Well hello there Bluebird Banter readers, it's new writer 'Scott C.' here with another draft preview. You may think the role I fill and the bad jokes I tell are similar to a former writer around here named Jays182, but let me assure you the disappearance of that guy and the appearance of myself are purely coincidental and not an effort to eliminate a very generic handle from the writing staff. Today, Florida high schooler Touki Toussaint is under the microscope as almost everyone with knowledge of the draft seems to think he's the prototypical Blue Jays draftee and I would have to agree with them. Having both the #9 and #11 picks in the first round allows the Blue Jays to take a little bit of risk with a high-ceiling teenager like Toussaint.
Touki Toussaint is a Haitian-American who spent his childhood split between Florida and Haiti before finally taking up baseball when he was 11-years-old. He currently attends Coral Springs Christian Academy in Coral Springs Florida, which is right there:
Funnily enough, I just realized I was about 15 minutes away from this school only two weeks ago, which is probably close enough to be at risk of being hit by one of Toussaint's occasional wild fastballs. The right-hander measures in at 6'2" and just under 200 lbs, so he's pretty slender and athletic. As I joked, Toussaint hasn't got the whole control thing down yet (if he did, he'd probably never make it to the Blue Jays at #9):
The right-hander was more carnival act than pitcher before this spring, throwing in the mid-90s but never knowing where the ball was headed; this year, however, he's cleaned up his arm stroke and is throwing strikes with a better curveball and even showing a feel for a change.Keith Law
As mentioned, the Haitian features a nasty fastball, a curveball, and a developing changeup. The heater sits low-90's with movement, although where it's going is anybody's guess. You can see the nice fastball in the video below, but you can also see the issues with it at 1:28 where Toussaint goes head hunting:
The curveball is the pitch with the most upside and will likely make or break how far Toussaint goes in pro ball. Sitting somewhere between high-70's and mid-80's, it's described as having "video game break" and is considered a "future 70 pitch". The curveball can be seen in slow motion at 1:27 of this video:
If you aren't convinced at the curveball yet, then this should do it:
Woodman663 has already described Toussaint's mechanics in detail so we don't need to beat a dead horse, but it's definitely not the cleanest delivery in the world. His release point can vary depending on how hard he pushes off and rotates with his explosive "up, down, and out" delivery, but the Blue Jays should be able to fix that up a little bit.
Touki Toussaint certainly won't move quickly through the system, but his stuff is good enough to dominate at the lower levels of pro ball and an improvement in command could make the Haitian-American one of the best prep pitcher of the 2014 draft. If the Blue Jays want to take risks with their two early picks in the first round, then Toussaint certainly fits the bill. I've decided to leave the bad news until the end, but Touki Toussaint is committed to Vanderbilt. Although this has caused some problems for the Blue Jays in years past, it doesn't sound like there are too many signability concerns with Toussaint. If the Blue Jays do draft Jeff Hoffman as well, they will likely be able to sign the East Carolina RHP below slot, opening up additional room for the Florida high schooler if necessary.