Peter O'Brien

Peter O'Brien wants to catch again

Peter O'Brien has told the Diamondbacks that he wants to return to the catcher position.

O'Brien had the yips when trying to throw the ball back to the pitcher earlier this season and eventually moved to the outfield. He doesn't think it will be an issue anymore, though, and he and the D'Backs would both like him to take another crack at things behind the plate. O'Brien would certainly make for a much more interesting prospect if he can stick at catcher.

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Peter O'Brien getting work at catcher

While he hasn't played much since being recalled, Diamondbacks catcher Peter O'Brien has been doing catching drills with the Diamondbacks coaching staff and the team remains open to him returning behind the plate, reports Nick Piecoro of The Arizona Republic.

O'Brien last caught in a game for Triple-A Reno on May 29 before playing the rest of the season in the outfield, but it sounds like the D-Backs are still not prepared to give up on the idea of him as a catcher.

While adding catcher eligibility would, this remains a very tentative proposition based on this report. It will be worth keeping an eye on O'Brien's position if he plays in any off-season or winter leagues, and of course where he lines up in spring training 2016.

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WATCH: D-backs prospect Peter O'Brien crushes HR to dead center

During the course of Friday night's Pacific Coast League encounter between Memphis and host Reno, Diamondbacks outfielder/catcher Peter O'Brien did the following to an oncoming baseball ...

And the people say: "Whoa and golly."

As you can see and as you were informed, O'Brien hit that ball well clear of the batter's eye in deep center field. Yes, Reno is a hitter's haven, but that's a bomb in any context. Some perspective from the team prez ...

Indeed, the word from on high is that O'Brien Trumbo'd the snot out of that ball. That was the 25-year-old's 25th homer of the season and 91st across parts of four minor-league seasons. Don't be surprised if he makes his way to Arizona after the rosters expand.

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Peter O'Brien Named PCL's Top Star in All-Star Game

OMAHA, Nebraska -- At the end of the Triple-A All-Star Gameicon1, things got really exciting.

The International League rallied for three runs Wednesday night for a come-from-behind 4-3 winicon1 over the Pacific Coast League at Werner Park.

The top of the ninth inning began with Syracuse's Jason Martinson (Nationals) drawing a leadoff walk. Then Round Rock right-hander Jon Edwards (Rangers) hit Columbus' Tyler Holt (Indians) with a pitch. Lehigh Valley's Tyler Henson (Phillies) singled to load the bases. Two batters later, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre's Kyle Roller (Yankees) singled back up the middle to tie the gameicon1, 3-3, on a 2-1offering by Edwards.

"These guys in front of me did a great job," Roller said, who was named the MiLB Top Star for the IL. "They did whatever they could to get on base and kind of set the stage for me. I was happy to be in that situation to try to help my teamicon1 to victory."

The first baseman, who went 2-for-2 with a walk and two RBIs, said he hit a slider on the clutch single.

"He was throwing a lot of sliders," Roller said. "I knew once he threw me a 2-0 slider that it was his pitch, and I looked for a pitch in the zone to do some damage."

That knocked Edwards from the game. With Omaha's Louis Coleman (Royals) on the mound, Henson lofted a soft single to center on a 1-0 pitch for the go-ahead run.

"He's a sinker ball guy -- a ground ball guy, obviously, by his arm angle," Henson said. "With men on first and third, I was just trying to get a ball in the air and I got enough for it to fall in."

PCL/Storm Chasers manager Brian Poldberg didn't have any second thoughts about waiting to bring in Coleman.

"He was going to be our closer from the get-go," Poldberg said. "The plan was to get him in with two outs, but we had to cover the 10th inning in case there was a tie. Everything went right as planned, but some days you're going to get it done, and some days you're not."

The crowd of 9,023 barely had a chance to get settled into their seats in the first inning when Rochester's James Beresford (Twins) tripled for the IL and Buffalo's Matt Hague (Blue Jays) droveicon1 him in with a single up the middle for the first run of the game.

The PCL struck back in the sixth when Albuquerque's Cristhian Adames (Rockies) belted an opposite-field home runicon1 down the left-field line with the wind blowing in on the first pitch of the inning to tie the game.

Then Reno's Peter O'Brien (D-backs) gave the PCL its first lead of the night with a two-run homer to left field. On his 25th birthday and after falling short in the finals of Monday's Home Run Derby, Arizona's No. 7 prospect was named the Top Star for the PCL.

Iowa's Carlos Pimentel (Cubs) got the start for the home squad. He gave up one run on two hits in the first two innings. New Orleans' Andre Rienzo (Marlins), Memphis' Dean Kiekhefer (Cardinals), Fresno's Tyson Perez (Astros), Colorado Springs' David Goforth (Brewers), Oklahoma City's Ryan Buchter (Dodgers) and New Orleans' Nick Wittgren (Marlins) shut down the IL for the next six innings. Edwards took the loss.

Charlotte's Erik Johnson (White Sox) started for the IL. He tossed two innings of scoreless ball before IL/Syracuse manager Billy Gardner Jr. handed the ball to Norfolk's Michael Bowden (Orioles), Rochester's Taylor Rogers (Twins) and Gwinnett's Carlos Fisher (Braves) -- all of whom threw scoreless innings. The Red Wings' A.J. Achter picked up the win by securing the finalicon1 out of the eighth.

"I think that's the definition of coming in and sneaking a win right there," Achter said. "For me, it was a little bit of redemption. I kind of had a rough All-Star Game in Durham last year. I didn't record an out -- faced two batters, so it's pretty rewarding.

"At the same time, it's a great time with a great group of guys."

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Peter O'Brien finishes 2nd in Triple-A home run derby

Diamondbacks' farmhand Peter O'Brien's already legendary power wowed the crowd in Monday night's Triple-A Home Run Derby in Omaha, Neb., but it wasn't enough to bring home the grand prize.

