Pache trained with Valentin Monero in the Dominican.
In 2015, Pache got drafted by the Braves (see Transactions below).
In 2017, the Baseball America Prospect Handbook rated Cristian as the 13th-best prospect in the Braves organization. He was at #9 in the offseason before 2018 spring camp opened. And he was at #8 in the spring of 2019. He was the #1 prospect in the Braves' organization in the spring of 2020. And Pache stayed at #1 early in 2021. He was at #3 in the spring of 2022.
2017 season: Arguably the best defensive center fielder in the low minors, Pache showed a lot in his full-season debut. Even younger than Taveras, Pache showed the tools to succeed, but struggled in finding his power.
The 18-year-old right-handed hitter makes plenty of contact. He slashed .281/.335/.343, so getting on base wasn’t a major problem, nor was extending base hits, adding 32 stolen bases. Pache uses his speed well in the outfield. His cannon of an arm is as accurate as they come (17 assists).
2018 season: Pache has made progress hitting .285/.311/.431 this season in High-A with eight homers in 369 at bats. That tailed off after he was promoted to Double-A, where he hit .260/.294/.337 with one homer in 104 at-bats, a substantial drop obviously. But he’s still only 19 and Florida State League observers were optimistic that his power will continue to grow as he gains strength and experience.
don’t see any particular reason to doubt this.Reviews on Pache’s defense are glowing, with speed, range/instincts, and arm strength all playing splendidly in center field. He’s not a finished product in other ways: despite his speed he stole just seven bases while being caught eight times: the legs play better in the outfield than on the bases, but that should improve with more reps.
He also has an aggressive hitting approach, with just 18 unintentional walks (he also got two intentional passes) against 90 strikeouts in 473 at-bats. He doesn’t have to be a walk machine but more selectivity would be nice as he faces pitchers who can change speeds more efficiently at higher levels.
Cristian remains more of a tools-over-skills player but the tools are superb and the skills are showing signs of catching up. He also earns plaudits for his work ethic and drive to improve, attributes which only help of course.
Overall Pache did enough this year to bump his grade up a notch to B+. Rawness risk remains a factor and we should avoid the temptation to see another Ronald Acuna in him, but Pache’s profile reminds me of young Carlos Gomez. ( John Sickels@MinorLeagueBall- Sep 24, 2018)
Cristian is a Gold Glove-caliber defender whose development at the plate will determine his ceiling. And during 2019 spring training he hit .359 with two home runs in 24 spring games.
“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.”
“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 a translator. (Gabe Burns - Baseball America - May, 2019)
July 2019: Pache represented the Braves at the Futures All-Star Game.
2019 Season: At his best, Cristian Pache looks like a future star: a demon center fielder with more power potential than his 21 career home runs suggest. At his less-than-best, he still looks like a valuable player -- just one who may not add as much as hoped offensively.
Pache was having a breakout season before a late promotion to Triple-A, where some of his gains -- at least so far as lifting the ball and hitting for more power -- disappeared. He continued to walk more than usual, which is a welcomed sign for someone known as a free-swinger, but he remained as pull-heavy as ever.
Indeed, Pache pulled around 57 percent of his batted balls in 2019, according to FanGraphs. Only three qualified big-league hitters finished over 50 percent, and none higher than Max Kepler at 53.4 percent. Whatever works, but that kind of dependency on pulling the baseball could speak to a deficiency within his game.
Despite Pache's well-above-average speed, he hasn't yet morphed into a stolen-base threat -- not a good one, anyway. An 8-for-19 season (you read that correctly) leaves him with a 60 percent career success rate. That just isn't going to fly in the majors.
