It is understandable that Oakland A’s fans would be underwhelmed with the return for Matt Olson. Cristian Pache is one of the headliners in that deal, and if one looks at his major league performance thus far, it is difficult to be excited about his inclusion. However, according to MLB.com, he now ranks as the A’s third best prospect, indicating that there is more to him than the numbers would suggest.
The A’s certainly hope that is the case. To say that Pache has underwhelmed in the majors would be an understatement, as he has just eight hits, including three doubles and a homer, in his 72 major league plate appearances, drawing two walks while striking out 27 times. Although he is just 23 years old, one would have expected better.
What do the Oakland A’s have in Cristian Pache?
Pache’s calling card, and the tool that will make certain he spends time in the majors, is his glove. He is viewed as a future Gold Glove winning outfielder, with MLB.com even giving him a rare 80 on the 20 to 80 scouting scale for his defense. With his plus-plus speed and impressive arm, Pache can be a difference maker in center.
The question has always been whether or not he would hit enough to be more than a fourth outfielder. He had appeared to have taken a step forward at the Braves’ alternate camp in 2020, showing better contact skills and an improved approach at the plate. However, that did not carry over into the 2021 campaign, either in the majors or at Triple-A.
If he can become more consistent with the bat, there Pache has the potential to be a solid every day outfielder. His raw power and impressive speed make him a possible 20-20+ candidate in his prime. But it is still a matter of bringing that potential to the forefront and making the most of his tools.
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Cristian Pache is still considered one of the top prospects in baseball. That does not mean that the Oakland A’s do not have their work cut out for them.