O'Brien, an outfielder for the Reno Aces, hit 13 home runs in the first round of the competition -- the most prolific display of the night -- but he had just seven in the next two rounds and finished second to Orioles' prospect Dariel Alvarez, an outfielder for Norfolk.

Alvarez hit six home runs in the final round to finish with 21 on the night. O'Brien hit five in the final round but came up short on his final four swings.

Jamie Romak, O'Brien's teammate at Reno, finished third. He belted three homers in the first round and 10 in the second.

The competition also included Indians minor-leaguer Jesus Aguilar, White Sox minor-leaguer Matt Davidson and Padres minor-leaguer Cody Decker in addition to a pair of high school sluggers from the Nebraska area: Alex Bohm and Jack Kalina.

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Peter O'Brien to participate in Triple-A HR Derby

Arizona Diamondbacks Triple-A prospect Peter O'Brien will participate in the Triple-A All-Star Home Run Derby, the organization announced Tuesday.

O'Brien, who has 15 home runs for the Reno Aces this season, will participate in the event on July 13 in Omaha, Neb.

This is the third straight season that the Aces have had a participant in the Home Run Derby, as O'Brien joins Mike Jacobs (2014) and Matt Davidson (2013). Davidson, who won the event in 2013, will be a part of the 2015 field as well.

O'Brien, 24, hit 34 home runs in the minor leagues last season, and has hit 81 career home runs in 356 minor league games.

The former Yankees farmhand was acquired in the deal that shipped former Arizona third baseman Martin Prado to New York at the 2014 MLB trade deadline.

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Peter O'Brien Named All-Star Starter

RENO – Reno Aces (@Aces) outfielder Peter O’Brien and infielder Jamie Romak have been named to the Pacific Coast League All-Star Team as starters, the PCL announced today.

The Aces have had at least one All-Star starter since the club’s first season in 2009 and it is the fourth time in the last five years the Aces have had multiple starters.

The 28th annual Triple-A All-Star Game will be played Wednesday, July 15, at Werner Park in Omaha, Nebraska at 5:00 p.m. PST. The PCL All-Stars, made up of 30 players from the 16 PCL teams, will compete against the International League All-Stars.

O’Brien, 24, is hitting .281 with 60 RBI, 43 runs scored, 20 doubles and 15 home runs in 74 games in 2015. He is among PCL league leaders in total bases (149 – 3rd), RBI (T-3rd), home runs (T-3rd), hits (80 – T-7th), slugging percentage (.523 – 9th) and doubles (T-10th).

The Arizona Diamondbacks (@Dbacks) honored O’Brien with its Organizational Player of the Month Award in April when he hit .383 with 20 RBI, 17 runs scored, 7 home runs and 7 doubles. It’s the third midseason honor for O’Brien who was named a South Atlantic League midseason All-Star in 2013 and an Eastern League midseason All-Star in 2014.

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Peter O'Brien draws powerful comparisons

When it comes to comparisons, baseball is king. Front office personnel as well as managers and coaches love to compare a rising prospect to a household name.

Rarely do those comparisons come to fruition. But, sometimes, when talking about one specific aspect of a young player's game a comparison can be spot on.

In that regard, when it comes to the prodigious power Diamondbacks prospect Peter O'Brien possesses, the names Mark McGwire, Mike Piazza and Wily Mo Pena came up in a KRNV report out of Reno.

"There's no explanation for the sound, I can't really tell you what it is," Triple-A Reno manager Phil Nevin told the TV station. "It's a different one. It almost sounds like it's a tennis ball coming off the bat.

"Mark McGwire was one and Mike Piazza is another one. Those are sounds you don't forget when you're playing against somebody on the field and when you hear those things happen when you're standing around the cage as a coach -- it catches your eye."

Reno Aces radio broadcaster Ryan Radtke offered his own comparison.

"It's almost like a gunshot," Radtke said. "You hear balls off the bat in batting practice and it's just the sound of the ball coming off the bat. When it comes off his bat you turn to look because there's that different sound. Was that a baseball? Or was that something else? It's just amazing.

"He's the only guy that I have ever compared to Wily Mo Pena. If you watch the balls that Peter O'Brien hit he has ridiculous power. It's really a lot of fun to watch."
Pena hit 21 home runs in 63 games with Reno in 2011.

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Peter O'Brien not giving up catching yet?

Diamondbacks general manager Dave Stewart said Monday that a decision has not been made as to whether prospect Peter O'Brien has given up catching and become a full-time outfielder.

The Triple-A Reno Aces' official Twitter account tweeted Sunday that O'Brien had "made the decision" to give up catching and it was later confirmed by the D'Backs. The tweet has since been deleted and now Stewart is saying nothing is final yet. "We're never going to let a player dictate to us what he wants to do," Stewart said. "We'll sit down and, as a group, discuss and talk about what we should be doing and what the best direction is for a player." O'Brien's throwing from the catcher position has returned to normal after he had the yips in spring training. Still, it sure seems like his future is in the outfield even if the decision isn't official yet. He's batting .339/.377/.634 with 12 homers and 47 RBI over 49 games for Reno this season.

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Peter O'Brien a rare talent

RENO, Nev. ( & KRNV) -- Reno Aces slugger Peter O'Brien is proving to be one of the game's best rising young stars. 

He ranks at or near the top of the leaderboard in the Pacific Coast League in batting average, extra base hits, home runs and RBI's. 

But to get a real glimpse of just how good he can be, it's the sounds that tell the story - not the numbers.  And the sound that the ball makes when O'Brien is behind the stick - is something special.

"There's no explanation for the sound, I can't really tell you what it is," said Aces Manager Phil Nevin.  "It's a different one.  It almost sounds like it's a tennis ball coming off the bat."

"It's almost like a gunshot," explained team radio broadcaster Ryan Radtke. "You hear balls off the bat in batting practice and it's just the sound of the ball making coming off the bat.  When it comes off his bat you turn to look because there's that different sound.  Was that a baseball? Or was that something else?  It's just amazing."