This isn't meant to be dismissive of Pache's ability to grow, either. He won't turn 21 until Nov. 19, and it's possible he taps into some of that power and learns the nuances of basestealing. It's just a reminder that even very good prospects like Pache -- who should develop into an above-average regular -- sometimes have flaws that need to be noted. (R.J. Anderson - CBS Sports - Nov. 11, 2019)
2019 Season: Cristian Pache has been drawing attention since retired 10-time Gold Glove Award winner Andruw Jones arrived at Spring Training two years ago and said Pache was already the best defensive outfielder in the Braves' organization. Over the past two seasons, the baseball world has realized why Jones extended such lofty praise upon the young prospect.
Ranked baseball’s No. 11 prospect overall and the top prospect within Atlanta’s system, Pache combined to hit .277 with 12 homers and an .802 OPS for Double-A Mississippi and Triple-A Gwinnett. He produced a .747 OPS over the 26 games he played after earning a late-season promotion to Gwinnett. The center fielder, who turned 21 on Monday, has gained power potential as he has physically matured over the past two years. (M Bowman - MLB.com - Nov 20, 2019)
Jan 13, 2020: Cristian Pache was just 19 years old and had never played a game above the Class A level when Andruw Jones described him to be the best defensive outfielder in the Braves’ organization. This high praise from his idol has fueled Pache, who has appreciated the friendship he has developed with the man who won 10 straight NL Gold Gloves while playing center field for Atlanta.
“He’s spoken to me on social media and we’ve also spoken in person,” Pache said through an interpreter. “His advice has made me a better outfielder every day.”
Pache was among the many top prospects who attended MLB’s Rookie Career Development Program in Miami. The 21-year-old outfielder was counseled on a number of issues he could soon encounter once he reaches the Major League level. He will come to Spring Training looking to prove he will be ready to make the jump if necessary at some point this year.
When Pache becomes a big leaguer, he will proudly wear No. 25, the jersey number Jones wore while establishing himself as one of Atlanta’s most iconic players from 1996-2007. The former center fielder annually won a Gold Glove from 1998-2007 and now serves as a special assistant within Atlanta’s front office.
“When I wore that number my first year [in Spring Training], [Jones] said, ‘Tremendous number,'" Pache said. “And I told him, ‘Yes, I wear it because of you, because that inspires me a lot.' I’m wearing it and want to continue wearing it, because it fills me with pride to have that number on my back.”
MLB Pipeline ranks Pache as its No. 11 overall prospect, the top prospect within Atlanta’s organization and the game’s No. 3 outfield prospect, behind only Luis Robert (White Sox) and Jo Adell (Angels).
Pache’s meteoric rise has occurred since he came to Atlanta’s big league Spring Training for the first time in 2018 and was labeled the club’s best defensive outfielder. When Jones made this claim, Ender Inciarte had already won two of the three consecutive Gold Glove Awards he garnered for Atlanta from 2016-18.
But while Pache’s defensive skills have long been respected, his development into one of the game’s top prospects has been a product of the physical maturity that has allowed him to show his power potential over the past two seasons.
Pache’s promotion to Gwinnett in 2019 gave him and the club a better feel for how close he might be to being deemed Major League ready. He will likely begin the upcoming season at the Triple-A level. But there’s a chance he could get an early-season call to Atlanta, much like Ronald Acuña Jr. and Austin Riley have within the past two seasons. (M Bowman - MLB.com - Jan 13, 2020)
Aug 19, 2020: Cristian Pache's much-anticipated arrival came a little earlier than expected. But now that the club’s No. 1 prospect is at the big league level, the Braves are going to give him a chance to show why he may soon rank among the game’s best defensive outfielders.
“I know he’s going to be excited about being out here,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “He’s going to get gassed up and I’m excited about watching that kid play.”
Pache was set to make his Major League debut before the night’s game against the Nationals was postponed due to rain and rescheduled as part of a Sept. 4 doubleheader. He’ll now likely get his first big league action during the series opener against the Phillies.
Though Pache is not the once-in-a-generation kind of prospect Ronald Acuña Jr. was just a couple years ago, he certainly has the potential to be an impact player in Atlanta for many years to come, especially if he develops the power that has started to materialize within the past few seasons.
