Monday, August 2, 2021
Seemingly every week, at least one Braves minor leaguer is featured at MiLB.com as one of the winners of either Batter of the Week or Pitcher of the Week. Well, on Monday, 23-year-old righty Darius Vines did just that as he took home an award for his performance with High-A Rome last week.
Vines, who recently was promoted from Single-A Augusta to High-A Rome, pitched an absolute gem this past Saturday night versus the Asheville Tourists, tossing seven no-hit innings and striking out nine to go with two walks. The 94-pitch outing last weekend was by far Vine’s best performance of the 2021 season, even though he has already pitched several dominant outings so far this year. Here’s a look at his top-five starts, ordered by Game Score…
(7/31) – 7 IP, 2 BB, 9 K
(6/1) – 6 IP, 2 H, BB, 9 K
(6/13) – 6 IP, 2 H, ER, 2 BB, 8 K
(5/13) – 5 IP, 2 H, BB, 6 K
6/19) – 6 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 10 K, HR
When I’m able to update my Braves Top 30 prospect list, it’s very likely that Vines finds himself included (he was an Honorable Mention to begin the season). The former seventh-round pick (2019) has been extremely sharp this season, posting a 2.90 ERA with 11.2 strikeouts per nine and 2.6 walks per nine in 71.1 innings (15 starts) between both Augusta and Rome. Vines hasn’t been as dominant now up a level higher than he was to begin the year, but those overall numbers and the fact that he was able to mow through a High-A opponent on Saturday indicates he’s plenty comfortable with his stuff on the mound right now.
Coming out of the 2019 draft, Vines was looked at as a potential mid-rotation starter or a solid bullpen piece. His already above-average curveball was what made him stand out among his class. Like most fastball/curve type prospects, how far Vines goes is dependent on how well he develops his other secondary offerings. At least for now… he seems to be doing just fine.