Arizona Diamondbacks Prospect Review: Peter O’Brien


He is the prospect of the Arizona Diamondbacks that is a legitimate power-hitter. Yet, it seems awfully difficult for Peter O’Brien to remain at one position. He was drafted as a catcher where he remained until the beginning of this year when the D-backs moved him to the outfield. However, because Arizona has a surplus of Major League outfielders, O’Brien is being returned to behind the plate so he can have an easier time making the team in 2016. Will the move help?

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How he came to the organization: The New York Yankees selected O’Brien in the second round of the 2012 Draft from the University of Miami (FL). He was named to Louisville Slugger’s Pre-Season All America Team before his his Senior season with the Hurricanes. O’Brien led the team in many offensive categories despite missing the final 17 regular season games with a broken wrist. After playing nearly three seasons in the New York organization, O’Brien came to the D-backs at the 2014 trading deadline in exchange for infielder Martin Prado.

Minor League career: After being drafted, the 6-foot-3, 215 pound O’Brien played at two levels of professional ball, ending 2012 with the Staten Island Yankees of the Low Class A New York-Penn League. 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. O’Brien started 2014 at Class A Tampa and then was promoted to Double A Trenton. He hit 33 home runs with 70 RBI’s before being traded to the D-backs. He played in only four games for the Double A Mobile BayBears before a concussion ended his season. In 2015, O’Brien came to Spring Training with the Snakes and ended up being assigned to Triple A Reno. He enjoyed a big season with the Aces, leading the league in RBI’s with 107 and finishing tied for second in home runs with 26, one behind Reno teammate Jamie Romak.

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Where he will be in 2016: O’Brien has to leave Spring Training as a member of the D-backs, doesn’t he? Based on last year’s performance, Welington Castillo is the starter at catcher. In theory, despite the recent trade for Chris Herrmann, the guy he will have to battle it out for the backup role is Tuffy Gosewisch, providing he is all the way back from knee surgery. There is really no other place for him to go. Starting at Triple A is of no use given the season he has already had there. Of course, there is one alternative: trading O’Brien while his value is pretty high. Or, the D-backs trade someone else (Castillo? Gosewisch?) and give O’Brien a more definitive role on the team.