The 21-year-old outfielder ranks as MLB Pipeline’s No. 14 prospect.
“I just like to think of myself as a fun ballplayer who works really hard and gives maximum effort out there,” Pache said through an interpreter. “I like to think I put out that kind of performance where I leave it all out there on the field.”
Pache learned of his promotion as he was shagging balls in the outfield at Triple-A Gwinnett’s Coolray Field. He received word around 5:30 p.m. ET and arrived at Truist Park about an hour later. The late call came as a result of the Braves learning Nick Markakis may have been potentially exposed to COVID-19.
“You’d have thought he was in our starting lineup yesterday because by the time he got here he was out there running and getting loose like he was in the starting lineup then,” Snitker said. “That was a big deal just getting out in a big league uniform.”
Pache gained notice when he arrived at his first big league Spring Training in 2018 and was anointed the organization’s best defensive outfielder by Andruw Jones. This assessment was made just after Ender Inciarte had captured the second of his three straight Gold Gloves with Atlanta.
Jones has worked with Pache at Spring Training each of the past three years and has maintained regular contact with the young outfielder. The Braves legend sent his congratulations when the Pache was promoted.
“Andruw has seen him a lot more than I have over the past few years,” Snitker said. “Everybody who has seen him has been impressed with this kid. I’m excited to watch him.” (M Bowman - MLB.com - Aug 19, 22020)
MLB debut (Aug. 21, 2020): Pache is well-known for his great glove, but the 21-year-old hit .277 with 57 extra-base hits in 130 games across two levels of the Minors in 2019. He didn't quite get extra bases on his first big league hit, but he was all smiles and celebrating with his teammates all the same after the momentous occasion.
2020 Season: We have seen Pache go from one of the top international free agents (21st at the time of his signing in 2015) to becoming the league’s overall 10th rated prospect, to what now appears to be an impact major league player as soon as 2021.
After watching the debuts of Acuna, Albies, Swanson, and Riley it appears the future is now for Atlanta and Pache is 100% part of the discussion. The development of his bat remains to be seen, though he had some absolutely wonderful at-bats in the playoffs, you like what he’s changed over the past two years.
It’s definitely important to remember, for next year, to remain patient but defensively he’s already one of the best defenders in the league. It is safe to say that Pache will play a major role in the Braves present and future so let’s take a look at what he did in 2021, and what he has to offer us for 2021 and beyond.
What went right in 2020? Almost everything. Pache was thrust into the starting spot, after being on the taxi squad a majority of the season, following the injury to Adam Duvall. With Ender Inciarte playing very poorly, the Braves turned to the 21-year-old to man the outfield and become the anchor of the defense while also facing playoff caliber pitching—not exactly the ideal scenario for a proper debut.
All things considered, Pache played wonderfully putting together high-quality at-bats in the postseason while showing what he can do in the outfield. Pache had just four plate appearances before he found himself as the starting center fielder in the playoffs where he hit .182/.280/.364 with a 73 wRC+. Most impressively was the 12% walk rate he exhibited, often working deep counts and getting the pitchers pitch total up before turning the lineup over to Ronald Acuna.
If Pache is able to continue walking at a high rate while sustaining his batted ball profile of 2019 (~29% LD rate) and can lower his ground ball rate just a bit (47% in 2019), all the while playing other-worldy defense—well you have yourself a star in the making. Even if it doesn’t happen and he’s a league-average offensive center fielder, his defense is so good that he’s still an above-average center fielder so safe to say the future is extremely bright for Pache.
What went wrong in 2020? Honestly, not too much. The biggest struggle for Pache was not having playing time over Ender Inciarte. Ender did not perform to the level of a Major League regular and should have been replaced by Pache sooner in the season. That said, you also don’t want to rush him too soon and stunt his development. (Gaurav Vedak@gvedak - Nov 9, 2020)
2021 Season: Pache won the Opening Day job but struggled, got hurt, struggled some more and was then sent back to Triple-A.