At just 24 years old (he'll turn 25 in July), O'Brien could develop into one of baseball's next best home run hitters.  Nevin, a veteran Major Leaguer with 12 years of experience, compared his power to that of two of the best sluggers over the past couple of decades.  

"Mark McGwire was one and Mike Piazza is another one," Nevin said.  "Those are sounds you don't forget when you're playing against somebody on the field and when you hear those things happen when you're standing around the cage as a coach - it catches your eye."

Radtke, who has been behind the mic for the team since the franchise arrived in Reno, offered another comparison.

"He's the only guy that I have ever compared to Wily Mo Pena," he said.  "If you watch the balls that Peter O'Brien hit he has ridiculous power."

"It's really a lot of fun to watch."

The only thing stopping his progression to the majors is finding a place for him defensively.  He's bounced around from catching, to the outfield, and both corner infield spots.  But once he does find a spot, he will finally realize his dream of playing in the big leagues, something he's thought about since he started playing as a kid.

"I've know that and I've had that image in my head since I was two years old and started playing baseball," O'Brien said.  "I feel great, and I'm extremely confident that I have what it takes to play at the next level."

Nevin has little doubts too.

"There's really no ceiling on what his potential is, what he future is going to be," he added.  "You don't see bats like that come around very often. "

"It's a special, special bat."

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Diamondbacks confirm prospect Peter O’Brien is now a full-time outfielder

The catching-starved Diamondbacks intend to move forward with prospect Peter O’Brien playing the outfield on a full-time basis,’s Steve Gilbert reports. O’Brien went into May without having caught a game at Triple-A Reno, but went behind the plate intermittently as the month went on and the Diamondbacks’ catching situation worsened with Tuffy Gosewisch‘s ACL injury.

O’Brien, 24, is hitting .341/.382/.653 with 12 home runs and 46 RBI in 191 plate appearances with Reno thus far, his first taste of Triple-A competition. The Diamondbacks acquired him from the Yankees at the deadline last July in the Martin Prado trade.

The D-Backs will use Jarrod Saltalamacchia as their regular catcher with Jordan Pacheco serving as the back-up.

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D-Backs' Hale on Peter O'Brien: 'Another guy pushing the envelope'

Diamondbacks manager Chip Hale indicated Wednesday that prospect Peter O'Brien is getting closer to joining the major-league roster, per MLB Network Radio.

"He's catching and doing a nice job," Hale said. "He looks good back there. His at-bats have been great and he is another guy pushing the envelope."

O'Brien has a .346/.383/.660/1.043 slash line in 41 games with Triple-A Reno this season. He also has two triples, 11 home runs, 13 doubles and 45 RBI.

O'Brien has moved all around the diamond this season. He has played 13 games in left field, 11 games in right field, nine games at catcher, four at DH and three at first base.

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Peter O'Brien flourishing in the outfield at Triple-A

Diamondbacks prospect Peter O'Brien seems to be adjusting to life in the outfield well. O'Brien was originally drafted by the Yankees in 2012, but was traded to Arizona at last year's trade deadline.

Though he came into professional baseball as a catcher, the Yankees started moving him around to different positions, including third base and right field. Late in spring training the Diamondbacks decided to shift him primarily to the outfield so he could focus more on his hitting.

"Catching is a lot of fun, but I really enjoy the outfield and I definitely think that my bat is my biggest strength," O'Brien said, per the Arizona Republic. "I think that plays a little bit better in the outfield."

Now with Triple-A Reno, O'Brien is hitting better than ever. Through his first 27 games, the 24-year-old owns a .369/.393/.709 hitting line with eight home runs and 28 RBI.

"It kind of cleared my mind a little bit and let me be in the lineup every single day and focus more on the bat," he said. "It's been great so far. When we made the move in spring training, it's kind of exactly what I had in mind."

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Peter O'Brien Could Be In Consideration Of A Call Up

Peter O'Brien was white hot at the plate at the beginning of the week. The right fielder had consecutive three-hit games Monday and Tuesday and homered in three straight contests. For the week, O'Brien hit .417 (10-for-24) with three homers and six RBI.

O'Brien is currently second in the PCL in home runs (6),RBI (18) and slugging percentage (.739) and third in batting average (.377)

He could be in consideration for a call-up from the parent club as the D-backs scored only two runs while getting swept by the Pittsburgh Pirates over the weekend.

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Peter O'Brien will remain in outfield for now

SAN DIEGO -- Peter O'Brien is off to a strong offensive start while playing left field at Triple-A Reno, and the Diamondbacks plan to leave him there or at first base for the time being.

Catching remains a career option, but the D-backs want to get O'Brien a little further removed from the throwing issues that cropped up late in spring training before putting him back behind the plate.

The idea, as D-backs manager Chip Hale said, "is just to kind clear his head, let him get off to a good offensive start."

That O'Brien has done. "He has been killing it offensively," Hale said.

O'Brien homered in the first at-bat of his Triple-A career on the first day of the season April 9 and had his first career four-hit game Sunday. He had two doubles, a homer and four RBI in his first six games, and his nine hits were one short of the Pacific Coast League leaders.

O'Brien hit 39 homers in four stops last season, and the D-backs believe he made great strides behind the plate last fall and this spring. They but also are conscious of the weight the throwing issue may have carried, and do not want it to compromise his production.

"Even just the catching part of it ... now he gets to get out there and have his at-bats. Instead of sitting on the bench, he can play every day this way," Hale said. "He had come a long way catching and gaining the trust of the pitchers. I really feel at some point there could be a chance to get back there again and be a quick remake."

O'Brien will play some first base as well, Hale said, where he played about half the time in most recent Arizona Fall League season.

Whatever his position, his bat will play a role. "If he hits, he'll find a way here," Hale said.

