Spacious FSL Parks Give Cristian Pache Room To Roam
The Braves believe that one of the positive aspects of moving to the high Class A Florida State League last season was having players experience diamonds used in big league spring training. As a result, many FSL fields have considerably more territory to cover in the outfield.
That shouldn't be a problem for 19-year-old outfielder Cristian Pache.
"He’s an unbelievable center fielder,” assistant farm director Jonathan Schuerholz said. "His defense might be the best in our system, and people talk about Cristian being the best in the minor leagues.”
After watching Pache, who signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2015, hit .281/.335/.343 with 32 stolen bases in 119 games at low Class A Rome in 2017, Atlanta promoted him to high Class A Florida this year. He continued to impress in spring training, where he picked up pointers from former Gold Glover Andruw Jones.
"Cristian’s got a real bright future ahead of him,” said Randy Ingle, the Braves' on-field advisor for player development who managed Pache at Rome last year. "It’s impressive to see the way he goes about his business and his instincts for the game. We knew about the tools he had, because his tools are off the charts. But he can flat out play center field.”
Pache plays shallow, almost daring hitters to hit the ball over his head. He has a quick first step and plus speed that allows him to track down balls in the gaps with relative ease. He also possesses an above-average arm and accuracy on his throws.
Offensively, the righthanded-hitting Pache displays outstanding hand-eye coordination and a decent feel for the strike zone. The Braves want him to increase his walk total to take advantage of his top-of-the-scale speed. He regularly turns in run times to first base of 4.0 seconds.
"He hasn’t shown much power, but we saw a glimpse of it in instructional league this past fall,” Schuerholz said. ". . . We’re working on his launch angle. Once he taps into that power potential, he’ll have a chance to be an impact offensive and defensive center fielder.”
Mike Soroka Rewards Braves For Defying Convention
The Braves don't believe that curtailing workloads for young pitchers is beneficial, and Soroka provided a point in their favor.
>> At 20 years, eight months and two days, righthander Mike Soroka became the youngest Opening Day starter in Triple-A Gwinnett’s 10-year history. He tossed five shutout innings versus Charlotte to improve to 2-0, 0.47 with 25 strikeouts in five outings when debuting at a new level.
>> Lefthander Kolby Allard became the second-youngest starting pitcher in Gwinnett history at 20 years, seven months and 28 days when he made his season debut on April 10. Allard is older than only Julio Teheran, who was 20 years, two months and 12 days on April 8, 2011 versus Durham.