POSITION: Right-handed pitcher
BORN ON: February 26, 1985
AGE: Will be 23 this season
BORN IN: Birmingham, Alabama
LIVES IN: Birmingham, Alabama
WEIGHT: 220 pounds
SCHOOL: Pelham High School
ACQUIRED: Selected by the Braves in the fifth round of the 2003 amateur draft
SIGNED BY: Al Goetz
STATISTICSClick here for Vines' 2007 stats
SCOUTING REPORTChris Vines had Tommy John Surgery on July 18, 2006, so last season was his first action back after the surgery. Vines had hoped to get back in May and get 75 innings, but he did not return until June 1st and finished the season with 32.2 innings pitched.
The Braves sent Vines to Myrtle Beach when he originally came back, but the right-hander really struggled. In six games (five starts), Vines was 0-3 with a 11.66 ERA. He walked too many hitters (12 in 14.2 innings) and allowed too many hits (26). So the Braves sent him back down to the South Atlantic League to get some success.
Thankfully, that's exactly what happened. Vines got five starts in six games, and the Braves held him to two or three innings in his first four appearances. Then in the last month of the season the Braves allowed Vines to stretch out a bit and he pitched five scoreless innings on August 6th and four scoreless innings on August 12th. Vines did not allow a walk in his last four games of the season.
The Braves let Vines end his season a little early since he was pretty tired toward the end. He began his rehab in Orlando in January, so he had been pushing it pretty hard for eight months. Despite getting a little tired, Vines accomplished a great deal in his first year back after the surgery.
Vines is now a different pitcher than he was before he hurt his elbow. He now pitches in the 87-90 mph range with his fastball with an occasional 91. Vines now has to be a pitcher, instead of a thrower, and he's adjusted to that pretty well. He now knows his limitations as a pitcher, and the Braves have been impressed at how he works hard in studying hitters to try and be a more complete pitcher.
His stuff is no longer overpowering, but it's still pretty quality stuff. The Braves believe Vines still has a chance to make it, and they'll be patient with him in his development. This first full year back after the surgery will be important for Vines, since most believe it takes two years to fully recover.
2008 OUTLOOKVines will get a chance to make the Myrtle Beach rotation in spring training. There's no reason he can't bounce back with a full season, and nothing will be better for Vines than if he can get 130 innings or so. The Braves don't believe it's out of the question for Vines to see some time in Double-A at the end of the season if he is successful in Myrtle Beach. Vines has worked hard in his comeback, and the Braves believe he still is an interesting prospect. He's just now got to find his niche now that he's somewhat of a different pitcher. Therefore, this will be a very interesting test for Vines in his development.
ADDITIONAL STORY LINKSThe Braves Show: Vines Interview – March 2007
Click here for Vines's 2007 Player Profile
Bill Shanks is the author of Scout's Honor: The Bravest Way To Build A Winning Team, a look inside the Braves‘ traditional scouting and player development philosophies. Email Bill at firstname.lastname@example.org.