Written By: Javier Martinez
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Cristian Pache signed with the Atlanta Braves in July 2015 for $1.4 million. He was assigned to the Gulf Coast League Braves in June 2016 and batted .283 with 11 RBIs in 27 games. Pache was promoted to the Danville Braves, where he finished the season with a .333 batting average, ten RBI, and a .775 OPS in 30 games.
Pache spent the 2017 season with the Rome Braves, where he batted .281 with 42 RBI and 32 stolen bases in 119 games. He was named a South Atlantic League All-Star.
In 2018, at the A-Advanced level, he played in 93 games, driving in 40 runs, hitting eight home runs, and recording a .285 batting average. On August 1, Pache was promoted to the Mississippi Braves. In 29 games, he hit .260 with one home run and seven RBI in 29 games. In August 2018, it was announced that Pache was placed on the Arizona Fall League (AFL) roster. He hit .290/.318/.387 through 14 games and was named to the AFL All-Star Game. As a prospect, Pache drew attention for his defensive skills.
In 2019, while playing in the Southern League, Pache hit for a .278 batting average, with 28 doubles, eight triples, 11 home runs, 50 runs, 53 runs batted in, and eight stolen bases. On August 6, 2019, Pache made his International League debut with the Gwinnett Stripers. Over 130 games between both clubs, Pache batted .277/.340/.462 with 12 home runs and 61 RBI.
Pache was named to the roster for the 2020 NL Wild Card Series. He scored the game-winning run in the bottom of the 13th inning in Game 1 for the Braves. Pache had entered the game as a pinch runner, then scored on a hit by Freddie Freeman. In Game 2 of the NLCS, Pache notched his first career major league RBI and his first career big league home run, in Game 3.
Pache had a pull-happy approach early in his career. However, he has slowly adopted a more balanced approach at the plate and his pitch recognition should improve. Pache can also hit the fastball well.
However, Pache tends to be a swing-and-miss hitter which could bring his down batting average. He had a 17% swinging strike rate in 2019.
Looking at his swing, Pache has been able to shorten his swing compared to his previous swings which can get loopy at times. His ability to hit the ball consistently will be the key to his hitting development.
Cristian Pache has showed above average raw power in BP. However, he has not been able to transfer his raw power to game power. He definitely has the ability to hit it the other way but it seems he has a tendency to pull every pitch.
He also began hitting for more power as well, back in 2019, when he put up a 278/.340/.474 line good for a 134 wRC+ back in Double-A.
Pache is very athletic and can definitely make the necessary adjustments in order to tap into his power. He has good bat speed as well.
Pache is a premium defender and should start in center field. He has excellent reads on flyballs and line drives and has demonstrated his ability to cover ground of tough batted balls. He has quick footwork and works aggressively to the ball.
Pache has great arm strength. His throws have lots of carry and they are always online. His arm action is fluid and loose.
Cristian Pache displays natural athleticism and is very speedy. He can also be a threat on the base paths. He stole 8 bases in Triple A and also has good baseball instincts.
His speed helps him cover ground in the outfield. It was demonstrated in the NL Championship Series where he makes up a lot of ground on a high pop-up.
Future Value: 60
Offensively, the right-handed hitter had taken a big step forward approach-wise in 2019 and that continued in 2020 with his work at the Braves’ alternate camp and then in the postseason, when he drew three walks and struck out just four times in 25 plate appearances.
Even if he’s not posting All-Star offensive stat lines, Pache will provide All-Star value overall because of his stellar defense. There is no doubt Pache is ready to take control of center field in the big leagues.