The numbers weren’t pretty, either. A .111/.152/.206 line with a 36.8 percent strikeout rate just won’t play, no matter how good you are defensively. His return to Triple-A was not very inspiring either, but he did finish the season relatively strong.
2022 Season: Pache was exactly what the critics said he would be. Despite getting plenty of chances, he just did not hit, posting a .166/.218/.241 batting line in his 260 plate appearances, hitting three homers and five doubles. Even his excellent defense could not save his place in the lineup. (David Hill - Oct. 11, 2022)
The Phillies have acquired center fielder Cristian Pache from the Oakland Athletics in exchange for pitcher Billy Sullivan. The Phillies made a bet that, at the very least, Pache can be a plus defender in center field and hold his own in sporadic starts against left-handed pitchers. He does not have a track record of hitting in the majors, so it’s a real project for veteran hitting coach Kevin Long. But Pache fits in the larger picture of the Phillies’ roster.
A’s assistant general manager Billy Owens had this to say about Pache’s strengths and weaknesses last September:
“His skillset offensively and defensively are in totally different stratospheres. Playing center field, he’s a supreme ballhawk with insane instincts and internal clock. The anticipation, rhythm and closing speed are special. Beautiful in a sense, like Mozart conducting a symphony.
“Unbelievable how his defensive game can be so advanced, while his offensive technique is elementary. The light at end of the tunnel will be an Austin Jackson profile, but that may come well after his 25th birthday. Buckle up and enjoy his artistry defensively, while having patience and understanding his success offensively will be down the road. Great kid and hard worker. There are challenges in front of him to reach his ceiling.” — (Lockard/Gelb/Lockard - Mar 29, 2023 - The Athletic)
July 3, 2015: The Braves agreed to terms with the 16-year-old Pache, a free agent from the Dominican Republic. Pache received $1.4 million, via scout Matias Laureano.
March 14, 2022: The Braves traded OF Cristian Pache, C Shea Langeliers, SP Ryan Cusick, and SP Joey Estes; acquiring 1B Matt Olson from the A's.
- March 29, 2023: - The Phillies' acquired outfielder Cristian Pache from the Athletics in exchange for right-handed reliever Billy Sullivan. The 24-year-old Pache, who is out of Minor League options, was added to Philadelphia's 40-man roster. To make room, the club placed Rhys Hoskins (torn left ACL) on the 60-day injured list.
|Birth City:||Santo Domingo, D.R.|
|Draft:||2015 - Braves - Free agent - Out of the D.R.|
Pache's hands work well. And he has dramatically improved his offensive profile. He has enough bat speed to handle the velocity of the modern game, and he pairs it with solid pitch selection and strike-zone recognition. Cristian displays a discerning eye on borderline pitches. He has a 40 grade hit tool, but 50 for power.
What could limit Pache as a hitter is an extreme pull tendency at the plate.
Cristian has timing issues at the plate and will often have to decide whether he’s sitting on fastballs or breaking stuff, which creates inconsistencies. He’s gone back and forth with various handsets that Atlanta has tried to incorporate to get him in better position more consistently. (Carlos Colazzo - BAPH - Spring, 2022)
From 2017 to 2019 in the minors, he hit between 50% and 59% of his batted balls to his pull side. For context, the Major League average pull rate in 2020 was 41%. And while Pache does have plus raw power, all of his in-game home runs have gone to the far pull side in left field. Figuring out how to use the opposite field will be necessary for Pache to become an average hitter, and a missed 2020 minor league season might have hampered that development.
Cristian is solidly built and has 55 grade power. His hit tool now flashes 50 grade. (Carlos Collazo - Baseball America Prospect Handbook - Spring, 2021)
Pache has improved his approach at the plate, drawing more walks and cutting down his strikeouts as he's moved up. He makes a ton of hard contact and his power is starting to show up, with his over-the-fence pop coming to his pull side, but he can drive the ball to all fields. Assuming that development continues, Pache will give the Braves another homegrown All-Star caliber outfielder.(Spring 2020)
He has improved his strike-zone recognition and with solid bat-to-ball ability, he should develop into a 50 grade hitter on the 20-80 scouting scale for his hit tool. He needs to use the whole field more.
