Braves: Time for Cristian Pache to Get Another Shot

WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 07: Cristian Pache #25 of the Atlanta Braves runs off of the field after the first inning against the Washington Nationals in game two of a doubleheader at Nationals Park on April 7, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 07: Cristian Pache #25 of the Atlanta Braves runs off of the field after the first inning against the Washington Nationals in game two of a doubleheader at Nationals Park on April 7, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) /
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After a rough start for the Atlanta Braves in 2021 followed by an injury, it might be time to give Cristian Pache another shot in the big leagues. 

Entering the 2021 season there was a lot of pressure on Cristian Pache to perform. And when the Atlanta Braves got off to such a slow start, they couldn’t afford to have an empty at-bat at the bottom of the order.

Had the offense been functioning on all cylinders and the Braves winning games, you could have afforded the time for Pache to figure it out while playing Gold Glove level defense in center.

Coming into the year that’s what we were saying about him — who cares if he hits, this offense should be good enough to cover that up. We just need him to play great defense.

But the offense for Pache was probably even worse than we could have expected hitting .111 in 63 at-bats with 2 walks to 25 strikeouts.

Groin and hamstring strains didn’t help matters and cost him valuable time early on. Interestingly enough he played on 4/1-4/13 with the Braves and again from 5/1-5/13. And then he rejoined Gwinnett on June 1 — gotta make sure he’s back for the start of a month!

The results in June at Gwinnett were not great as he worked his way back from injury. He slashed .234/.300/.406 with 22 strikeouts in 64 at-bats.

In July he still wasn’t making a lot of great progress with the bat slashing .232/.318/.379 with 32 strikeouts in 95 at-bats.

But he’s completely turned that around in August slashing .313/.378/.537 with 19 strikeouts in 67 at-bats.

If you want to look over a little longer sample size, he’s hitting .296 with 7 home runs since July 8. His average went from .205 after Gwinnetts’ game on July 7 to .257 after their game on August 26.

That’s almost two months of really good production at the plate.

While I understand it’s still not a lot to go on, I think it might be time for him to get another shot.

Right now the Braves are currently running out Joc Pederson and Guillermo Heredia in center field on a nightly basis. Pederson has -2 DRS and Heredia 0.

Serviceable, but I wouldn’t feel comfortable with either in center for a postseason series.

Both are generally hitting eighth in the lineup. Heredia is batting .136 in August and Joc .200.

I’m honestly not sure Pache could do much worse at the plate, and at least he’d be giving you Gold Glove defense.

I understand Eddie Rosario was just added to the roster as well, making the outfield situation even more complicated.

But still, none of them have a tool as elite as Pache’s defense.

It probably makes the most sense to let Pache finish his development at Gwinnett and then call him up as rosters expand (you only get to add two roster spots).

Next. 1 Bullpen Arm to Target in FA. dark

At the very least, Pache needs to be a defensive replacement on the bench. But I’m not opposed to the Braves giving him another shot at the starting job this year to see if recent adjustments at the plate in Triple-A can translate at the big league level.