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Prominent showrunners can help Touki Toussaint of the Cleveland Guardians

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The Cleveland Guardians are known for their outstanding organizational education.

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In an interesting move, the Guardians signed right fielder Touki Toussaint to a minor league contract. Toussaint was invited to spring training.

If any club can help Toussaint rejuvenate his career, it’s Cleveland.

Now, 26, Toussaint is the kind of player who might thrive under the Cleveland Guardians’ highly regarded pitching development program.

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Who is Toki Toussaint?

The Cleveland organization has long given pitchers it deems undervalued an opportunity to pitch for a minor league contract. Many are invited to spring training to see if they can retire hitters in the major leagues. Many, if not most, are looking to revive a faltering career.

Throughout their organization, the Cleveland pitching coaches are terrific. They have a history of improving their pitching mechanics and developing some of the best pitchers in baseball.

Danny Gilbert Kitty “Touki” Toussaint was born and raised in Pembroke Pines, Florida. He is of Haitian and Kenyan descent.

The Toussaint family moved to Haiti when Toki was three months old. He and his mother moved back to Florida when Toki was six years old.

Weighing in at 6-3, 215 pounds, Toussaint has long been known as a strong-arm, strong-arm pitcher.

Touki Toussaint was the Arizona Diamondbacks’ first-round pick in the 2014 draft.

Selected from Coral Springs Christian Academy in Florida with the 16th overall pick, Toussaint was awarded a $2.7 million signing bonus by Arizona. That was $361,800 over the recommended MLB amount for that slot.

In 2014, at the age of 18, Toussaint played for the Diamondbacks rookie teams. He threw 28.2 innings.

The following year, Toussaint started the season with the Diamondbacks Class-A team, but was traded to the Atlanta Braves on June 20, 2015. On his birthday, the Diamondbacks traded Toussaint and pitcher Bronson Arroyo to the Braves for player Phil Gosselin.

In July 2022, the Los Angeles Angels purchased Toussaint from the Braves.

The Guardians signed Toussaint to his current minor league contract on January 4, 2023.

By now, Toussaint had not realized the pitching potential that most scouts and analysts expected when Toussaint was drafted.

However, Toussaint may now be able to revive his career with the help of the Guardians’ stellar organizational staff.

Toussaint made his major league debut with the Braves on August 13, 2018. After turning 24, Toussaint had six home runs against the Miami Marlins. He only hit two hits and had one hit. He’s got the win.

Since his debut, Toussaint has thrown in 57 major league games, including 23 as a starter. He pitched a major league 170.1 runs batted in.

There is a lot of “life” in Toussaint’s right arm.

When he was still a rookie, Toussaint showed great promise. He had one of the best and most respected weapons in his recruiting class.

At the time he was traded to the Braves, Toussaint relied heavily on his mid-90s fastball, highly regarded curveball, as the most polished outfielder in his collection.

In 2022, brooksbaseball.net lists Toussaint’s four-seam fastball at 93.57 miles per hour. That was just a sign of the pace of the fastball in 2018.

Toussaint also throws a sinking two-seam fastball at 92.54 miles per hour, along with a curveball and breaker.

Also according to Brooksbaseball, net Toussaint uses his four-pitch fastball 25.6%, his dunk 35.2%, and his bendball 24% of the time. His split is the least used of his repertoire, using it at just 15.2% last season.

That scout’s first rating for Toussaint came in the 2017 Arizona Fall League, when he played for Peoria as part of the Braves.

At the time, Toussaint looked like an inexperienced “pitcher” rather than a pitcher. One could see the talent and the “electric” arm, but at the time, Toussaint simply hadn’t mastered anything close to good throwing mechanics. He had poor leadership and poor control.

Toussaint struck out 14 batters in that time, but in his 8.2 innings pitched, he also walked seven times.

He only worked in relief. This was not the role this scout expected. He looked like he should develop as a starting pitcher, not as a reliever.

That fall, the report this scout wrote regarding Toussaint said, “A wonderful arm with the upside as a swing-and-miss type starter. He has to command the fastball and learn to pitch, not pitch. Wicked bowling can be the ‘out’ pitch of voice, once he finds Command and control. Must find third pitch. Able to lose at bats and collect hits. But working on his delivery is top priority. Electric arm.”

Fast forward to 2022, and Toussaint hasn’t really found consistent command and control. The same brutality issues that this scout saw so prominently in 2017 have followed Touki in his career.

In fact, he has walked an average of 5.5 batters per nine innings pitched in his 170.1 career innings pitched. He struck out 9.6 batters per nine.

Toussaint appeared in 57 major league games, only 23 of which he started.

Tucson’s future:

The Cleveland Guardians could reap a huge reward if they can harness Toussaint’s talent, and hone his delivery enough to help him improve his driving and control. The danger the guards faced with Toussaint was minimal.

The Guards are still only 26 years old, and they’ll be able to work with a pitcher who has less wear and tear on his arm and body than most professional pitchers his age.

For this scout, Toussaint still has enough potential left to be a worthy addition to the Cleveland Guardians’ organizational pitching squad. He could help a big league club at some point.

Over the years, due to their success, Cleveland has lost some of the best and brightest organizational pitching coaches to other MLB organizations.

Cleveland’s stable of coaches is so well regarded at every level it is not uncommon for a team to replace important coaches annually. However, they do have a knack for finding quality alternatives.

For this scout, it’s the prominence of the Guardians’ pitching program, combined with the pure talent and arm of Touki Toussaint, that has made this scout optimistic about Toussaint’s potential for prosperity in the future. His future could be bright.

No MLB team has enough pitching depth. Teams are always looking for promotion. Then more promotion.

As it should be, the Cleveland Guardians place a high priority on developing their shooters.

Touki Toussaint, once a promising right fielder with a big arm, could get a great opportunity to revive a modest career with an invitation to spring training from the Cleveland Guardians.

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