Cristian Pache – Right Handed Hitter, Braves
Pache was signed by the Braves as part of their 2015 J2 class for $1.4 million and debuted with the GCL Braves in the summer of 2016. Cristian has received a ton of praise for his defense in center field and projects as an elite defender in center over the long term thanks to his 70-grade speed, 55-grade arm, and 55-grade instincts in the field. The scouting community is very high overall on Pache’s potential real-life major league value but his fantasy value will hinge on his ability to exceed the mainstream’s 30-grade power projection. Cristian has yet to hit a home-run over his 689 at bat major league career but there are some signals that have us at baseball-farm projecting 40-45 grade power as a very real possibility by the time he reaches the majors (2020 being the most likely year for his major league debut).
When you look under the hood at Pache’s batted ball profile data, it shows that he made a very concerted effort to hit more flyballs in 2017 vs his 2016 debut. In 2016, Pache posted a GB/FB ratio of 3.15 which by current analytical standards is atrocious. However, Pache spent all of 2017 as an 18-year-old in the Full-Season Low-A Sally League and hit 183 groundballs vs 100 flyballs for a much more respectable GB/FB ratio of 1.83. Add in his 72 line drives and his GB/FB+LD (Line Drive) ratio gets close to an even 1. For comparison, sabermetric GB/FB ratio juggernaut, Scott Kingery (arguably baseball’s best second base prospect), posted a GB/FB ratio of 0.74 and a GB/FB+LD ratio of 0.52. If Pache can continue to improve his GB/FB+LD as he continues to fill-out and put on weight, balls will start ending up on the other side of the fence (aided by his loose wrists and ability to stay back on the ball so he can drive the baseball with an athletic hip twitch).
Other notable advanced statistics posted by Pache as an 18-year-old in full-season ball include; a 20% K rate, 7.6% BB rate, and evidence that while he worked to hit more flyballs, it did not result in an excessive number of pulled balls as about 50% of his batted balls went to center or right field (similar to 2016). Look for mild improvements in K%, BB%, and GB/FB+LD ratio in the first half of 2018 to confirm that Pache continues to progress (a few balls will probably end up on the other side of the fence also). Expect 30+ stolen bases again but also an OPS near 800 as the XBH increase (~350 obp and ~450 slg).
As you’ve probably noticed, 3 players into 12 Toolsy Outfielders into the Series, some similarities are developing between the prospects being presented. Each player has plus speed, plus hand-eye coordination/plate discipline/pitch recognition skills that show clear commitment and knowledge to/of their craft from an early age and reliance on power projection being somewhat above consensus to propel the prospect to contribute positively in all rotisserie categories.