The athletic righthander is off to an outstanding 2018, working out of the Mississippi rotation in the Southern League. Questions of Toussaint’s ultimate role—rotation or bullpen—have persisted since he turned pro, young for his class as a 17-year-old in the 2014 MLB Draft. After seeing him work seven innings strong as a starter (6/14/18), I got a viewing of Toussaint’s stuff out of the pen at the Southern League All-Star Game.
Toussaint’s fastball was electric from the pen. He sat 96-to-97 mph with above-average riding life up in the zone. When working out the rotation and sitting 91-93, the pitch has similar life, but it doesn’t miss bats in the same way it can when he airs it out from the bullpen. The fastball shows better overall movement from the bullpen as well, getting improved two-plane sink and armside run than the flatter low-90s pitch he shows starting games. His 76-to-78 mph curveball is plus, and flashed 70s at best playing off the improved fastball in the bullpen stint, with 12-to-6 action and sharp bite. Toussaint’s changeup wasn’t a part of his arsenal from the ‘pen, but it’s a playable pitch that projects average when he uses a full three-pitch mix as a starter.
The Braves are in an enviable spot with Touki, who is just another high-ceiling pitching prospect to add to the team’s impressive stable. There’s enough here for a #4 (FV 55) starting pitcher, one with ample Ks but his share of walks and homers because of iffy command, control, and pitch efficiency. If he falls to the ‘pen, it’s closer or multi-inning leverage relief potential. The quality of his fastball/curveball mix is such that there’s a high floor. The ingredients are here for Toussaint to be an impact big leaguer in some capacity.