Touki Toussaint has had his first taste of the Majors. It’s clear by his Minor League performances he plans on enjoying even more time in The Show.
Atlanta’s No. 7 prospect continued his dominating run on the mound, allowing three hits and a walk while fanning eight over seven innings as Triple-A Gwinnett blanked Durham, 5-0, on Thursday night at Durham Bulls Athletic Park.
Video: Gwinnett’s Toussaint notches eighth strikeout
Toussaint (4-0) sports a 1.62 ERA in seven starts since his promotion to the International League, which was interrupted by his big league debut in the first game of doubleheader on Aug. 13. The 22-year-old has surrendered one run and struck out 17 in 13 innings over two starts since his return to the Minors.
Taking the mound in the bottom of the first inning staked to a 1-0 lead, Toussaint surrendered singles to Andrew Velazquez and Brandon Snyder in the opening frame. MLB.com’s No. 75 overall prospect did not yield another hit until the seventh.
Beginning with the final out of the first, Toussaint retired 14 consecutive batters — striking out five of seven between the second and fourth innings — until Kean Wong earned the only walk off the right-hander with one out in the sixth. He set down the last two batters in the frame and the first two in the seventh before Rob Refsnyder singled up the middle. Toussaint ended his 94-pitch outing by retiring 18th-ranked Rays prospect Joe McCarthy on a flyout to center field.
Gameday box score
Adam McCreery struck out three over two perfect frames to help Toussaint extend his unbeaten streak to 11 starts dating back to June 4 with Double-A Mississippi.
It’s been quite a run for the Florida native, who hasn’t allowed more than one run in 14 of his 23 Minor League starts this season. Toussaint started the year by giving up nine earned runs through 12 1/3 innings in his first three starts with Mississippi. The 2014 first-round pick has since posted a 2.06 ERA in 20 starts while striking out 136 in 118 frames.
Overall, Toussaint stands 8-6 with a 2.49 ERA and 156 punchouts in 130 1/3 innings.
“Honestly, I stopped thinking about mechanics,” he told MiLB.com in July. “I started thinking about playing a catch. It’s a game. Honestly, that’s what pitching is. You’re just playing catch at an accelerated pace. That was the biggest adjustment I made.
“My catch play wasn’t always great. I started taking that seriously every day, and in the offseason, I started seeing results. Getting on my back leg and playing catch. I used to stand up, flip the ball and get my arm going. But I started getting on my back leg, playing catch and I started seeing results in my bullpens more. Everything else has worked off that.”
Those numbers don’t include his Major League debut, when he allowed a run on two hits in six innings to pick up a win against the Marlins. Toussaint is one of four ranked prospects in the Braves system who have made their first big league starts this season. Top prospect Mike Soroka, No. 8 Kolby Allard and No. 13 Bryse Wilson have all taken turns with the parent club.
Braves No. 4 prospect Austin Riley homered for the third time in five games and finished with two hits and two runs scored. Rio Ruiz cracked a three-run homer to extend Gwinnett’s lead in the fourth.
Durham’s Ryan Weber (8-6) allowed five runs on six hits while striking out two in five innings.
Michael Avallone is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @MavalloneMiLB.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.