Touki Toussaint will take the ball for the Braves when they open Grapefruit League play Saturday against the Mets in Port St. Lucie. It’s the game-time launch of his campaign for the fifth starter job, for which he’s one of two favorites.
The 22-year-old shined in seven games last season, showing confidence and moxie on the mound while embracing starter-reliever dual duties. The Braves expect him to play a large role on this year’s club – in whatever capacity.
Kolby Allard will follow Toussaint for the third and fourth innings. The Braves plan to have their starting pitchers (and candidates) work two-inning increments.
Allard struggled in three games last season, unable to make up for lacking velocity. He’s no longer a top 100 prospect, but at 21, he’ll continue the maturation process. Allard allowed 11 runs in eight major-league innings.
Mike Foltynewicz will start Sunday against the Astros in West Palm Beach, with Bryse Wilson following. Foltynewicz is coming off a breakthrough year in which he earned an All-Star nod and finished with a 2.85 ERA and 202 strikeouts. New pitching coach Rick Kranitz is tasked with taking Foltynewicz up another notch.
Wilson, 21, appeared in three games last season. His lone start was a memorable one: He tossed five scoreless frames in Pittsburgh, outlasting Chris Archer and becoming the youngest starter in MLB history to win a 1-0 game.
Allard and Wilson are competing for the final spot in the rotation. It’s more likely both start the season in Triple-A, though each will almost assuredly get chances at the highest level.
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.