Touki Toussaint was a prospect several people expected to take a leap in 2019 after a productive 2018 that ended in him making the playoff roster. He began this season in AAA Gwinnett but quickly worked his way back to the majors in a relief role. For a while, Toussaint looked well on his way to becoming a valuable contributor, leading to a 4-0 record out of the pen, but he eventually became too inconsistent to keep on the roster and wound up back with the Stripers, where his struggles have not faded.
Toussaint only made eight appearances in Gwinnett before being promoted to Atlanta in 2018. He went 5-0 with a 1.43 ERA and 56 strikeouts in 50.1 innings. Its no wonder why people thought he could be the Braves next great pitching prospect, but AAA has brought a new slew of issues for him this year. After allowing seven earned runs in 1.1 innings yesterday, the 23-year-old has made nine starts for the Stripers, sports an ERA approaching eight, with a WHIP of over two, and opponents are hitting .327 against him. Some of that might be some unfortunate luck, but his walk numbers aren’t helping either, which has been the most notable flaw in his stints with the Braves.
It’s always tricky to gauge when a prospect is going to find it at the major league level. It usually takes pitchers a few years for them to develop any consistency, which is why a guy like Mike Soroka is so unique. Perhaps the way the Braves have utilized him has temporarily halted his development. Toussaint has been a starter his entire minor league career, but there was always the belief that he could potentially become an elite option in the late innings of relief. Instead, of making him one or the other, the Braves turned him into an awkward long-relief man when in Atlanta. Perhaps, his plus-fastball and curveball are best suited in a one-inning role, or maybe he should be a full-time starter. Either way, the Braves need to stick with one and see how he progresses. 2020 is going to be a pivotal year for the hard-throwing right-hander.