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Diamondbacks' Peter O'Brien plays the outfield

Peter O'Brien came into spring training with a chance to win the Diamondbacks' catching job, but he was in left field on Thursday afternoon in a minor league game, the second consecutive day he has played the outfield.

O'Brien hasn't been behind the plate since throwing problems developed earlier this month. In several consecutive games in big league camp, O'Brien struggled to throw the ball back to the pitcher. The problems persisted after being re-assigned to the minors.

"I think he's going to play some outfield (once the minor league season starts) and catching isn't out of the question, but we're still talking internally to figure out what's best for him," farm director Mike Bell said.

In January, General Manager Dave Stewart said he wasn't pursuing catching help via trade in part because of the team's belief O'Brien was their catcher of the future. Though other clubs did not believe in his catching abilities — opinions formed before the throwing problems developed — the Diamondbacks thought he needed more reps at the position after bouncing among catcher, third base, first base and the outfield in his minor league career.

Club officials and coaches have been reluctant to publicly acknowledge O'Brien's issues.

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Diamondbacks' manager: Peter O'Brien to see work at other positions in minor leagues

When the Arizona Diamondbacks acquired catcher Peter O'Brien from the New York Yankees last summer in exchange for Martin Prado, he came to the organization billed as an excellent power hitting prospect whose future was not behind the plate.

The D-backs, though, insisted that he could succeed as a backstop, and earlier this month chief baseball officer Tony La Russa talked about how O'Brien had been improving every day.

"I've seen a guy who is very smart, very tough, very talented, and has a fierce desire to work and learn, which are great traits for a catcher," he said.

Things are a bit different a few weeks later.

O'Brien, who hit .250 with two RBI in spring training, has been reassigned to minor league camp, and while he's there it looks like the 24-year-old will be getting work at some new positions.

"I think he's going to go down and he's going to play, not that they're going to move him all around, but I think they're going to let him play a little bit at other places just to start out with and then get back behind the plate," D-backs skipper Chip Hale told Burns and Gambo on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM Tuesday. "I think he just needs a little break and he's going to dictate some of this. We're going to have some meetings here down the stretch and talk to him."

In three minor league seasons, along with catcher O'Brien has seen action at third base, first base and right field, with varying degrees of success.

But if nothing else, the 6-foot-3, 215-pound prospect has power, as evidenced by the 66 home runs he's hit in 1,058 professional at-bats.

So even if he ultimately can't hack it at catcher, the organization will do all it can to get him on the field somewhere so he can be in their lineup.

"He's such a good prospect for us, we want that bat to play," Hale said, comparing O'Brien's situation to that of Yasmany Tomas. "We need to see the bat play and then we'll find a spot because his camp, we felt like he received and handled the pitching staff really well but he just wasn't swinging the bat at all, so we need to see that come back at Reno."

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Peter O'Brien's swing, not catching, leads to minor league re-assignment

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The Diamondbacks on Sunday assigned catcher Peter O'Brien to minor league camp in their latest roster cut. But it wasn't because of O'Brien's still-developing and sometimes shaky work behind the plate.

According to Arizona manager Chip Hale, it was O'Brien's biggest strength, his swing, that didn't serve him well enough to continue the fight for a roster spot.

"We're pretty happy with what we're seeing for the four (catchers) who are left, and we just felt it's time for him to go get more at-bats and get ready for the season," Hale said. "Big guys with longer limbs need to get their swings right. You don't want to start them off slow."

The decision to send O'Brien to the minors delays his free agent clock, as FOX Sports Arizona's Jack Magruder pointed out last week.

Tuffy Gosewisch and Gerald Laird appear to be favorites to make the Opening Day roster, but the D-backs will continue to take a look at Blake Lalli and Jordan Pacheco, who have value with their ability to play other positions. Pacheco could play in the infield or outfield. Also being calculated into the 25-man roster come the regular season is Oscar Hernandez, the Rule 5 pick currently out while he recovers from a hand injury. He must be part of the roster when he's off the disabled list, otherwise Arizona must offer him back to Tampa Bay or work out some other compensation.

Hale said O'Brien's catching issues -- including a few instances where he failed to return the ball to the pitcher -- aren't as concerning as his swing. O'Brien was coveted in last season's Martin Prado trade with the New York Yankees because of his bat, but he never got ahold of a pitch to show his pure power that led to 24 home runs in 76 games in Double-A last year.

O'Brien put up a .250/.250/.323 line in 28 at-bats this spring, tallying seven hits, all singles.

Hale said the team had yet to discuss O'Brien's future. The Diamondbacks appear willing to work with him as a catcher moving forward, but if his swing finds a rhythm, there's always a chance they'll attempt to find another spot for him.

"If he's a potential 30-, 40-home run guy with 100 RBI; we need him to play a lot," Hale said. "Is that at catcher or is that somewhere else?"

The D-backs won't need to answer that question until O'Brien gets his bat going.

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D-backs sure O'Brien can fix arm woes

When the D-backs acquired Peter O'Brien from the Yankees in a trade deadline deal last summer, they knew the catcher could hit. His defense presented some different quandaries, and another has reared up in recent days.

The organization and observers aren't ready to dub it a case of the dreaded "yips," but O'Brien has shown some struggles in getting the ball accurately back to the pitcher's mound and elsewhere around the diamond. According to a report Monday from, Arizona's No. 8 prospect didn't get the ball back to his pitcher accurately at least four times in a Minor League game last Thursday. The problem flared up again Sunday with over six more errant throws, including some to third base after bases-empty strikeouts.

The catcher was unfazed by the issue when asked this week, saying, "I played a lot of different positions last year and had a lot of different arm angles. Now being back behind the plate full time, it's making sure I keep my arm slot consistent back there and keep throwing it and keep the tempo of the game up. It happens. It's part of the game. I'm looking to keep working on it and keep getting better and keep firing the ball."

On Wednesday at the D-backs offices at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, Arizona director of player development Mike Bell echoed that sentiment.

