Player: Touki Toussaint
Drafted by: Arizona Diamondbacks
DOB: 06/20/1996 (Age: 17)
Height/Weight: 6’2”, 195 pounds
One of the more well known prep players in this year’s class, Touki Toussaint emerged as a can’t-miss draft prospect in October 2012, when the right-hander opened eyes by striking out 18 batters in six innings while hitting 97 mph during the Perfect Game USA WWBA World Championship.
After winning a district championship in 2013 as a junior, Toussaint, who’s of Haitian descent, guided Coral Spring Christian Academy (Fla.) to regional title this spring with an 8-2 record, 1.22 ERA and 104 strikeouts in 63.1 innings. He also contributed at the plate, batting .340 with 12 extra-base hits and 26 RBI in 31 games.
While Toussaint, who doesn’t turn 18 until the end of June, is committed to Vanderbilt next season—a program known for landing many of its pitching recruits—so the team that ultimately drafts him will do so early and offer enough money to sway his decision.
Full Scouting Report
Note: Numerical scores are on the conventional 20-80 scouting scale, with the current score first and projected score second.
Toussaint has some strength and maturity to his 6’2”, 195-pound frame but still has room for physical projections; right-hander’s delivery is fluid and athletic and requires very little effort; no glaring red flags in mechanics; arm is ridiculously loose and fast from a high three-quarters slot; overall athleticism suggests he’ll learn to repeat his mechanics and make swifter in-game adjustments as he gains professional experience.
Fastball velocity has been down slightly this spring, sitting mostly in the 91-93 mph range; has shown ability in the past to work comfortably at 93-96 and regularly bump 97; velocity tends to play up thanks to the late life on the pitch, as his elite arm speed and extension toward the plate cause it to jump out of his hand; the explosive nature of the pitch should help him continue to generate a favorable whiff rate as a professional.
Toussaint’s curveball is currently an average offering but flashes legitimate plus-plus potential; possesses arguably the best true curve in the draft class, as he throws it with power at 79-82 mph with outstanding pace and late, wipeout biting action; projects as a true swing-and-miss out pitch in the professional ranks; his combination of big hands and arm speed allows him to impart tight spin, helping him create more consistent downer bite but also causing him to spike the pitch in the dirt fairly often.
Changeup is nascent in development and lags well behind fastball/curveball; throws it too firmly in the mid-80s, and it lacks significant movement; struggles to contain his athleticism and arm speed when throwing the pitch; he’s shown a better feel for the offering as the spring has unfolded, but it will play a major role in his overall development.
Toussaint’s inability to repeat his delivery and release point translates to control that’s slightly below average; raw thrower who at times relies on pure arm strength; he struggles to consistently pound the zone with strikes, though that could be a product of his inexperience and trouble in harnessing his pure stuff.
Whether or not the right-hander reaches his ceiling as a No. 2 starter will depend on his command; there’s currently a sizable gap between his present ability and future potential; combination of athleticism and stuff suggests he’ll find the zone and actually locate his pitches more often moving forward; has the potential to move up the ladder quickly should his command develop faster than expected.
MLB Player Comparison: Neftali Feliz
Toussaint is best compared to the Rangers' Neftali Feliz, as both right-handers boast two plus pitches (fastball/breaking ball) with a fringy third offering. Equally as important is the fact they both struggle to harness the athleticism and arm speed in their respective deliveries, which usually translates to poor command against professional hitters.
Projection: No. 2 starter
Major Leagues ETA: Late 2016
Chances of Signing: 90 percent
Toussaint possesses one of the highest ceilings in the class among his pitching peers, as there’s obviously a lot to like in his two present plus pitches and chance for a third down the road. The athleticism and arm strength will make him too intriguing to pass over come a certain point in the first round, and, surprisingly, he’s also a rarity in the sense that he’s Vanderbilt commit who seems more likely to sign as a first-rounder than pursue a college career.