Cristian Pache
21-Year-Old OutfielderOF
Atlanta Braves AAA
Injury Ankle
Est. Return 8/7/2020
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
RANKSFrom Preseason
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$Signed a contract with the Braves in July of 2015 that includes a $1.4 million signing bonus.
Sidelined with sprained ankle
OFAtlanta Braves  AAA
July 15, 2020
Pache was diagnosed with a Grade 2 right ankle sprain Wednesday, David O'Brien of The Athletic reports.
Pache picked up the injury attempting to steal second base during Monday's intrasquad game. The 21-year-old is back at the team's camp in Gwinnett for the time being. While manager Brian Snitker downplayed the severity of the injury, the skipper added that Pache is "gonna need a few days."
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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
Scratched from lineup
OFAtlanta Braves  AAA
July 14, 2020
Pache (ankle) was scratched from the lineup for Tuesday's intrasquad game, David O'Brien of The Athletic reports.
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In lineup for intrasquad game
OFAtlanta Braves  AAA
July 14, 2020
Pache (foot) is in the lineup for the Braves' intrasquad matchup Tuesday, Mark Bowman of reports.
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Avoids serious foot injury
OFAtlanta Braves  AAA
July 13, 2020
Manager Brian Snitker said that Pache is OK and probably won't be limited at all Tuesday, David O'Brien of The Athletic reports.
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Jams right foot Monday
OFAtlanta Braves  AAA
July 13, 2020
Pache jammed his right foot or ankle attempting to steal second base during Monday's intrasquad game, Mark Bowman of reports.
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Path to debut clearer
OFAtlanta Braves  AAA
July 7, 2020
Pache's chances of making his big-league debut in 2020 improved when Nick Markakis opted out of playing this season, David O'Brien of The Athletic reports.
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