Cristian Pache career stats
Pache enters 2021 the clear front-runner for the team’s starting center-fielder job. He’s competing against veteran Ender Inciarte, who’s been up and down in recent seasons but has a track record.
It’s a friendly competition to Pache, who spoke glowingly of Inciarte on Wednesday.
“Every since my very first spring training, he’s always been offering advice, willing to help me, answering questions,” Pache said via team interpreter Franco Garcia. “It’s been a great relationship. He’s an awesome human being, terrific athlete. He’s always there to answer questions and help out. To me, I take pride in, and truly enjoy, taking the field together and training together.”
Pache’s defense alone will make him a valuable player. He projects as a perennial Gold Glove winner. Pache playing next to Ronald Acuna in right field gives the Braves a dynamic, exciting outfield that’s sure to provide highlights.
At the plate, Pache has untapped ability. He’s grown in recent years and could eventually show plus power. He said he’s learned the strike zone better and, as a result, the power will come along. If Pache develops as his profile suggests is possible, he has multi-time All-Star potential.
This season, Pache likely will be at the bottom of the lineup with little pressure. His greatest immediate value will be his defense and speed. His base running will be a focal point, with the Braves hoping he’ll become a more aggressive base stealer in the future. But his baseline talent perfectly fits these Braves, who are built on defense and athletic ability.
Pache noted two simplicities when asked what would make a successful 2021: health and opportunity. The first is always paramount. The second will undoubtedly be there, and barring an unexpected change, so will Pache in Philadelphia on April 1.