LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- As part of MLBPipeline.com's visit to all 30 Spring Training facilities this month, we will be sitting down with prospects and getting to know them a little better. At Braves camp, it was No. 6 prospect Touki Toussaint. Toussaint was a first-round pick of the
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- As part of MLBPipeline.com's visit to all 30 Spring Training facilities this month, we will be sitting down with prospects and getting to know them a little better. At Braves camp, it was No. 6 prospect Touki Toussaint.
Toussaint was a first-round pick of the Arizona Diamondbacks, taken No. 16 overall in the 2014 Draft. He was dealt to the Braves a year after being drafted
MLBPipeline.com: Last year was a whirlwind for you, with the trade. Was there a point at the end of the year where you were able to catch your breath?
Toussaint: You get traded, you don't really expect it. It kind of shocked me. I took the offseason and thought, 'I'm grateful.' I can't complain. I still get to do what I love every day. I got that break and am able to look ahead.
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MLBPipeline.com: The D-backs took your curve away from you. Did they think you were relying on it too much and how did that impact you as a pitcher?
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Toussaint: I think they wanted me to develop my changeup more and get it more consistent. I guess they thought I'd always have my curveball. I feel like it helped me develop. I love throwing my changeup now. Before, I didn't really like throwing it. It definitely is looking at the bigger picture. Coming from high school, you're fastball-fastball-curveball every pitch. Now I have a three-pitch repertoire that I can use and feel comfortable with. And now, the Braves are preaching commanding the fastball. If you command the fastball, everything else will work off that. It's been helpful.
MLBPipeline.com: There's so much pitching talent in this organization. How much fun is it to look around and be able to pick things up from all these other pitching prospects? How does it help you in learning from the other arms who are here?
Toussaint: It elevates everyone's game. You can't slack off. You have to be on your game at all times. You ask them for help and for tips and they help you out. It's a healthy environment. You can't take any days off. They preached as soon as we came to camp that everything is competition. Nothing is given; everything has to be earned. That's what we know. None of us know where we're going. You just have to earn your job.
MLBPipeline.com: You used to like to hit as a high school player. Do you miss it?
Toussaint: I do miss it. I tried to hit a little bit this offseason, but it didn't quite work out the way I wanted to. I tell the coaches, 'Hey, I can hit a little bit.' But they just laugh at me.
MLBPipeline.com: I wanted to ask about your background, your heritage. Being a Haitian-American, how much pride do you take in representing that community? There aren't a lot of people from Haiti playing baseball.
Toussaint: I definitely take a lot of pride. My mom always says it's not just people here watching. You have people there watching, too. I have to wear that flag on my sleeve. It's not something you take lightly.
Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com. Follow @JonathanMayo on Twitter.