It was one of those under the radar transactions at the beginning of a Braves rebuild that brought in Touki Toussaint from Arizona. He was attached as a thank you for taking on Bronson Arroyo‘s contract back in 2015. At the time, the goal was attaining as many talented young arms as possible in hopes a few of them would hit. Sure, Touissant was a bit of a project, but there was not a whole lot of risk involved and the reward, well, we are starting to see that pay off three years later.
The 22-year old right-hander out of Pembroke Pines, Florida began the year in AA Mississippi. Midway through the season, he received the promotion to Gwinnett. A little over a month after that, the mound was his at SunTrust Park. Touissant tossed six innings of one-run ball earning a win in his major league debut. The Braves have handed him the ball three times since, and he has yet to allow more than three earned runs in any start.
He’s also yet to reach six innings in an outing, but a lot of that has to do with managerial restrictions placed on him to ease his way into the big leagues.
What might be even more impressive than his early success in the majors is his dominance in AAA. Prior to being promoted to the full-time roster in September, Touissant started 8 games with the Stripers, going 5-0 with a 1.43 ERA and 56 strikeouts over 50.1 innings. The strikeout-maestro also recorded 106 Ks over 86 innings in his first 16 starts of the year with Mississippi. Those performances led to him being named the 2018 Minor League Pitcher of the Year for the organization.
Touki Toussaint was the ONLY minor-league pitcher this season to reach Triple-A with 160+ strikeouts and an ERA under 3.00. pic.twitter.com/kAN5Cm8X1E
— FOX Sports: Braves (@FOXSportsBraves) September 18, 2018
Looking at the numbers, the recognition is obviously well-deserved. However, when you consider all the other talented pitching prospects competing for this award, you get a grasp of how high his ceiling really is.
There is a strong possibility Touissant is pitching at the top of the Braves rotation for several years to come, only adding to the list of robberies the Braves have committed on the Diamondbacks. Remember when they traded Dansby Swanson and Ender Inciarte for Shelby Miller? This move has the opportunity to be mentioned alongside that one, as it will be talked about for a while how Atlanta swindled Arizona out of Touki Touissant for around $10 million.