Peter O’Brien striking out at Adam Dunn levels

By Timothy Oakes

Peter O’Brien’s transition to the major leagues has not gone as well as many had hoped. He’s batting .140/.173/.380 in 16 games so far, with just four homers and eight RBI. He has particularly struggled against right-handed pitching, where he’s batting .133/.161/.233. 

Perhaps it is merely rookie anxiety, rooted in the pressure to prove himself. Rookies can often get overly agressive, lose focus, and not play comfortably because they are anxious to prove their worth. But in the short sample size of just 50 at-bats this season, O’Brien has channeled his inner Adam Dunn. He is beginning his career with his strikeout rate through the roof.

He has struck out in 42 percent of his at-bats. This is more than Mike Napoli, who leads all qualified hitters with a 34.7 percent mark. 

The rookie makes up for it with obvious power that has allowed him to scale through the franchise’s farm system. Four of his seven hits this season have come by way of the long ball. The Diamondbacks have been eagerly awaiting his power bat that he demonstrated in spring training this year. On March 23 he hit the fastest home run ever recorded by Statcast.

The talent is clearly there, and it should only be a matter of time before he figures out big-league hitters. But the Diamondbacks have a lot of young players and could very well look to mix in some veteran pieces. If O’Brien does not want to be used as a trade chip he better get it together sooner rather than later because Arizona will surely be active at the deadline.