"He'll take care of it," Bell said. "It is a challenging game when you're bouncing around from position to position. There are different arm angles. He'll be fine with it and put the work into it that he needs to. He's done a good job."

O'Brien played first base, catcher and right field and served as a designated hitter in 106 combined games between the New York and Arizona systems last year. The 24-year-old was chasing the Minor League home run lead when he fouled a ball off his shin in just his fourth game as a member of the D-backs organization in August. He missed the rest of the year but appeared in 25 Arizona Fall League games, batting .256/.393/.512 for Salt River.

O'Brien started in Thursday night's Major League game for Arizona and went 0-for-3 with a walk.

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Diamondbacks' Peter O'Brien working on throwing issues

Diamondbacks catcher Peter O'Brien has had plenty of throwing issues this spring, which is problematic considering the position he plays.

Simple things such as tossing the ball back to the pitcher or throwing the ball to third base after a strikeout have been wild. Via the Arizona Republic, O'Brien said he is working on gaining better control when throwing the ball.

"It's part of the game," O'Brien said. "We throw the baseball so much. I've been working on it, getting it under control and making sure I keep the tempo of the game up and keep working from there."

O'Brien chalked up the issues to playing a lot of different positions a year ago. Now that he's behind the plate, he said it's just a matter of repetition.

"I played a lot of different positions last year and had a lot of different arm angles," he said. "Now being back behind the plate full time, it's making sure I keep my arm slot consistent back there and keep throwing it and keep the tempo of the game up.

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Diamondbacks' Peter O'Brien working on defense

Diamondbacks catcher Peter O'Brien has been in Arizona since Jan. 6 working on his defense, reports.

"I've always had a strong arm, but the biggest thing has been being able to use it," O'Brien said. "I'm trying to get a little more momentum going toward second base and that's definitely helped me out and my direction, just trying to shorten up those feet and trying to be more direct in line to second base."

Diamondbacks pitching prospect Archie Bradley, who has worked with O'Brien at Double-A Mobile and in the Arizona Fall League, has noticed the improvements in O'Brien's game.

"The improvements he's made catching, throwing guys out, his footwork, everything [is better]," Bradley said. "He's obviously a very gifted athlete, but to see him put in the work and to see the improvements he's made, it doesn't surprise me at all. He's improved a lot."

Battling to win the starting catcher job this spring, O'Brien is 4 for 9 with three walks in five games.

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Chip Hale thinks Peter O'Brien can catch in majors

Diamondbacks manager Chip Hale said Saturday of Peter O'Brien that he's "seen nothing that shows he can't be a frontline catcher in the big leagues."

"He's caught, he's blocked, he's received the ball well and he's thrown well," Hale added. Most scouts seem to think O'Brien won't be a long-term catcher, but the D'Backs have been adamant about him staying behind the plate. The 24-year-old is intriguing because of his power and could become the team's catcher sooner rather than later.

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Peter O'Brien collects two hits, RBI in spring game

Peter O'Brien went 2-for-3 with an RBI single in a win over the Rockies Wednesday.

O'Brien is a highly touted catching prospect, and he got off on the right foot Wednesday. His RBI single in the sixth inning got the Diamondbacks on the board, and he finished with two hits on the day. With the D'backs trading away Miguel Montero over the winter, it's not out of the question that the 24-year-old could break camp with the club. His defense is still a work in progress but O'Brien slammed 34 homers in the minors last season, so his power potential is undeniable.

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D-backs fans buzzing over Peter O'Brien's power

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Mark Grace sounded part TV announcer, part stadium emcee and part assistant hitting coach. As he led eight Diamondbacks catchers split into two teams through a game simulation hitting session on Tuesday, Grace called the score and result of each at-bat -- a playful interaction with fans who had showed up at Salt River Fields to keep tabs on the competition.

Save for one instance, when the D-backs on hand gave the 35-year-old Gerald Laird grief after a surprising home run, Grace turned around every time a ball left the park.

"That's Peter O'Brien, folks," he said to the crowd.

Peter O'Brien, a 24-year-old catcher with a powerful bat, sent four home runs over the left-field fence and into the

parking lot.

D-backs manager Chip Hale approaches such results with cautious optimism until his hitters see live pitching. Yet, the fact that the rest of the catching crew weren't launching balls over the wall with such ease said something about where O'Brien stands. He's a power hitter playing catch-up at catcher.

A full season in the minors behind the plate last season has him confident he's up to snuff with the other seven catchers in camp, though his lack of experience catching major-league pitchers would seemingly put him at a disadvantage.

"I feel every time you have a tool that stands out, there's going to be something someone talks about negatively," O'Brien said of the scouting report on him. "I've always been an under

Acquired in the trade last season that sent Martin Prado to the New York Yankess, O'Brien hit a combined .271/.316/.594 with 34 home runs for Single-A Tampa and two Double-A teams. He hit a home run every 11.7 at-bats, and his home runs accounted for 31 percent of his total hits.

His 111 strikeouts (and only 21 bases on balls) are an indication of one area he'll need to improve upon as he progresses up the ladder to face the world's best pitchers, but the D-backs already saw some of that in the Arizona Fall League. O'Brien had five home runs in 86 Fall League at-bats and walked 17 times, along with 24 strikeouts.

The catching is the question mark, but the Diamondbacks sound as if they believe he has what it takes. Logically, it would seem some more full-time work behind the plate in the minor leagues would be beneficial, but the D-backs don't want to rush to judgment.

"He's been here since the first of the year, being dedicated to improving his catching skills," general manager Dave Stewart said. "We've got the rest of this month and all of March to really get the work in, but one thing he's done is he's not shied away from the work. He's received instruction very well."

The work ethic goes beyond the baseball field. 

Yin Yoga is a big part of O'Brien's offseason training regimen, and it helps hip flexibility and mobility. 