Cristian had one of the most extreme pull-heavy approaches in the Southern League in 2019, making him vulnerable to off-speed pitches away and prone to slumps. Pache whiffed in 22.7 percent of his PA and walked nearly 8 percent of the time. While most think Pache will be a plus hitter, there’s belief in Pache’s hit tool carrying over to the big leagues because of the plate discipline.(Spring, 2020)
Scouts are more mixed on whether Pache is going to hit. He showed improved power and he can now punish pitchers for their mistakes, but he’s too aggressive for a potential top-of-the-order hitter and has become pull-focused. He could become an average hitter with 20-25 home run pop. But he strikes out too much and doesn’t draw the walks needed to lead off.
To get to his newfound power, Pache refined his approach to be more patient and wait for a pitch he can drive. When he does that, he can use his natural strength to drive the ball out. Because he’s still maturing, scouts can see more power shows if he retains his approach as he fills out. (Spring, 2018)
Pache doesn’t have the prettiest swing, but his biggest believers say he finds a way to make it work in games. It’s a funky, disjointed stroke, but it does get to the hitting zone quickly and he uses the whole field with gap power.
His unorthodox righthanded stroke includes a long bat path, and he has some issues maintaining balance, but he shows bat control and natural bat-to-ball ability. He has amazing hand-eye coordination, which allows him to consistently make contact. He rarely swings and misses. (Spring, 2017)
He sprays line shots around the yard.
Cristian will need better plate discipline against better pitching. He can hit anything he can reach. He has adjustments to make offensively but has made plenty of contact thus far as a pro (Spring, 2017)
Scouts highest on Cristian liked the way he tracks pitches and his feel for hitting with the ability to manipulate the barrel.
Pache displays outstanding hand-eye coordination and a decent feel for the strike zone. The Braves want him to increase his walk total to take advantage of his top-of-the-scale speed.
“He hasn’t shown much power, but we saw a glimpse of it in instructional league this past fall (in 2017),” Braves farm director Jonathan Schuerholz said. “We’re working on his launch angle. Once he taps into that power potential, he’ll have a chance to be an impact offensive and defensive center fielder.”
Jan. 2020: Pache's development into one of the game’s top prospects has been a product of the physical maturity that has allowed him to show his power potential over the past 2018 and 2019 seasons.
Pache went homerless and totaled just 32 extra-base hits over 689 at-bats at the Rookie and Class A levels from 2016-17. He showed some increased power potential during Spring Training in '18 and ended that exhibition season by hitting a pair of homers against Sean Newcomb during a game that pitted prospects against Braves big leaguers at SunTrust Park.
The two-homer game was a springboard toward what proved to be a breakout season for Pache, who combined to hit nine homers while playing for Class A Advanced Florida and Double-A Mississippi in 2018. He hit 11 more homers in 104 games for Mississippi last summer and then added one more while producing a .747 OPS over 105 plate appearances for Triple-A Gwinnett. (M Bowman - MLB.com Jan 13, 2020)
Hit (55): Cristian’s approach has improved even though he’s moved very quickly up the Braves’ ladder. He’s learned to see more pitches and draw more walks. His 8 percent walk rate in 2019 was his career high, despite being just 20 and reaching Triple-A. That year, he walked more and struck out less than he did in Double-A. In fact, his .340 on-base percentage in 2019 was a high in his three years of full-season ball. He can drive the ball to all fields and makes a ton of hard contact.
