Cristian Pache
21-Year-Old OutfielderOF
Atlanta Braves AAA
2020 Fantasy Outlook
This has always been the case with Pache, but as he nears his big-league debut, it is worth repeating: his hit tool is easily his worst tool. If he can't fix his extremely pull-heavy approach, he will be easily neutralized by shifts in the majors. This doesn't mean he is not an awesome real-life prospect. He could win multiple Gold Gloves in center field and could hit 25-plus home runs in his peak power seasons. There would not be a big gap between his real-life and fantasy value if his plus speed translated as well on the bases as it does in center field, but he was 8-for-21 on stolen-base attempts at Double-A (60.4% success rate for his career) and did not even attempt a steal in 26 games at Triple-A. So, for all the 60s and 70s on his scouting report, if he only hits .250 with 25 home runs and a handful of steals while batting at the bottom of the order, he will be a late-round pick in mixed leagues. Read Past Outlooks
$Signed a contract with the Braves in July of 2015 that includes a $1.4 million signing bonus.
Starting season at Triple-A
OFAtlanta Braves  AAA
March 11, 2020
The Braves optioned Pache to Triple-A Gwinnett on Wednesday.
One of the top outfield prospects in baseball, Pache still needs some more time to develop as a hitter in the upper minors before making his big-league debut, likely at some point later this season. Already an elite defender who brings quality speed to the table, Pache slashed .277/.340/.462 with 12 home runs in 130 games between Gwinnett and Double-A Mississippi a season ago.
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
There may not be a more overrated position player for dynasty leagues than Pache. He does very well on real-life prospect rankings because he has a chance to be an 80-grade defender in center field, but there is a big gap between his projected defensive value and what he will likely contribute at the dish. Pache has been able to post decent batting averages, largely because his speed allows him to leg out groundballs against minor-league defenders. He is still learning to utilize his 70-grade wheels on the bases -- Pache was only 10-for-18 on stolen-base attempts last year, including the Arizona Fall League. The Braves are trying to coax more power out of him, which has resulted in elevated strikeout totals. He is being fast-tracked to the big leagues because of his glove, while his bat probably needs two more seasons in the minors. His defense will earn him an everyday job, which could lead to 20-plus steals, which is the main selling point for fantasy.
Pache has 200 hits in 176 games as a pro and zero of those have left the yard. Five or six years ago, he wouldn't have been very appealing in fantasy leagues, but as a 70-grade runner with solid bat-to-ball skills, he is intriguing in today's speed deprived landscape. His center field defense is elite, which means he doesn't have to do much damage with the bat to profile as a regular. If he gets everyday at-bats, Pache could offer 30-plus steals annually throughout his 20s. He was the youngest hitter in the Sally League and was still almost a league average hitter (98 wRC+) without hitting a home run. Some evaluators expect him to eventually offer double-digit homer pop as he continues to grow into his athletic 6-foot-2 frame. He has a pull-heavy approach (50.4 percent), which is a bit concerning, so it's not a lock that he will hit better than .260 or .270. Fortunately Pache's walk rate continues to trend up, and if that continues, his stolen-base upside will increase, as will his chances of hitting atop a big-league lineup.
The Braves' recent uptick in international activity is starting to bear fruit, with Pache being just the latest in a line of high-pedigree hitters to impress as a 17-year-old in his stateside debut. He fits the mold of a lanky, toolsy center field prospect. Pache hit .309/.349/.391 with four doubles, seven triples and zero homers across stops in the Gulf Coast and Appalachian leagues, but at 6-foot-2, 185 pounds, and with plus bat speed, it won't be long before he starts hitting balls over the fence in games. His plus-plus speed and knack for making good contact define his present offensive skill set, and for someone who could spend the bulk of his age-18 season at Low-A Rome, that should be enough to get the attention of prospect hounds. In leagues where owners need to be overhasty to land prospects like Victor Robles or Ronald Acuna, it's worth taking a flier on Pache this offseason in case he hits the ground running in the Sally League.
More Fantasy News
Shows off speed
OFAtlanta Braves  AAA
March 3, 2020
Pache went 3-for-3 with a trio of singles, two stolen bases and a run scored Monday in the Braves' 6-4 exhibition win over the Phillies.
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Added to 40-man roster
OFAtlanta Braves  AAA
November 19, 2019
Pache was added to the 40-man roster Tuesday.
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Gets call to Triple-A
OFAtlanta Braves  AAA
August 5, 2019
The Braves promoted Pache from Double-A Mississippi to Triple-A Gwinnett on Monday, David O'Brien of The Athletic reports.
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Scuffling at Double-A
OFAtlanta Braves  AAA
July 31, 2019
Pache is slashing .209/.280/.297 through 25 games in July with zero homers, one steal and a 31.0 percent strikeout rate (7:31 BB:K).
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Enjoying 10-game hit streak
OFAtlanta Braves  AAA
June 21, 2019
Pache went 3-for-4 with two walks, two doubles and five RBI for Double-A Mississippi on Thursday.
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