Friday was Touki Toussaint’s 18th birthday and he celebrated it in style by signing his first professional contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
“I want to say thank you to the organization for picking me and giving me the opportunity to be a first rounder,” Toussaint said Saturday at an introductory press conference at Chase Field. “They trust me when many other teams didn’t. It’s a great place and I love it here.”
Toussaint, a right-handed starting pitcher who the D-backs made the No. 16 overall pick, said he is excited to begin playing after getting the hassle of signing his first contract out of the way.
“Signing my contract was a relief, now the process is over I can focus and just play baseball,” he said.
Toussaint wasn’t always a pitcher; he started as a shortstop when he soon found out it wasn’t going to be the position to get him into the big leagues.
“I didn’t really want to pitch until my junior year because I liked hitting but everyone saw that I was a better pitcher than a hitter,” he said.
The D-backs stumbled upon Toussaint during his sophomore year when area scout Frank Thon Jr. was in the Miami area watching a 2012 high school prospect and Toussaint was playing on the opposing team.
“While we were watching the 2012 draftee, Touki was playing shortstop and we thought ‘this could be the guy in two years as a shortstop,'” Thon said. “And then he actually gets on the mound the last inning and just him warming up a couple pitches into it and thought ‘wow!'”
Toussaint pitching style has been compared to Hall of Famer Bob Gibson, but it’s more recent and current pitchers he sees himself as.
“I try to pitch like Pedro Martinez and Jose Fernandez because they have that fire and I love it,” Toussaint said. “You’re supposed to have fun and they have fun and they know how to compete.”
Toussaint will begin his career in the Arizona league while adapting to the professional life. But what does the newest D-back hope to splurge on with his first big league paycheck?
“I definitely want a car, but we’ll see,” he said.