The Atlanta Braves recalled Darius Vines to the major leagues and it looks like he will make his debut at some point during the Colorado Rockies series. Potentially, he could be the starter for the series finale on Wednesday.
Vines is from Oxnard, CA, and was originally drafted by the Houston Astros in the 32nd round of the 2016 draft. He would go on to play at Oxnard College and would be drafted by the Chicago Cubs in the 27th round of the 2017 draft. Once again, he would not sign and transfer to Cal State Berkley and would become the highest-drafted player in school history in 2019 when the Atlanta Braves selected him in the 7th round.
He currently sits as the Braves 10th ranked prospect on MLB pipeline and 13th on Fangraphs.
He has worked methodically through the system. The 2020 Covid season probably did not help his development, as he did not reach A ball until 2021. He would spend all year there and split time between AA & AAA in 2022. The Braves would add him to the 40-man roster to protect him from the Rule 5 draft. He arguably would have made his debut earlier this year but shoulder inflammation kept him out until July.
In 28.1 innings and 5 starts, Vines has a 2.86 ERA, 21.7% strikeout rate, and 9.6% walk rate. The peripherals and overall numbers are not as nice as we would like but that could be chalked up to the injury and missing so much time. In his last start on August 23rd, Vines pitched 7 innings with 4 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, and 5 K. A respectable line.
For his stuff, Vines is the type of pitcher to really throw the kitchen sink at hitters. His best pitch is his changeup (60). It sits in the low 80s but is very deceptive and has good depth. He can throw it in any situation and get a whiff. The low 80s slider (50) is considered an average pitch but it has the ability to miss bats. He also features a show me slow curve (45) occasionally. Finally, the fastball is fine (50) and sits anywhere from 91-95.
His stuff may not be electric, but he shows a good feel for pitching when everything is working. He projects as a backend starter at his best. Personally, I have thought he might end up being a bullpen arm in the long run.
He will get what looks to be a spot start. The Braves would not need a 5th starter again until September 9th if they choose to go that route. A good outing could see Vines stick in the 5th spot of the rotation for another start or potentially see him slide into the bullpen for a while. Especially as September approaches and rosters expand.
Either way, I know I am excited to see Vines make his major league debut. Coors Field is a tough spot to potentially debut, but is better than starting in LA against the Dodgers. The Braves will need valuable innings from someone this week and, hopefully, Vines can provide that for the team.