Power (50): His extra-base authority is showing up more and more consistently, and Pache set career highs in 2019 in home runs, doubles, slugging percentage and OPS. His ISO (isolated power) has gone from .062 in his first taste of full-season ball in 2017 to .131 in 2018 and up to .185 a year ago. Most of his home run power is to his pull side, but he’s only going to get stronger. (Mayo - mlb.com - 8/20/2020)
2020/2021 Winter Ball: Cristian Pache (Braves No. 1, MLB No. 10):
Pache didn’t waste any time making his presence felt in the Estrellas Orientales (D.R.) lineup. The 22-year-old outfielder had two hits in his debut—an RBI double and an infield single. He looks to get in some more reps after making his Major League debut late in the 2020 season. Pache has appeared in two games since that debut and is batting .222 (2-for-9) in winter ball.
2021 Top International Prospect - Braves: Cristian Pache, OF (No. 1, MLB No. 10)
Braves fans got a brief glimpse of Pache when he received four at-bats in late August last season and then got another big league opportunity (22 at-bats) in the postseason. The Braves signed the 22-year-old outfielder in 2015, and while his approach at the plate has improved, Pache is best known for his defense. Arguably the best defensive prospect in all of baseball, Pache not only has a cannon for an arm, but also has plus instincts and will be a Gold Glove-caliber center fielder.
March 26, 2021: The top Braves prospect and No. 12 overall has top-notch defensive tools, but also figures to hit much better than the 5-for-29 clip he's managed in the 2021 Grapefruit League. He played two big league games last year, earning his first hit over four at-bats. He had a .277/.340/.462 slash line with 12 homers, 9 triples and 36 doubles over the two highest levels of the Minors in 2019.
- 2021 Season: Expect Pache’s rankings to take a tumble after a rough 2021 campaign, though he’s still the Braves’ top international prospect. Pache had some opportunities in the big leagues last year, but hit just .111 over 63 at-bats, then hit .265/.330/.414 in Triple-A, leading some scouts to worry about him hitting enough to reach his potential. He still is one of the best outfield defenders in the game. (Boor, Callis Dykstra - MLB.com - Jan 14, 2022)
Cristian's aggressive, almost cocky center field defense will get him to the big leagues. He plays shallow, challenging hitters to hit it over his head. If they do, he proves he can track balls over his head with ease. He’s one of the best defensive center fielders in the minors and has Gold Glove potential with an above-average arm.
Pache has the plus-plus speed to cover enough ground in even the most expansive outfields, and his instincts and arm strength elevate him to the level of potentially one of the best center fielders in baseball. He reads the ball off the bat well, takes efficient routes and has the athleticism and natural timing to make highlight-reel diving catches and jumps at the wall.
This guy has a top-of-the-scale 80 for his defense in center field. And his arm is a 70!
Cristian's plus-plus 70 grade arm makes runners think twice about taking an extra base.
Pache has been chosen by baseball executives as the best defensive prospect two years in a row, and he will be a Gold Glove caliber center fielder in the big leagues. His plus speed to go along with his instincts, reads and routes gives him incredible range, both in and out and side to side.
He has a cannon for an arm that freezes runners in their tracks that profiles in right field, but make no mistake: He should move anyone from center to a corner once he arrives. While his legs serve him well in the outfield, he hasn't yet used them to be an effective base-stealer. And that's the only one part of his offensive game that hasn't progressed. (Spring 2020)
He has a great first step.
Pache is athletic and has a good chance to stay in center field. He has a quick first step and closing speed. and he has a good arm. Pache gets at least a 70 for his defense and has a 70 grade arm.
He has defensive tools reminiscent of a young Andruw Jones. If his offense comes along, he could be an electric player.
Pache may have a Gold Glove in his future. He really covers a lot of outfield to both his left and right. But coming in on balls is an area he will improve. And he vastly improved that aspect in 2017, nabbing balls out of the air just beyond shortstop while capably tracking back on balls to the warning track.
He led the South Atlantic League’s outfielders in range factor, assists and double plays for 2017. He’s an elite center fielder defensively with top-of-the-scale speed and a plus arm to go with his plus-plus glove. (Spring, 2018)
And, before 2018 spring training, Pache was named the best defensive outfielder in Minor League Baseball by MLB Pipeline. The other two joining him in the outfield were Victor Robles and Leody Taveras.
