Atlanta Braves Prospect Focus: Touki Toussaint

Top 100 prospect lists are both a blessing and a curse. On one hand, they offer a solid look at the best of the best that are out there. On the other hand, fans who only pay attention to the most recent top 100 lists are much more likely to overlook players who sit just on the outside. In particular, players who were previously ranked in top 100 lists who have fallen off the list are often cast aside as has-beens, even though they still possess top 100-level talent.

These players, often labeled as post-hype sleepers, are guys who still have elite level talent but are rarely valued properly, particularly in dynasty fantasy baseball settings. Often times they have one fatal flaw that many, including the list-makers, feel they cannot overcome. If they are able to break through they can provide tons of value for savvy dynasty owners who snatch them up.

One arm to pay attention to is Atlanta Braves right-hander Touki Toussaint. Toussaint hasn’t been on a top 100 list since 2016. However, he is posting some excellent numbers, the kind you’d expect to see from someone ranked in the top 40.

Toussaint was named a Southern League All-Star this season after a dominant first half with the Double-A Mississippi Braves. He is sporting a 3.19 ERA and a 1.23 WHIP in 79 innings pitched. He also has an electric 96/33 K/BB ratio.

The big change that Toussaint really needed to make was with his control. He crept onto the Baseball America Top 100 in 2015/2016 (and’s Top 100 in 2015) thanks to an electric fastball and devastating curveball, which is now considered one of the best in the Braves‘ system. However, he fell out of favor after posting some abhorrent walk numbers.

So far in 2018, Toussaint has lowered his walk rate to 3.8 BB/9. While that’s still higher than average, it’s a big step in the right direction for the 22-year-old. He’s also striking hitters out at a rate of 10.9 K/9, which is the highest mark of his career. Toussaint likely fell out of favor after a 6.10 BB/9 led to a 5.73 ERA in 2015 with Atlanta’s Single-A team. Since then he has seen his walk numbers steadily decline while his strikeout numbers have improved. He posted a 5.04 ERA at High-A Florida in 2017, but had a much more palatable 3.39 FIP. His breakout truly started when he was promoted to Double-A last season and made seven starts, posting a 9.98 K/9 and a 3.18 ERA.

This video is from last season, but it shows just how nasty Toussaint’s hammer curveball can be.

It’s worth noting that Toussaint didn’t pick up pitching until later on than most, so he is developmentally still behind many of his peers. The Braves had been hoping that the righthander would take the next step in his development this year, and the results (so far) seem to indicate that he has done so.

His numbers this year should no doubt place him among the ten best in Atlanta’s system, and I would be surprised to see him left off any more top 100 lists going forward. Many scouts feel he has the upside of a No. 2 starter, especially now that his changeup has developed into a plus offering as well.

In dynasty formats where he isn’t owned or was dropped, I’d be snatching him up. His electric stuff and the fact that he has a solid three-pitch mix should help him land a job in a big league rotation, and his strikeout numbers will make him a valuable fantasy asset.
Featured image of Touki Toussaint – via Bryan Green on Flickr

Andy Patton covers the Milwaukee Brewers minor league system for Prospects1500. He is on his third fantasy baseball writing gig, also writing for Pitcher List and RotoBaller. He also covers the Detroit Tigers at FanSided's Motor City Bengals and dabbles with the gridiron, writing about the Seahawks for USA TODAY.

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