Touki’s curveball played a disappearing act for most of the season. Easily his best pitch, it just didn’t have as much life as it used to. After the 2018 season almost everybody was talking about Touki’s curveball as one of the nastiest pitches in the MLB… then all of a sudden it was average. Actually, according to Statcast, his curveball spin rate was exactly average and his fastball spin rate was below average.
MLB changing the ball
One reason why was the juiced ball. Apparently, the seams on the ball were not as raised as they used to be. This created a problem for pitchers like Touki who rely on a big breaking curve. Also, the laces used to manufacture the ball in 2018 were 9% larger than they were in 2015 and then this year they appeared smaller again. All of this toying with the ball will have a different effect on different pitchers, but it seems to have really messed with Touki as he was nowhere near as effective this season.
What does the future hold?
Scouts are still very high on Touki, his fastball is still rated 60/60 and his curveball 65/65. His future value rating is 50, which is very good and hopefully he can build on his short time in the majors the past two seasons. It’s possible that he was a victim of too much shuffling between Atlanta and Gwinnett; he threw 39.2 innings in AAA with a 7.49 ERA and 41.2 innings in the MLB with a 5.62 ERA. His BABIP in the MLB this season was .339, a noticeable jump from the .254 he put up in 2018. This means it is possible that he was just a victim of bad luck, and 2020 will be the year of Touki.
Next season Touki will be fighting for the 5th spot in the rotation. Assuming no more starting pitching is added, it will likely be between him,Kyle Wright, Bryse Wilson and Sean Newcomb. I think the Braves would prefer Newk stay in the pen, so it will likely come down to spring training performance of the other three. Touki has the talent to make it happen, but he needs to put it all together and maybe get some better luck!
Everybody loves Touki
Don’t let this Touki Toussait Player Review taint your opinion of the pitcher. It’s hard not to root for the guy. Just look back at last spring training and how he did entire interviews on how he refused to eat the butt fries at Chick-Fil-A, among other hilarious storylines. For all of our sakes, I hope the baseball either goes back to the 2018 version or Touki learns how to use it.
If you enjoyed this piece on Touki, here’s a look at another player who’s looking for a big bounce-back in 2020.
Note from Ryan
This is the last player in the 2019 Atlanta Braves Player Reviews. I want to thank all of the authors that have given their time over the offseason to put out such quality writing reviewing all of these players. As a follower, if you’re able think about becoming a Patron to help support these writers!
Thanks for reading!