"He’s an unbelievable center fielder,” Pirates assistant farm director Jonathan Schuerholz said. early in the 2018 season. “His defense might be the best in our system, and people talk about Cristian being the best in the minor leagues.”
“Cristian’s got a real bright future ahead of him,” said Randy Ingle, the Braves’ on-field advisor for player development who managed Pache at Rome last year. “It’s impressive to see the way he goes about his business and his instincts for the game. We knew about the tools he had, because his tools are off the charts. But he can flat-out play center field.”
Pache plays shallow, almost daring hitters to hit the ball over his head. He has a quick first step and plus speed that allows him to track down balls in the gaps with relative ease. He also possesses an above-average arm and accuracy on his throws.
Christian’s calling card has long been his unrivaled defense in center field, but in 2018 he began to show the makings of a complete player.
Pache has a case as the best defensive outfielder in the minors. He glides to balls that would otherwise land in the gaps and has an above-average arm. (Josh Norris - Baseball America - 10/19/2018)
In both 2017 and 2018, Pache was named the MLB Pipeline All-Defense Team center fielder. (Jonathan Mayo- MLB.com)
In 2019, Pache was named the Best Defender prospect by MLB Pipeline:
Best defender: Cristian Pache, OF, Braves (70) - ETA: 2020
While Robles is more polished, Pache may have better all-around raw tools. The consensus best defensive center fielder in the Minors, he also has well above-average arm strength and speed that would allow him to fit anywhere in the outfield. He's still figuring things out at the plate and on the bases, but he has a chance to become a plus hitter with average power.
Pache combines plus speed, a tremendous first step and a 70 grade arm to rank as the best defensive outfielder in the minors in 2019.
"He’s the best defensive outfielder in the league, hands down,” Mobile manager David Newhan said in 2019. "Kind of like a young Andruw Jones, but he plays deeper.”
2019 Season: Pache doesn’t have Ronald Acuña-type power right now, but he is driving the ball more consistently. That, along with his plus speed, defense and arm, could allow him to have an Acuña-like impact in 2020.
Jan 12, 2020: Braves No. 1/MLB No. 11: Pache’s name is the first to come up in any conversation about the best overall defensive prospect, so it wasn’t all that surprising that executives voted him as such. Possessing three 70-grade tools in his speed, glove and arm, the 21-year-old runs down anything and everything in center field thanks to his outstanding instincts, range and closing speed. Pache’s offense requires further refinement, but the defense is big league-ready.
Jan. 2020: Pache was named to the MLB Pipeline’s 2020 All-Defense Team.
Arm (70): Back in 2017, before people really knew what kind of arm Cristian had, he racked up 17 assists in the South Atlantic League, all from center field. Runners learned quickly not to run on him, so his assist totals—seven in 2018 and nine in 2019—went down. It’s as strong an arm as there is among outfield prospects and would profile really well in right field, except for the fact that he’s perhaps the best defensive prospect in baseball.
