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Diamondbacks: Will Peter O’Brien Return to Catching?

By Charles Rahrig V
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With the plethora of depth the Arizona Diamondbacks have in the outfield, will prospect Peter O’Brien return to the catcher position?


Peter O’Brien is one of the more talented prospects that the Arizona Diamondbacks have. He’s also a player without a position thanks to the tremendous depth that Arizona has. After being transitioned from catcher to an outfielder, reports have O’Brien wanting to return to the catcher position so he can get a shot at playing.

Is it that simple however? This is one of the many decisions the brain trust is going to have make in the off-season as they continue to shape the team into a contender. In the outfield, there is just no room at the moment for O’Brien. With A.J. Pollock becoming a superstar in the league and David Peralta blossoming into one, that leaves one corner outfield position for O’Brien. However, it’s doubtful there’s room for him there either.

With the last outfield position, the Diamondbacks have to decide whether or not they want to go with Yasmany Tomas, the holder of a very large contract, or Ender Inciarte, who is blossoming into one of the finest lead-off hitters in baseball.

It’s certainly possible that the team could make a move or two to clear up space in the outfield and trade from their surplus for a very good player, but it’s unlikely the team will give up any of their superstar outfielders. The depth in the outfield is most likely not going to change.

So that leaves the catcher position. Will O’Brien return to the catcher spot?

Tom Lynch

If there are no trades involving any of the D-backs’ outfielders, then Peter O’Brien will be a catcher in Spring Training. When you have three of them among the top 10 in batting average and the fourth signed to a long-term deal and producing as a rookie, there really isn’t a way to justify benching any of them. One of them would have to be dealt in order to open up a spot for O’Brien in the outfield. For a team that has scored the most runs in the National League and wanting to contend next year, it is hard to entrust that responsibility to a rookie unless he is someone like Kris Bryant which O’Brien is not.

But of course, at catcher is Welington Castillo who has been nothing sort of spectacular since his arrival in Arizona. It would be hard to make O’Brien the starter behind the plate given the season Castillo has had. He has earned the right to enter Spring Training as the number one guy. That leaves the backup spot which undoubtedly would lead to a competition with Tuffy Gosewisch. It is in this area where O’Brien could make the Opening Day roster. Gosewisch is coming off a major knee injury and if the club is looking for offense out of the backup catcher’s spot, the job would be O’Brien’s to lose.

Conclusion

It looks like it’s back to the catcher’s spot or elsewhere for O’Brien. There’s no doubt that O’Brien has immense talent, but the Diamondbacks might simply not have room for him on the roster. With that said, could the team cash in on his value while it’s extremely high?

As they search for pitching, that option might come into play. It won’t be easy for them to trade the prized prospect, but they very well could after looking at the state of their roster.

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