Cristian Pache has been a model of consistency in the batter's box this season. He's recorded 21 multi-hit performances through his first 65 games and hasn't endured a hitless drought beyond three games -- and even that happened just once. Still, the 20-year-old found a way to turn it up
Cristian Pache has been a model of consistency in the batter's box this season. He's recorded 21 multi-hit performances through his first 65 games and hasn't endured a hitless drought beyond three games -- and even that happened just once. Still, the 20-year-old found a way to turn it up a notch Thursday.
Atlanta's top prospect reached base five times -- collecting a pair of doubles and a single -- while driving in a season-high five runs as Double-A Mississippi coasted by Biloxi, 11-6, at MGM Park.
"He's just coming along very well," M-Braves skipper Chris Maloney said. "He's learning to lay off pitches, he's not really chasing anything anymore. It's just the maturation process coming along real nice. He's just a heck of an athlete, an elite center fielder, and he can just go get em out there. He's got some zip in his bat, but really he's figuring things out as we go here."
Pache extended his hitting streak to 10 games and his on-base streak to 13 games. The native of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic also jumped into the top four of several categories across the Southern League. Pache's 32 extra-base hits and 130 total bases rank second on the circuit while his 41 RBIs, 75 hits, .877 OPS and five triples stand third. His .518 slugging percentage is fourth among SL batters.
Against the Shuckers, the only time Pache did not reach base was after striking out against left-hander Cameron Roegner to lead off the game.
Gameday box score
MLB.com's No. 14 overall prospect got to Roegner in the third with a one-out double down the left-field line. He was stranded there after back-to-back punchouts of Atlanta's fifth-ranked prospect Drew Waters and Riley Unroe ended the frame.
Pache saw Roegner again in the next inning and worked a walk with two outs and the bases loaded that enabled No. 7 prospect William Contreras to cross the plate.
The 6-foot-2, 185-pound outfielder came to bat with the bases loaded again in the fifth -- this time against righty Nattino Diplan (1-1) -- and hammered a 2-2 pitch into center for a go-ahead, two-RBI single that broke a 4-4 tie and put Mississippi ahead for good.
"He rises to the occasion very well," Maloney said. "He's got a good feel for what pitchers are trying to do against him, and he does a great job of adjusting through an at-bat."
Pache worked a six-pitch walk in the seventh off 15th-ranked Brewers prospectDrew Rasmussen and finished his night with a two-run double to deep left in the eighth off righty Aaron Kurcz to cap the Braves scoring.
The five RBIs tied a career-high mark for Pache, who drove in five runs last year on June 1 with Class A Advanced Florida in a game at Clearwater. He finished with four knocks in that game and fell a triple shy of a cycle.
"This is a tough league for anyone, but especially a 20-year-old kid, and he's just been consistent," Maloney said. "You know, you see the same teams a lot and it becomes a game where they're very familiar with him, so he's really adjusting all the time and doing a great job.
"He's hit first or second all year for us and produces a lot of RBIs, he plays plus-defense, he's got a heck of an arm -- makes nice throws in big times. He's just a heck of a ballplayer. You love having a guy like that play for you."
His two doubles brought his season total to 18, tied for second-most in the SL with Biloxi's Patrick Leonard, and five behind leader -- and teammate -- Waters. Pache's .299 average ranks fifth on the circuit.
Pache recorded the only four-hit performance of his professional career on May 24. He earned his second straight MiLB.com Organization All-Star nod last year after splitting the season between Class A Advanced Florida and Mississippi, and finishing with a combined .279/.307/.410 slash line with 38 extra-base hits -- including a career-high nine taters -- 56 runs scored and 47 RBIs over 122 games.
Ryan Casteel went 4-for-5 with two doubles and a pair of runs scored for the Braves. Contreras finished with two hits, two runs and an RBI while Unroe clubbed his first dinger, singled, walked and scored twice. Mississippi finished with 14 hits.
Dillon Thomas collected three hits, including a triple, and a run for the Shuckers. C.J. Hinojosa laced a pair of doubles, walked twice, scored two times and drove in another run. Weston Wilson punched a two-RBI single, walked and scored.
Rob Terranova is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter, @RobTnova24.