Field (70): Pache was chosen as MLB Pipeline’s top defensive prospect two years in a row, prior to the 2019 and 2020 seasons, and he was named the top defender by executives in a January Pipeline Poll. Not only does his speed allow him to chase down balls, he has incredible instincts, reads and routes, with one teammate saying he seems to take his first step before the ball is hit. He’s a Gold Glove caliber outfielder the second he sets foot in Atlanta’s outfield, one who’ll make Acuña, and eventually Waters, man the corners. (Mayo - mlb.com - 8/20/2020)
2021 Top International Prospect - Braves: Cristian Pache, OF (No. 1, MLB No. 10)
Braves fans got a brief glimpse of Pache when he received four at-bats in late August last season and then got another big league opportunity (22 at-bats) in the postseason. The Braves signed the 22-year-old outfielder in 2015, and while his approach at the plate has improved, Pache is best known for his defense. Arguably the best defensive prospect in all of baseball, Pache not only has a cannon for an arm, but also has plus instincts and will be a Gold Glove-caliber center fielder. ( J Callis - MLb.com - Jan 12, 2021)
2021 Best Defensive Prospect - OF: Cristian Pache, Braves (No. 1/MLB No. 10)
Pache has been in the discussion of the best overall defensive prospect since 2018, when he earned his first All-Defense mention. Signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2015, he's the complete package as a center fielder. He enhances his plus-plus speed with outstanding instincts, allowing him to reach balls many players can't. He also has plus-plus arm strength, which is exceptional for a center fielder, and his defensive ability led the Braves to keep him over three-time Gold Glover Ender Inciarte on their 2020 postseason roster. (J Callis - MLB.com - Jan 17, 2021)
2022: Best Defensive Prospect - OF: Cristian Pache, Braves (No. 1/MLB No. 38)
While there's still some question about how much offense Pache will provide, his ability to make an impact with his defense has landed him on the Braves' postseason roster the past two years. Signed for $1.4 million out of the Dominican Republic in 2015, he's a complete center fielder. His plus-plus speed alone would give him tremendous range and he enhances it with outstanding instincts. He also has well-above-average arm strength that ranks among the best at his position.(J Callis - MLB.com - Feb 23, 2022)
Christian has 70 grade speed—plus-plus-plus on the 20-80 scouting scale.
But he lacks base-stealing instincts, sometimes running the bases poorly.
Pache's speed is game-changing, both on the bases and in center field.
Jan 3, 2019: Pache still hasn't learned to use his outstanding speed on the basepaths consistently as he stole just seven bases in 2018 and has been thrown out trying to steal 35 percent of the time. But Pache will learn to use his wheels offensively, and he already uses them to be perhaps the best defensive outfield prospect in baseball.
- Run (70): While Cristian’s nearly top-of-the-scale speed helped him steal 32 bases back in 2017, he hasn’t been a threat to run the last two seasons ('18 and '19). That’s not a sign of him slowing down. He can still leg out hits and take extra bases. And his wheels allow him to cover a ridiculous amount of ground in center field. (Mayo - mlb.com - 8/20/2020)
Fall, 2014: Pache had a screw put into his right elbow to repair a fracture.
April 14-24, 2021: Pache was on the IL with a strained left groin.
May 14-June 2, 2021: Pache was on the IL with a right hammy inflammation.
April 28, 2023: Pache was lifted from the game with a right knee injury. Pache appeared to hurt the knee when he extended his secondary lead towards third base, and then stopped abruptly. Pache was examined by a doctor following the Phillies’ win over the Astros. Manager Rob Thomson said he wasn’t too concerned about the severity of the injury.
“He kept saying ‘I’m good, I’m good, I’m good,’" said Thomson. "And I said ‘No. We’re gonna get you out of here, just precautionary.”
April 29-June 16, 2023: Pache was on the IL with right knee meniscus tear.
June 2, 2023: Pache began a rehab assignment for High-A Jersey Shore on June 2, where he was expected to play seven innings in center field. He had a right knee lateral meniscectomy on May 1.
July 11-Sept 1, 2023: Pache was on the IL with right elbow irritation.
July 16, 2023: After initially being placed on the 10-day injured list retroactive to July 11, the Phillies announced that Pache would undergo surgery to remove a screw from his right elbow that has recently begun causing irritation. The screw was inserted before Pache had even signed his first professional contract in 2015, but had only lately started causing problems.
Pache's recovery is expected to take at least a few weeks, but manager Rob Thomson says that he will be ready in plenty of time to get back to the field before the end of the season.
Aug 21, 2023: Pache had been expected to return from his right elbow injury as soon as Aug. 21 against the Giants, but his status is now uncertain because of hip tightness that has created knee soreness. Though manager Rob Thomson said on Aug. 20 that he does not believe it’s anything serious, the Phillies want to evaluate Pache further before deciding on the next step. .