Acquired by the Braves, along with Bronson Arroyo (RHP, Reds), and Phil Gosselin (3B, Pirates) in June of 2015, Toussaint is a former 2014 first-rounder (#16 overall) whose arsenal has backed up from what I have seen in past views. There’s still some projection here as he is just 20 years old, but he has lost some fastball velocity from previous years’ 94-to-95 mph to a wider band of 88-to-94 mph – with most readings at a fringe-average 91 mph in this view. He looks to still be searching for the right mix of velocity and control to be effective as a starter, but the results have been poor so far this season.
His overall command and control profile continue to be a negative factor, with a well-below-average 4.0 BB/9 rate, which while trending in the right direction (4.92 in 2015, 4.82 in 2016), is still not enough to support a starter’s profile. And when he is around the zone this year, the hits-per-nine innings have bumped up to 9.6 H/9, up from roughly 7.2 H/9 for the past two seasons, which combine for an awful lot of traffic on the bases to work himself out of trouble.
So while the profile has taken some hits this year, I still see some upside with Toussaint – but as a starter it has become a high-risk profile. He does throw with a free-and-easy arm action, and works from the stretch with a long-and-quick arm action, and in a bullpen role, his stuff could play up while limiting the command/control factor in shorter stints. The fastball and its movement could play up a couple of ticks to become a plus offering with average arm-side tail and sink, and his curveball is projectable to an above-average pitch, with 11-to-5 shape and solid two-plane depth. His changeup also projects above average as well, with good feel for the pitch and late fade that is particularly effective versus left-handed hitters.
He’s got time to figure it out given his youth, so the arsenal could still project to a high-risk ceiling of a Role 50, number four-or-five starter if he can reign in the command and control profile to at least fringe-average grades, but at present I see a more realistic role as a Role 40 middle reliever, capable of handling the sixth-to-seventh innings.