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Q: From an evaluation standpoint, when an organization is limiting a pitcher, to say, using his fastball and changeup (the night you’re at the stadium), does your evaluation method change at all, knowing the pitcher couldn’t use his whole pitch set? – Andrew E.

A: You can only scout what you see, and that’s the bottom line. Assuming you know a player is being restricted by the organization, you simply note this in your evaluation, commenting that he has a curveball, slider, or whatever, but it was not utilized during the start you witnessed.

Beyond that, the evaluation process is much the same as normal. You’re going to focus on and write-up exactly what you see with the fastball, changeup, mechanical profile, control/command, maturity, ability to hold runners and work from the stretch, and any other nuances you might notice. There’s just no way to reliably evaluate or compensate for something that you aren’t able to see, even if you know it is the result of a mandatory restriction. The notes in the evaluation can discuss the absence of the third offering (in your example), and you may be able to suggest how the projection may differ if that was added to the arsenal, but such speculation shouldn’t carry much weight.

Q: Tell me some good things about Touki Toussaint. Then tell me some bad things. Then tell me some more hopeful good things but with a note of caution. Then tell me the best thing. – Mike D.

A: Toussaint is a fascinating prospect, for a variety of reasons. In honor of your requested format, Mike, I offer the following:

Offering a fastball that reaches 98 mph when things are working properly, Toussaint compliments that velocity with extreme life on the pitch. That explosiveness exists in both in the upper and lower velocity bands, making his fastball a truly premium pitch that consistently earns 70 grades from scouts. On top of that, Toussaint’s curveball is a beast; featuring exceptionally tight rotation and hard 12-6 break, giving him two knockout pitches to headline his arsenal.

On the other hand, Toussaint frequently has no clue where the ball is going once it leaves his hand. He’ll have bouts where he misses the zone entirely for long stretches, and others where he is merely extremely loose in the strike zone. Statistically speaking, Toussaint has dropped his walk rate by over one per nine innings, but that still means he’s handing out nearly five free passes per game. In addition, Toussaint’s changeup remains decidedly below-average and will require considerable work to become consistently useable.

As an excellent athlete, it’s easy to envision a scenario where Toussaint gains consistency and makes the necessary adjustments to throw not only more strikes, but more quality strikes near the edges of the strike zone. That said, as an evaluator, you’d like to believe some of that progress would be seen at this point. I’m still optimistic, but one must remain realistic about just how much progress he can make in his area.

The best thing about Touki Toussaint? Well, I would have to say that is his overall potential. With a potential plus-plus heater with both velocity and life, a plus (or better) curveball, excellent athleticism, and some potential for an average changeup, Toussaint gives the Braves a potential frontline starter in the low minor leagues.

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