Phillies 2024 Season Preview: OF Cristian Pache

The Phillies have a number of outfielders heading into the upcoming season. How much playing time will Cristian Pache see in 2024?

Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Cristian Pache will be in a battle for playing time off the bench this season
Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Cristian Pache will be in a battle for playing time off the bench this season / Tim Nwachukwu/GettyImages

Up next in our Philadelphia Phillies 2024 Season Preview series is outfielder Cristian Pache.

Previous season previews: José AlvaradoAndrew BellattiAlec BohmConnor BrogdonNick CastellanosRodolfo CastroKody ClemensJake CaveDylan CoveySeranthony Domínguez, Darick Hall, Kolby Allard, Bryce Harper, Jeff Hoffman, Orion Kerkering, Rafael Marchán, Brandon Marsh, Yunior Marté, Diego Castillo, Michael Mercado, McKinley Moore, Max Castillo, Nick Nelson, Aaron Nola, Luis Ortiz

We'll examine Pache's 2023 season and then evaluate projections for the 2024 season using the Steamer and ZiPS projection systems, which can be found on FanGraphs.

Cristian Pache 2023 stats and 2024 projections

2023 Stats: 48 G, 95 PA, 2 HR, 11 RBI, 2 SB, 10 BB, .238/.319/.417, .736 OPS, 0.5 fWAR

2024 Steamer: 50 G, 198 PA, 5 HR, 21 RBI, 4 SB, 15 BB, .229/.294/.376, .669 OPS, 0.1 fWAR

2024 ZiPS DC: 50 G, 217 PA, 4 HR, 22 RBI, 4 SB, 21 BB, .229/.305/.343, .648 OPS, 0.2 fWAR

Cristian Pache 2024 season preview

When the Philadelphia Phillies first acquired Cristian Pache at the beginning of the 2023 season, the young outfielder struggled through his first few games. Just as he was getting going at the plate, he tore his meniscus and required surgery, missing all of May. He was also placed on the injured list in July due to elbow irritation that led to him being out until September.

The injuries didn't help Pache's initial season with the Phillies. While he came up with some big hits here and there, his numbers were largely unimpressive. The 25-year-old did show some flashes of potential last season.

Projections for Pache heading into 2024 are lackluster. He is likely heading into the season as the fourth outfielder but could lose more playing time with the addition of Whit Merrifield — who is another right-handed bat who can play both the infield and outfield.

Steamer and ZiPS DC predict that Pache will play in around 50 games. Neither projection model indicates that he will improve much upon his 2023 season. In fact, both seem to predict a step back.

Pache isn't known as a power hitter so the low home run totals shouldn't come as a surprise. The projected slash lines for the outfielder come as a bit of a disappointment should they come to fruition. The club is not relying on Pache to hit over .300 or carry the offense, but both projection models predict that his OPS will drop below .700. Given his speed, the stolen base projections are a bit low as well.

Despite being a role player, the Phillies will hope to get more out of Pache in 2024 than Steamer and ZiPS DC project.

What will Pache's role be in 2024?

The Phillies' outfield dynamic for the upcoming season should be interesting. Kyle Schwarber will likely not see much time in left field this season now that Bryce Harper will be manning first base and he can now be the designated hitter.

Assuming Brandon Marsh is healthy and recovered from offseason knee surgery, he will get the majority of the time in left field. Nick Castellanos will play right field, barring any unforeseen circumstances. It appears that the club wants to give Johan Rojas every chance to start the season as the Opening Day center fielder, but both Dave Dombrowski and Rob Thomson indicated that he would have to earn the job this spring.

So where does that leave Pache? Being a right-handed bat, he could get some starts in left field against left-handed pitching if Marsh struggles to hit lefties this season. However, as alluded to earlier, the addition of Merrifield will likely take some of those at-bats away.

One thing that Pache has going for him is his defensive capabilities. He has shown that he is an above-average defensive outfielder, which adds value for the club. The former first-round pick's playing time will likely depend on his health and the health of the rest of the Phillies outfield.

Fifty games seems like a reasonable projection for playing time for the young outfielder. He will likely be part of a position battle this spring with Jake Cave as the outfield depth has grown. His ability to capitalize on the opportunities he gets will dictate his value as a role player going forward.