With news on Tuesday night that Atlanta Braves starting CF Cristian Pache would be headed to the IL with a strained left groin, that leaves the Braves with a current hole in center field with no clear-cut replacement should he miss extensive time.
The Atlanta Braves #1 prospect Cristian Pache left Tuesday’s game against the Marlins due to left groin tightness. While it is unsure how long he will be out, the Braves will have to find a replacement during that time.
While the Braves #1 prospect was still getting going in the major leagues, Pache wasn’t exactly the best from the plate only going 4/30 during the Braves first 11 games of the season. That can be replaced, and most likely easily will, but Pache’s absence will most likely hurt in another area.
The Atlanta Braves must replace Pache defensively.
Whoever replaces Pache may very well replace and even exceed the production at the plate, but will have to be good defensively.
Pache is elite defensively in center field with both the glove and the arm, and with Marcell Ozuna currently set in left field, the Atlanta Braves must put someone above average defensively in center.
The Atlanta Braves appear to not want to move Ronald Acuna Jr back to center, as they view him as one of the best defensive right fielders in baseball and rightfully so. Not only is Acuna elite with the glove, but has the arm strength and accuracy making him in right field a perfect fit.
Ozuna needs to remain in the lineup for his bat, and with no universal DH this season in the NL, Ozuna has to play in left. It is no secret that Ozuna doesn’t have the strongest arm, as we’ve seen a few teams so far this season run on him, which is why whoever the Atlanta Braves put in center must be able to not only patrol center, but be expected to help in left center with Ozuna.
Let’s take a look at four candidates to replace Pache in the Atlanta Braves lineup during the top prospect’s time on the IL.