"We were out there pretty early in January doing bare-hand stuff and working on my exchange and my footwork and my receiving and a lot of flexibility stuff in the weight room. The flexibility is definitely the big thing because I'm a bigger guy," said O'Brien, who measures 6-feet-3 and 215 pounds.

Now it's putting those things to practical use on the field.

D-backs president and CEO Derrick Hall said he senses that fans are eagerly watching the competition among the catching candidates -- and in particular O'Brien and Rule 5 draftee Oscar Hernandez, and manager Hale has picked up on that, too.

"One thing I learned early on when I was a player with the Minnesota Twins ... we're entertaininers," Hale said of O'Brien. "He can do that with the best of them."

And he added one warning to those fans driving to and from Salt River Fields while O'Brien is taking batting practice: "You got to be careful where you drive."

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Peter O'Brien making noise in D'Backs camp

According to's Steve Gilbert, Peter O'Brien's batting practice sessions have become must-see events for players and executives in Diamondbacks camp.

O'Brien slugged 34 home runs in 106 games last season between High-A and Double-A. There are major questions about his defense behind the plate, but his offensive potential could guide him quickly up the Diamondbacks' shaky catching depth chart. O'Brien was acquired from the Yankees last July in the Martin Prado trade. He appears poised to make his MLB debut at some point in 2015.

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Peter O'Brien turning heads at D-backs camp

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- It can get a little slow during the first week of Spring Training when it is just pitchers and catchers in camp, but this year at Salt River Fields, D-backs catcher Peter O'Brien has made batting practice a must-see event.

O'Brien, acquired from the Yankees last July 31 in exchange for Martin Prado, is likely to start the season in the Minors, but the team loves his bat and believes he is improving enough defensively where he can stay behind the plate.

A number of front office executives came out to the field to watch O'Brien hit Tuesday and after he blasted one off the batter's eye in center, former D-backs outfielder Luis Gonzalez joked with coaches behind the cage saying, "Hang in there. The power will come soon."

O'Brien heard that comment loud and clear.

"It's pretty funny when guys joke like that, so I like it," O'Brien said.

Fellow catcher Tuffy Gosewisch said O'Brien's power is no laughing matter.

"I think he's on a different level," Gosewisch said. "Sometimes there's guys in BP where you see them hit a few home runs and you might yourself try to hit some home runs to match them, but he's on another level and it's fun to watch. You can hear [it], [the ball] just sounds different coming off his bat. There's a few guys in the game that have that sound, and he's one of them. He's got some kind of power."

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Diamondbacks' Peter O'Brien could be the answer

For the better part of a decade, the Diamondbacks haven't had to worry much about with their catching situation. Since Chris Snyder emerged as the everyday guy in 2007 and after Miguel Montero overtook him in 2009, the Diamondbacks have, more years than not, rated in the top half of the league in offensive production from the position.

They go into 2015 with no such assurances. With Montero traded to the Chicago Cubs, the Diamondbacks have two apparently light-hitting, glove-first types — last year's backup Tuffy Gosewisch and Rule 5 pick Oscar Hernandez.

But neither represents the main reason General Manager Dave Stewart says he won't be seeking help from the outside. That would be Peter O'Brien, the power-hitting catcher the club acquired from the New York Yankees in the Martin Prado trade in July.

In recent weeks, the Diamondbacks have seemingly sped up O'Brien's timeline. Earlier in the offseason, they were saying he would likely be ready for the big leagues by midsummer. Lately, they've been saying it wouldn't be out of the question for him to break with the team on Opening Day.

This line of thinking runs counter to that of some rival evaluators. It's not that they disagree so much with when he'll be ready — it's that many don't see O'Brien ever being a capable defender behind the plate.

The Diamondbacks disagree, for a few reasons. For one, they like O'Brien's tools. Bench coach Glenn Sherlock, who serves as the team's catching coach, says O'Brien has good hands and actions behind the plate to go with a strong arm, and the club liked the way he worked with pitchers during the Arizona Fall League.

"He's a great learner," Diamondbacks manager Chip Hale said. "One of the things we were really impressed with in the fall league was his ability to work with different pitchers and earn their trust. You really need to know if your pitchers like to throw to him and feel good throwing to him."

They like that he's committed to being a catcher and willing to put in the work to make it happen, including showing up to Salt River Fields early this month to work with Sherlock.

"He's very determined, a very hard worker," Sherlock said. "We talked in the fall and he told me he wanted to come in early, he was going to be here, he wanted to work. That's what he's been doing."

The Diamondbacks also believe O'Brien will benefit from getting a chance to dedicate himself fully to the position. Coming up with the Yankees, he bounced between catcher, third base, first base and the outfield.

"He has to iron everything out," Hale said. "(In the fall league), we saw a huge jump in his ability to frame. We saw his throwing — we were really shocked how good he threw. It's just not as consistent as it has to be to be an everyday catcher, but you see that he can do it."

Rival scouts' opinions vary. One says O'Brien needs to move off catcher. Another compares him with White Sox catcher Tyler Flowers, generally considered a subpar defender. A third scout calls O'Brien's defense "not abysmal, but not desirable at all."

Of course, even if O'Brien is a below-average defender, it would be forgiven if he hits the way he has in his minor league career. In 1,058 professional at-bats, he has a career .267/.319/.534 line with 66 homers and 72 doubles. In 287-at-bats in Double-A last season, he hit 24 homers.

And though some scouts were wary of his low walk total, he showed a more patient approach in the fall league, drawing 17 walks in 107 plate appearances to roughly triple his walk rate from the minor league season.

The bat might be ahead of the glove, but the Diamondbacks don't think the glove is too far behind.

"He's got some tools," Sherlock said, "and I think the fact he's going to be behind the plate, getting consistent playing time at the catcher position will only help things. He's got good hands and good actions and he's very determined, and that all adds up to good things."

