The Arizona Fall League begins play on October 7th with six teams comprised of various prospects from all organizations in Major League Baseball. The Arizona Diamondbacks will be sending seven players assigned to the Salt River Rafters. We will spotlight one prospect per day up until play begins. Today’s player is catcher Peter O’Brien.
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Background: Drafted by the New York Yankees in the second round of the 2012 Draft from the University of Miami (FL). Named to Louisville Slugger’s Pre-Season All America Team before his his Senior season. Led the Hurricanes in many offensive categories despite missing the final 17 regular season games with a broken wrist. After being drafted, the 6-foot-3, 215 pound O’Brien played at two levels of professional ball ending 2012 with the Staten Island of the Low Class A New York-Penn League. He is a 24-year old lefty swinger with all kinds of power.
Minor League career: In 2013, O’Brien split time between two levels of A ball, Charleston and Tampa. He hit 22 homers and drove in 96 runs, batting .291 with an on-base percentage of .350 and slugging .544. Started 2014 at Class A Tampa and then was promoted to Double A Trenton. O’Brien hit 33 home runs with 70 RBI’s before being traded to the D’backs on July 31st in exchange for Martin Prado. He played in only four games for the Double A Mobile BayBears before a concussion ended his season.
Outlook: This will be O’Brien’s second straight year in the AFL. Listed as the D’backs #7 prospect according to mlb.com, he brings a ton of power to the lineup but with that comes a bevy of strikeouts. He doesn’t walk very much (21 in 399 at-bats in 2014). Defensively, catcher may not be his future position. While he has a strong arm, footwork is an issue. In the four games at Mobile, he also saw time at first base and right field leading to speculation that the D’backs, who are thin at catcher, are thinking of moving him at some point. O’Brien will be part of this Saturday’s Bowman Hitting Challenge, the first event of the AFL.