Every spring, a handful of young prospects come to camp and exceed everyone’s expectations. And this year is no different, as 20 year old outfielder Cristian Pache has opened a lot of eyes during Grapefruit League play. On Friday night, Pache homered onto the left field berm at Disney in a win over Phillies. Saturday morning, Brian Snitker was still talking about how impressed he’s been with Pache’s development over the last calendar year. You’ll recall, at this time last year, Pache had exactly zero career homers in 986 at bats between rookie ball and Single-A Rome. Then, during the Future Stars Game at SunTrust Park, Pache went deep not once, but twice off Sean Newcomb.
Since then, Pache’s defensive prowess has been well documented, but his offense has made significant strides over the last year. “He’s doing everything an organization would want a young player to do and how he’s progressing and where he’s at in his development, it’s all right on time” Brian Snitker said on Saturday in Lakeland. “He’s going to go to Double-A and once you get to Double-A, you’re in play” Snit added. A few hours later, Pache homered for the second time in a matter of 18 hours in a Braves win against the Tigers.
While Pache’s recent surge has fans on Twitter buzzing, let’s just be extremely clear. No, Cristian Pache will not be on the Braves Opening Day roster. He’ll start in Mississippi, get regular at bats, and could accelerate to Triple-A as the season goes along. And, should something happen to one of Atlanta’s everyday outfielders, there’s a chance Pache ends up in the Majors at some point later this season. If not, the potential Opening Day outfield in 2020 could feature three legitimate Gold Glove candidates in Acuna, Inciarte and Pache. And with the Braves not having a ton of depth in the system in the outfield, the message to Pache when the team breaks camp in two weeks will be “stay ready.”
Kevin McAlpin has covered the Braves since 2012 for @680TheFan and the @BravesRadioNet