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Peter O’Brien’s Development at Catcher Helping Diamondbacks Avoid Trade

When prospect Peter O'Brien was traded from the New York Yankees in exchange for Arizona Diamondbacks utilityman Martin Prado, the biggest knock on the slugging catcher was that he wasn't very good defensively.

But the Arizona Diamondbacks and general manager Dave Stewart are seeing things differently nowadays, as they claim O'Brien's development behind the plate was the biggest thing of note from the 24-year-old in the Arizona Fall League.

The D-Backs are putting some major stock in O'Brien, who Stewart admits is allowing the team to avoid making a costly trade for a catcher this offseason, per Nick Piecoro of

"I've decided that I'm not going to pursue another catcher," Stewart said. "I talked with my people and my coaching staff. They believe that O'Brien is going to be around sooner than later. If that does happen, there's no need to go out and get another guy.

"We would have had to trade somebody we didn't want to trade to make it happen. We're going to be patient and allow the progression of O'Brien to take place and stand pat on that."

The Diamondbacks liked what they saw from him defensively in the Arizona Fall League, and in recent days he began working with coaches at Salt River Fields.

The D-Backs acquired O'Brien during the 2014 season when the Yankees came calling looking for Martin Prado. Of course, Prado is now no longer part of the Yanks' plans after he was dealt to the Miami Marlins for starting pitcher Nathan Eovaldi.

On the flip side of that deal with New York, the Diamondbacks appear ready to get their money's worth with O'Brien. It remains to be seen just how effective he ends up being behind the plate, but Stewart sounds confident in his young catcher.

At the time, the Yanks looked wise in trading what seemed to be a one-dimensional prospect, but if O'Brien pans out on both sides of the diamond, the trade for Prado becomes more painful—especially since he had such a short trip in the Bronx.

Not a good move when you consider the youth movement happening in the Bronx right now. At least Yanks GM Brian Cashman turned Prado into another young player who can help in Eovaldi.

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Peter O'Brien Impressing

Peter O'Brien is being groomed as a catcher, and he did all of his extra work this fall behind the plate, with an emphasis on the transfer from glove to throwing hand against potential base stealers. He had some good days, throwing out three base stealers in an Oct. 24 game against Glendale. Because each Fall League team has four catchers, O'Brien also spent a lot of time at first base and was used as a DH. O'Brien does not figure to get much time at first behind Paul Goldschmidt, but versatility is always a selling point. If the jury is out on O'Brien's defensive skills, it has reached a unanimous verdict on his bat. He can hit, and his approach is sound. One major league talent evaluator likened O'Brien to Colorado catcher Wilin Rosario, whose bat earned him a place in the lineup as his defensive skills improved. O'Brien had 38 home runs in 133 games at four stops this season even though he missed about a month with a shin injury just after he was obtained from the Yankees. He showed good strike zone knowledge and drew 17 walks in 25 games for a .393 on-base percentage in the Fall League. Peter O'Brien tied for third in the league with five home runs, one short of the league co-leaders, as the Salt River Rafters -- the D-backs' prospects used the same clubhouse as the parent team does during spring training -- rolled to the best record in the league and on Saturday won the championship game.

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Peter O'Brien sharpens catching skills in Fall League

PHOENIX -- When Peter O'Brien was 14 years old, he was 5-feet-4 and 125 pounds. It only seems that he swings a bat about that size these days.

O'Brien has been one of the most productive hitters in the game since a late-high-school growth spurt, and the Diamondbacks acquired him last summer with the belief it will continue.

O'Brien, who's position of choice is catcher, is catching up on at-bats with the Salt River Rafters of the Arizona Fall League after missing the final month of the summer season with a left shin injury. The injury came just four games after he was acquired from the New York Yankees for Martin Prado and one game after his first home run at Double-A Mobile, his 34th homer of the season. 

 "I see a good hitter who is going to make an impact, a good splash at the big league level," said Jacob Cruz, D-backs minor league coach who is on the Rafters' staff. "Personally, I see a 30-plus home run guy at the big league level.

 "There is something special about the way the ball comes off his bat."

 Reggie Jackson is on board. While with Trenton this summer, O'Brien hit a home run that not only cleared the 407-foot sign in center field but also went over the batter's eye and the flagpole. Had Arm & Hammer Park been oriented differently, the ball might have landed in the Delaware River. When O'Brien returned to the dugout, Jackson was there to greet him.

 "He shook my hand and said, 'That's the best ball I've ever seen hit in the minor leagues.' That was pretty cool," said O'Brien, who now checks in at 6-3 and 215.

 O'Brien had 10 homers in 30 games at Class A Tampa this season before being promoted to Trenton, where he hit 23 more homers in 72 games. He slashed .271/.316/.594 and finished with 23 doubles and 74 RBI. O'Brien averaged a home run every 11.7 at-bats this season, third in the minors behind slugging third base prospects Joey Gallo (42 homers, 10.4 ratio) and Kris Bryant (43 homers, 11.4).

He has three home runs and seven RBI in 16 games for Salt River and has been invited to play in Saturday's Rising Stars game. He also has drawn a league-high 14 walks, a point of emphasis as he attempts to become more selective at the plate. O'Brien has not walked more than 22 times in his two full minor league seasons. 

 With catchers Miguel Montero and Tuffy Gosewisch set to return for the Dbacks, it would be a stretch to see O'Brien open the 2015 season in the big leagues, even with his offensive resume.

 While production has been a constant, the other side of the ball remains a work in progress. O'Brien did not begin catching until his last year in high school at Miami Braddock High and played behind the plate regularly only in his three seasons at Bethune-Cookman University and a final year at Miami (Fla.). O'Brien played first base, third base and right field on his way up the Yankees' chain, in part because the Yankees' were brimming with catching prospects.

 The D-backs have told O'Brien that they consider him solely a catcher, although he has played some first base in the Fall League. O'Brien has spent extra time on his defense this fall, working on blocking, receiving and transferring the ball from glove to hand to facilitate his throwing to the bases. The lessons seem to be taking. O'Brien threw out three base runners attempting to steal Oct. 24, when Archie Bradley threw four scoreless innings in his best outing of the Fall League season.

