ATLANTA -- Though the Braves introduced Ronald Acuna Jr. and many of their top pitching prospects to the Major League level this year, they still have an impressive farm system that was enriched this year by the progress made by both third baseman Austin Riley and right-handed pitcher Touki Toussaint.MLB
ATLANTA -- Though the Braves introduced Ronald Acuna Jr. and many of their top pitching prospects to the Major League level this year, they still have an impressive farm system that was enriched this year by the progress made by both third baseman Austin Riley and right-handed pitcher Touki Toussaint.
MLB Pipeline has named Riley the Braves' Player of the Year and Toussaint the club's Pitcher of the Year. To receive consideration, players must have spent at least half the year in the Minors and appeared on the team's Top 30 Prospects list.
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Riley ranks as baseball's 43rd-best prospect, the game's No. 3 third-base prospect and the fifth-best prospect within Atlanta's system, per MLB Pipeline. Toussaint ranks as the 40th-best overall prospect and the Braves' fourth-best prospect.
Toussaint began this season with Double-A Mississippi and ended it as part of the bullpen Atlanta used against the Dodgers in the National League Division Series. The 22-year-old right-hander still has some control issues. But the high walk rate he produced (6.5 walks per nine innings) he produced at the Major League level was about double what he constructed as he posted a 2.38 ERA over 136 1/3 innings for Mississippi and Triple-A Gwinnett this year.
Because he did not begin pitching on a regular basis until he was 15 years old, there's still seemingly plenty of potential growth for Toussaint, who produced a 4.03 ERA over seven appearances (five starts) for Atlanta this year. He allowed one run over six innings when he made his Major League debut against the Marlins on Aug. 13. The Braves brought him back to the Majors a month later and allowed him to serve as their sixth starter throughout September.
Riley also started this season for Mississippi and might have reached the Majors had he not missed nearly all of June with a sprained right knee. The big third baseman combined to hit .294 with 19 homers and an .882 OPS with Mississippi and Gwinnett.
Even though Johan Camargo enjoyed a successful season for Atlanta, there's still a chance Riley proves to be the club's third baseman of the future. The 21-year-old slugger has legitimate power potential, but there are concerns about the .297 strikeout percentage he had this year.
Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.