The Braves optioned right-hander Touki Toussaint to Triple-A Gwinnett, per the league transactions log at MLB.com. He’d pitched well during spring before the league shutdown. Over 8 2/3 frames, he yielded a pair of runs on two hits and three walks with eight strikeouts.
Toussaint, 23, was a consensus top 100 prospect entering the ’19 season but had a miserable year in Triple-A, where he yielded 33 earned runs in 39 2/3 innings over the life of 10 starts (7.49 ERA). Toussaint was clobbered in his lone big league start as well — seven runs in 1 1/3 innings — but he also turned in 4o 1/3 innings of respectable work out of the ’pen, including a scoreless six-inning relief appearance in April. Overall as a reliever, Toussaint notched a 4.24 ERA with better than a strikeout per inning, although the 25 free passes he issued in those 40 1/3 frames were still too high a number.
This’ll be the second of three option years for Toussaint, a former No. 16 overall pick whom the Braves effectively purchased from the D-backs by taking on the remainder of Bronson Arroyo’s contract after the right-hander underwent Tommy John surgery. With Mike Soroka, Max Fried, Mike Foltynewicz and (eventually) Cole Hamels locked into rotation spots plus several veteran additions in the bullpen since last July (Will Smith, Chris Martin, Mark Melancon, Shane Greene, Darren O’Day), Toussaint’s path back to the big leagues is a bit muddied. He’ll likely be a key piece of depth in the event of injuries, though, and if the league resumes with expanded rosters early in the season (as some have speculated), he could be a name the club considers as well.