With Nick Markakis sidelined, and out until the middle of September, the recent promotions of Christian Pache and Drew Waters to Triple-A are eye opening. For now the team will continue to utilize Ronald Acuna, Ender Inciarte and Adam Duvall on most days, but it’s easy to envision one of the two youngsters forcing their way into the mix. Could they be difference makers down the stretch? Let’s take a look:
Double-A – .278 (109-392), 11 HR, 53 RBI, 50 R, 8 SB
The 20-year old added 28 doubles and 8 triples, showing some power potential, though there are obvious questions facing the right-handed swinger:
- Strikeouts – He posted a 24.0% strikeout rate courtesy of a 14.6% SwStr%
- Stolen Bases – There’s no question that he has speed, but he went 8-for-19 on stolen base attempts so he needs to learn to be much more efficient
That’s a lot that could be exposed against more advanced competition, but it’s his defense that could give him an edge (as per MLB.com):
“Pache might be the best defensive outfielder in the Minor Leagues at present and once he gets to the big leagues, he’ll immediately join a list of elite-level center fielders. His speed allows him to cover a tremendous amount of ground and his plus instincts, reads and routes allow that to play up even more. He has a gun for an arm to go with it that would more than work in right, though there is zero question he’s a Gold Glove caliber center fielder long-term.”
Ultimately he could become an intriguing mix of power and speed, with 20/30 type potential, but there’s a learning curve involved. Even if he gets the opportunity, it’s hard to bank on him making an instant impact offensively.
Double-A – .319 (134-420), 5 HR, 41 RBI, 63 R, 13 SB
His power hasn’t fully translated into games yet, though he’s added 35 doubles and 9 triples. Being a switch hitter works to his advantage, especially since he could make an impact from both sides of the plate (as per MLB.com):
“Waters has the chance to be an impactful hitter from both sides of the plate. Mechanical adjustments on his swing, particularly his stride, allowed him to be on time with his buggywhip stroke. He’s better from the left side currently, but has shown the ability to make hard contact and drive the ball both ways, with raw power sure to turn into more consistent in-game pop as he matures.”
While he’s been more effective on the bases his speed is a tick below that of Pache. With not as much upside in that department his ability to make contact is a little more magnified, and the fact that he struck out (26.7%) and swung and missed in general (16.8% SwStr%) is a serious concern. The numbers could balloon even more against more advanced pitching, and if he’s not making contact can he tap into his power (which isn’t fully developed) or speed?
It would seem that Pache has the higher upside to make an impact in ’19, though both players aren’t currently on the 40-man roster and therefore aren’t a guarantee to arrive. There will be potential value if they do, even if it’s just as a short-term flash in the pan type (because they could also easily be exposed), so keep a close eye on the situation just in case.
Sources – MLB.com, MILB.com, Fangraphs