Cristian Pache was clearly not what the Oakland A’s had hoped for in 2022.
Yes, he was brilliant defensively. And yes, he looked like a possible future Gold Glove winner in center. But there is no getting around the fact that he was terrible at the plate last season, his 34 OPS+ the worst of any player with at least 200 plate appearances.
A possible role for Cristian Pache on Oakland A’s
There are few ways to sugarcoat Pache’s performance. His .166/.218/.241 batting line over his 260 plate appearances was putrid. Amazingly, it was better than his career numbers to that point, so the A’s could hypothetically say that he improved. After all, it would be accurate in the strictest sense of the word.
But hidden in that performance was a possible silver lining. Pache posted a .220/.281/.317 batting line against left handed pitching last year with three doubles, a triple, and a homer. While that performance came in the small sample size of 89 plate appearances, it is at least something that the A’s can point to as a positive.
That performance may also give an idea as to his future. Pache’s glove is going to give him chances, but he will need to hit in order to stay in the lineup. Considering his relative success against lefties, he appears to be a possible platoon option in center, starting against lefties and serving as a defensive replacement otherwise.
It will be a disappointing result if that ends up being the case. Pache was one of the headliners in the Matt Olson trade, with the A’s hoping he could be a key part of their future. However, unless he take a dramatic step forward next year, that platoon/fourth outfielder role could be his ceiling.
Cristian Pache had a miserable year at the plate in 2022. His ability to somewhat handle lefties could lead to a platoon role moving forward.