Former Braves top prospect has found his footing with a division rival

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The Braves had really high hopes for Cristian Pache, even placing him on the Opening Day roster in 2021. Pache hit his first career MLB home run in the 2020 NLCS against the Dodgers, joining Ronald Acuña Jr., Brian McCann and Andruw Jones as Braves to hit a home run in the postseason at 21 years old or younger. His defense was his calling card, and he looked to be a future star for the Braves.

However, things didn’t work out that way. After struggling mightily in 2021, Pache was sent down to AAA and only appeared in 22 major-league games. The Braves then used him as a centerpiece in the Matt Olson trade. After only getting one season (91 games) in Oakland in 2022, the A’s cut ties with Pache — and it’s looking like it happened way too early.

Pache is now slashing .348/.348/.565/.983 with a 147 OPS+. While this will probably regress to the mean, he has really found himself in Philadelphia. The Phillies got him for basically nothing, and that’s thanks to the incompetence out in Oakland.

As you may have noticed, with his OBP and batting average being the same, Pache has yet to take a walk in 2023. Still, the kid is hitting and playing great defense, and although he’s on the Phillies, I can’t help but be happy for Pache. He loved it in Atlanta and was heartbroken when he was traded. That’s part of doing business, but I was an advocate of the Braves trying to get Pache back when Oakland put him on waivers. Regardless, he is playing like an everyday MLB starter — and a pretty good one at that.

Photo: Randy Litzinger/Icon Sportswire

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