On Friday, the Braves optioned right-handed pitcher Touki Toussaint to AAA Gwinnett.
The Braves optioned Touki Toussaint to AAA. I get that that was going to happen but I'm fascinated about why that happened today. Like, why not yesterday? Or tomorrow? Or next Wednesday?
— Craig Calcaterra (@craigcalcaterra) March 20, 2020
Touki was mightily impressive this Spring Training, emerging as an outside looking in bullpen candidate. He only appeared in three outings, but struck out 8 batters in 8.2 innings, allowing just two earned runs, and most importantly, looking sharp in the process.
Toussaint has as much raw talent as anyone in the organization and boats a tremendous fastball-curveball combination. However, he has had mixed results in the minors as well as the majors. He had up and down numbers in the minors after being a first-round pick by the Arizona Diamondbacks, but the Braves acquired him via trade and in 2018, it seemed it had nothing left to prove in the minors. He made his major league debut and looked terrific in a handful of appearances.
Toussaint won a bullpen spot for 2019, but unfortunately, he was not effective, resulting in being optioned to the minors. He has continued to show his great raw stuff but has had trouble keeping the ball over the plate at times. There is no coincidence that in 2018, he had his career best season in the minors, he had the best BB/9 rate of his career at 3.4. Last year in Gwinnett, it was inflated to 6.4 K/9. Yikes.
Let’s not forget however, that Toussaint is still just 23-years old with great upside, he just needs more seasoning. He will get that opportunity once again in the minors in 2020, and hopefully, he can put things together and contribute to the big league club again before long.