Touki Toussaint and Dillon Tate – Former top 100 prospects re-establishing their dominance in 2017

Touki Toussaint and Dillon Tate have a lot in common.  Both SP were taken in the first round, Toussaint the 16th overall pick by Arizona in 2014 and Tate, the 4th overall pick by Texas in 2015.  Both were traded in their second professional seasons and both were one time Baseball America Top 100 prospects.  Toussaint made the list twice coming in at #71 in 2014 and #90 in 2015 while Tate clocked in at #69 in 2015.  Both have also seen their stock plummet .  Tate was ranked the 36th prospect in baseball by MLB.com and had fallen completely off the list by the time 2017 rolled around.  While both the Braves and Yankees boast 2 of the deeper systems in the game, both Tate and Toussaint are ranked 15th overall in MLB.com’s Mid Season Top 30.  If you’re into fantasy baseball like myself and are into dynasty leagues, now is the time to try to get these guys.  They wont fly under the radar for much longer.

First, we will look at Tate, whom the Yankees acquired last season from Texas for Carlos Beltran.  Tate struggled mightily with the Rangers and appeared to have clashed heads with their instructors.  Reports surfaced that questioned Tate’s work ethic, his ability to start, his stubbornness, and lack of secondary pitches.  Tate also suffered a hamstring injury last season that threw his mechanics out of whack.  He saw his velo drop from 96-97 to low 90’s/upper 80’s and his slider flattened out, becoming ineffective.  If Texas viewed Tate as a bust after 22 professional starts, it’s easy to see why they shipped him off to NY for a 2 month rental in Beltran.

By all accounts, the Yankees have not tried to tinker with Tate’s mechanics or approach and instead allowed him to be himself,  reinforcing his natural talents that made him the 4th overall pick.  The results have been superb.  Tate regained his fastball and slider in the Arizona Fall League and after a stint on the DL to start 2017, dominated the Florida State League.  Tate made 9 starts for the Tampa Yankees, going 6-0 with a 2.62 ERA and 1.08 WHIP in 58.1 IP.  He allowed a .221 average against.  While his K/9 are down from last year, 7.10 in 17 compared to 7.62 before the trade, his BB/9 are also down while K/BB has improved.  Moreover, Tate is inducing ground balls at a 60.5% rate compared to 43.7% rate at Texas’ A affiliate in Hickory.  His GB/FB ratio has also improved to 2.1 from 1.36.  In short, Tate has regained his velo and his slider and is able to attack the zone.  He was recently promoted to AA Trenton and is expected to debut tomorrow.  If he continues to keep the ball down and optimize throw his FB and slider for strikes, he has the potential to be the best SP in the Yankees’ system by season’s end.

Toussaint on the other hand, is still flying well below the radar, despite also being promoted from High A Florida to AA Mississippi.  A glance at his overall 2017 numbers and one may wonder how he could possibly be considered a serious candidate to crack anybody’s top 100 much less standout in a LOADED Braves farm system.  Toussaint, acquired from Arizona with Bronson Arroyo’s salary dump for Phil Gosselin and cash in 2015, has a big arm and a plus curveball.  Scouts grade his FB 60/60, curve 60/70, with a 45/55 change.  He has the size and tools to be a top of the rotation starter.  However, Toussaint has been plagued by wildness stemming from his inability to repeat his mechanics.  In 2016, Toussaint posted 4.83 BB/9 and 8.71 K/9.  The K rate is respectable but considering his repertoire, one could say that it was a sub par posting and not indicative of his talent.  2017 did not start off better.  Through Toussaint’s first 79.1 IP at Florida, he walked 36.  While his strikeouts were up (87), constantly having guys on base saw his ERA balloon to 5.92.

When I saw Toussaint on June 19, he threw 5 IP, walked 5, K’d 5, and allowed 7 hits.  He was falling off the side of the mound during his delivery and was hit hard.  However, the Braves patience and Touki’s hard work has finally started to pay off.  He has hammered out his mechanical issues which has allowed him to throw strikes.  Since July 5, Toussaint has thrown 37 IP with 9 walks and 49K while posting a 2.43 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP.

Both Tate and Toussaint have the stuff to be top to mid rotation guys at the big league level.  If both can finish off 2017 strong in AA, and I think they will, they should not only reclaim their Top 100 prospect statuses but position themselves to be late 2018 call ups to the bigs.

 

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