It was about 5:30 pm (Arizona time) on June 5, 2014, when Commissioner Bud Selig announced that “with the 16thpick of the 2014 first year player draft, the Arizona Diamondbacks select Touki Toussaint, pitcher, Coral Springs Christian Academy, Coral Springs, Florida.” And so went the first Diamondback selection among the 74 players picked during the first day of the MLB Draft. All of the experts immediately agreed that this was a great selection by the D-Backs.
So let me introduce you to Touki. His real first name is Dany, and while he was born in Florida, he spent most of the first six years of his life in Haiti. His childhood passion was soccer and he has said that he did not pick up a baseball until he was about 11 years. What makes the story even more remarkable is that he has not yet even turned 18 (his 18th birthday is on June 20), yet he has risen to this level of pitching potential in such a short period of time.
Touki is capable of throwing a fastball in the range of 93-96 miles per hour, and was clocked as high a 98 mph in a game. Not bad for a high schooler, right? Yet when he was being analyzed by the experts on the MLB Network, they concurred that while his fastball is filthy, it is not even his best pitch. Rather, he has a curveball that they think might be even better. I watched some footage and from what I saw, he is fearless on the mound. Once he can master throwing both his fastball and curve ball from an identical release point, the knees of many right-handed hitters will buckle when they think they see a fastball coming at them and his curve ball then breaks over the plate.
Size is also a major plus. Touki is already 6’2” tall, and he reportedly weighs in at around 195 pounds. Just imagine what he will look like once his physical development is complete. As for comparisons, I heard the experts say something that I haven’t heard over the course of multiple generations. Touki reminded them of Hall of Famer Bob Gibson, one of the three greatest pitchers I have ever seen in my life. When I watched video on Touki, I saw what they meant. He has such a fluid delivery that his fastball appears to be effortless. That will add a great deal of perceived “pop” when that velocity comes from that motion.
Touki has committed to play baseball at Vanderbilt starting next year. I hope that he foregoes the amateur route and dons a D-Back uniform. We have had reason to be excited about many of the D-Backs first round picks over the years, the most recent being Archie Bradley. I can tell you that we again have reason to get excited. Touki is the real deal and, in my opinion, we all will one day know his name.