The Wheel has spoken. Today, we look at former top prospect Touki Toussaint and his potential fit the Seattle Mariners.
It wasn’t that long ago that Touki Toussaint was a great prospect for the Atlanta Braves. Just 18 months ago, he was considered a Top 50 prospect with a chance at four-plus offerings built into an athletic 6’3″, 215 lb frame. A mid-90’s fastball backed up with a plus curveball, usable cutter, and above-average changeup gave Toussaint the size and raw stuff to be a top of the rotation arm for the Braves for years to come. But there is a tiny detail that has stopped Toussaint from even sniffing that potential: he doesn’t have control of any of those pitches.
Toussaint has a walks problem and that is kind of a big deal. In his 95 MLB innings, Toussaint has posted a 5.97 BB/9, a problem that has really plagued him at every stop along the way. With his raw stuff, Toussaint was able to mask this inefficiency in the low minors but no pitcher can survive, let alone thrive, as a big-league starter with 40-grade control and 35-grade command.
We know the Mariners mantra is “control the zone”, something that would seemingly eliminate Toussaint from Seattle’s radar. But we’ve seen time and time again that GM Jerry Dipoto is willing to take risks on special arms and Toussaint certainly falls into that camp. If the Mariners can get Toussaint to even fringe-average control, he could be a number 3 starter or a high-leverage reliever. With five-years of club control and at just 24-years-old, Toussaint is an excellent lottery ticket to buy. But it also means that Seattle will face competition for Toussaint if the Braves are even willing to trade him in the first place.
Overall, Toussaint is not an answer to the 2021 rotation, at least not as the only piece. Trading for Toussaint after signing a safer option with some upside (perhaps Kevin Gausman?) gives the Mariners an exciting player to dream on. With two options left, the Braves may decide to hang tight, and unless they desperately need his 40-man roster spot this off-season, that would probably be the smartest avenue to take.
But with Toussaint’s struggles and injury history, combined with the fantastic depth the Braves have accrued, makes the possibility of a DFA or trade a reasonable idea. Toussaint is a fun arm that you can still dream of. And while Seattle will focus on raising their floor, adding some ceiling to your organization is always a smart idea.