Cristian Pache Continues Making Strides
Cristian Pache was one of the last remaining non-roster players in big league camp. The Braves saw plenty of promise in the 20-year-old center fielder.
Pache, a Gold Glove-caliber defender whose development at the plate will determine his ceiling, hit .359 with two home runs in 24 spring games.
The Braves signed Pache out of the Dominican Republic in 2015. He hit his first pro homer in 2018—nine of them, in fact, in season spent primarily at high Class A Florida—then added 10 pounds of muscle before camp this year.
"It’s been really cool to watch this kid the last three years—how he’s grown physically and mentally, where he’s at right now in his career,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "And, shoot, he’s not even scratched the surface of where he’s going to go.
"The defensive talents he has. That, coupled with improved hitting—a big, strong guy like that—all of a sudden the power starts developing. You see a frontline major league player there.”
Pache will open the season at Double-A Mississippi, where he finished last year, in what will be a crucial year for him.
The Braves are willing to wait on their prospects, as they’ve done with third baseman Austin Riley, who has played a role in the club's decision not to invest long-term in another third base option. Meanwhile, Ronald Acuña Jr. is the only piece of the outfield with a certain future.
The door is open for Pache, but he’ll need to maintain his offensive progression. The Braves want to see him draw more walks and see the power trajectory continue upward. But the past 12 months have been encouraging.
The raw ability is evident. Pache can hit homers as far as Acuna, Alex Jackson, Greyson Jenista and other power hitters in the organization—and it translated briefly in March, when he homered in back-to-back games.
"I feel like we’re beginning to see the fruits of all the work I’ve put in over the offseason and here in spring training,” Pache said through translator.