Vieira, one of just five Brazilian-born pitchers in MLB history, appeared in parts of three MLB campaigns with the Mariners (2017) and White Sox (2018-19) before signing with the Yomiuri Giants of Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball for the 2020 season. The flamethrowing righty at one point ranked within the top 20 prospect in both Seattle’s and Chicago’s systems, due in no small part to a power fastball that averaged 97 mph during those three big league seasons and can at times crack triple digits.
As is so often the case for flamethrowing young prospects, however, command has been an issue for Vieira. The right-hander has walked just over 11% of his opponents both in Triple-A and the Majors, and he’s also been susceptible to plunking batters with errant pitches. He’s tossed just 25 2/3 innings at the MLB level but has hit three batters and snapped six wild pitches in that brief time. Overall, Vieira logged a 7.36 ERA in those 25 2/3 innings.
Vieira has fared much better in parts of three seasons in Japan. While his walk issues actually worsened in his debut campaign with the Giants, he’s since pared them back. Vieira notched a 2.93 ERA and saved 19 games in 2021, and while injury limited his time on the field in 2022, he was outstanding when healthy. In 20 innings with the Giants this past season, he posted a pristine 0.90 ERA with a 37.3% strikeout rate and 9.3% walk rate. All told, Vieira leaves Japan with a 3.61 ERA, a 26.2% strikeout rate and a 13.2% walk rate.
Vieira is a clear project for the Brewers’ development staff, but he’s an intriguing one who’s armed with a blistering heater who won’t turn 30 years old until July. The Brewers surely aren’t banking on anything from him right now, but he’ll get the opportunity to compete for a bullpen role this spring. If he doesn’t make the club, he can work on honing his command in Triple-A Nashville while awaiting an MLB opportunity in Milwaukee.