The Braves made the thrilling announcement official Monday morning that Toussaint would be making his major league debut in the first game of Monday’s doubleheader against the Marlins. The 22-year-old right-hander has finally begun to put it all together in 2018. He earned the promotion to AAA Gwinnett earlier this year, recording a 2.93 ERA in 16 starts for AA Mississippi; and in just five starts with the Stripers before receiving the call, he was an even better 2-0 with a minuscule 2.01 ERA.
The appealing part about Toussaint is his upside. It is why the Braves were willing to take on the contract of Bronson Arroyo, a decision that now looks to be paying off. Unlike some of the previous youthful pitchers the Braves have called upon, Touissant’s live arm can lead a rotation, and he showcased that in his debut.
From the start, Toussaint was attacking hitters on the first pitch, something he has continued to improve upon since coming to the Braves organization. His only blemish came in the second inning when a leadoff walk followed by a single and a double led to the Marlins first run of the afternoon. However, Touki did not blink at his first bit of adversity in the major leagues. Instead, he induced a lineout and struck out two in a row to prevent any further damage. It was the first glimpse of Touissant’s impressive ability to get outs in tight situations.
He never had to sweat much after that. Only two Marlins baserunners reached the base the rest of the time he occupied the mound. His mid-90s fastball, flashy power curve and a split-change that looks to have the ability to become a quality third pitch kept the Marlins off balance all afternoon.
Meanwhile, the Braves bats went to work. Acuna hit a leadoff home-run in the first and then manufactured a run in the fifth to give the Braves a 3-1 lead. And in the sixth, the Braves exploded for five runs. Toussaint was nowhere near gassed, but with an 8-1 lead, he had done all the Braves needed, tossing six innings of two-hit, one-run ball in just eighty-two pitches.
The debut may not have come against a powerhouse ball club. The Marlins have one of the worst offenses in the majors and were not even at full strength. But Don Sutton put it best on the Braves radio network, “This is still a major league ball club and even if you have never even heard of any of these guys, they are here for a reason.”
Toussaint’s debut was a testament to just how deep the Braves’ farm system is. On a day where the Braves desperately needed a pitcher to go deep into the ballgame, following a wild battle of the bullpens that took place Sunday against Milwaukee, Touissant deserves an A+ for his performance. The Braves will be looking for arms both in the rotation and in the bullpen as this playoff race continues. Touki not only earned himself another opportunity to pitch, he could be a shot in the arm to a Braves pitching staff that could use one.