could come from within the organization.
Now, there is no doubt that the level of competition Vines is pitching against is the same as what he would see in an MLB game but there is something that could translate: command. It doesn’t matter how skilled hitters are, pitchers, have to throw strikes and locate pitches.
Vines obviously struggled with this in his short amount of time in the big leagues, walking 7 in his 20.1 innings. His outing this past week where he struck out 9 and only walked one shows that he is trusting his pitches, pounding the strike zone, or at the very least making competitive pitches when needed.
The development of Darius Vines is something for Braves fans to keep an eye on throughout the offseason as he could be competing for an Opening Day roster spot for 2024.