 "I think I can receive and block with the best of them. The biggest thing has been throwing, and that's what I've been working on the hardest," O'Brien said. "I think it is more of a transfer thing. Trying to find out where it is more comfortable for me and make sure I get the ball out clean so I can let my arm work. I think the feet are there. Even though you work on everything, the most important thing is just finding that consistency of getting the ball into my hand."

 Scouts have not been kind in evaluating O'Brien's defense, and one said, "You like him for his bat."

O'Brien said he pays the criticism no mind.

 "I've never been one to take to heart or look too much into what other people say," he said. "I don't really follow up on that stuff. I know what I can do. I know what I can do well. I know what I have to do to get there. Along with the help of coaches and teammates, if I put in the work ethic, I know I'll be there."

 O'Brien has pushed forward before. Because he did not fill out until his junior year in high school, he was not highly recruited. He signed with Bethune-Cookman two weeks before the start of his freshman year, after its coaches saw him in a showcase late in the summer 2008. 

 "I worked out every single day in a gym, ate my parents out of house and home and got to about 6-2, 180 that year," O'Brien said of his growth spurt in high school.

 "That's probably when everything kind of clicked together. That's when I told myself this is really what I want to do for the rest of my life. I was going to bust my tail to get there. It was huge for me. A lot of motivation. Kind of seeing everything work together and start clicking was nice."

 O'Brien admitted the July 31 trade to the D-backs caught him off guard, but he embraces the opportunity.

 "I was a little bit shocked at first. There were rumors I was going to get traded, but you never believe it is going to happen until it happens," O'Brien said. 

 "After everything hit me and settled in, it was really exciting to have someone make a move like that for you and want you to be their guy. I am ready to work."

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D-Backs prospect Peter O'Brien used to catching flak

The skeptics are not new, and Diamondbacks prospect Peter O'Brien has heard what they have to say. They don't think he can catch in the major leagues. O'Brien answers their doubts with an anecdote from his past.

"You're talking to the same guy that didn't have a Division I scholarship anywhere up until two weeks before the college season started," O'Brien said.

In four years, he went from going undrafted out of high school to being a second-round selection of the New York Yankees. He then developed into one of the better power-hitting prospects in baseball and is now playing in the talent-heavy Arizona Fall League, smashing home runs that leave vapor trails and showing why the Diamondbacks wanted him in exchange for Martin Prado at the trade deadline.

More: Diamondbacks coverage from Nick Piecoro

But he's perhaps also shown why the Yankees were willing to part with him. He has struggled with his throws from behind the plate, and scouts have also raised questions about his blocking and receiving skills.

O'Brien doesn't deny he has improvements to make. He also doesn't doubt he'll be able to make them.

"I definitely view myself as a catcher," he said. "I'm going to work as hard as I can and do everything I can to be back there."

In many ways, this is a familiar script for the Diamondbacks. Since Miguel Montero reached the big leagues in 2006, the organization has struggled to develop another frontline catcher despite spending several high draft picks on them and targeting them in trades.

Stryker Trahan, the team's top pick from 2012, has a similar back story to O'Brien. Few have doubted Trahan's offensive potential, but his ability to stick behind the plate is in doubt. This season, he bounced from catcher to the outfield and back to catcher.

O'Brien did the same during his time with the Yankees. With an advanced bat and others in the organization ahead of him at catcher, O'Brien was introduced to first base, third base and right field over the past two years.

Like Trahan, O'Brien sounds determined to reach the majors as a catcher, and the Diamondbacks sound willing to give him every chance to do so.

"He just needs to catch more," Diamondbacks farm director Mike Bell said. "He needs more consistent reps behind the plate. With his bat, that would be a nice weapon to have (playing catcher)."

At a time when offense is down throughout the game, O'Brien stands out. In just 399 at-bats this season, he hit 34 home runs, the sixth-highest total in the minor leagues, and he already has three homers in 31 at-bats in the fall league.

He credits the hard work he put during the summer after his sophomore year of high school, a time when he said he fully bought into the idea of being a baseball player.

But not everyone bought into him. Lightly recruited out of high school in Miami, he secured a baseball scholarship at Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach, Fla., in a tryout only weeks before school started.

So this idea that people don't believe in him? It's nothing new, and it's something he's learned to embrace.

"I've always felt that even though I've done everything that the big guys have done and put up numbers, I've always felt like the underdog," said O'Brien, who played three years at Bethune-Cookman before transferring to Miami. "I think that's what has given me my work ethic and the drive I have to reach my goals and be where I want to be."

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Peter O'Brien's homer steers Rafters' big inning

D-backs catching prospect Peter O'Brien was eager to make a strong impression with his new organization after joining Arizona in a July trade from the Yankees. But a foul ball off his shin derailed that plan, ending his season in his fourth game with Double-A Mobile.

In the Arizona Fall League, he's getting a mulligan on a first impression. So far, he's making it count.

Arizona's No. 7 prospect took the AFL lead with his third home run in five games as Salt River used a six-run seventh inning to earn a 7-4 win over Surprise on Monday.

"It feels good," O'Brien said. "I missed quite a bit of games, and I thought it would be tough getting back into it. I've been hitting for a couple weeks. I'm still trying to get into the rhythm and am working on the things I was working on the whole year and at the end of the year."

Salt River went into the seventh trailing, 4-1, but changed that with six runs off Padres' No. 19 prospect Tayron Guerrero. Miami's Austin Nola started the hit parade with a one-out single. After Twins' No. 19 prospect Max Kepler walked, Minnesota's top prospect Byron Buxton drove a double to left that scored Nola.

Kepler scored on a sacrifice fly by Twins' No. 10 prospect Eddie Rosario, with Buxton advancing to third. From there, Buxton scored on a wild pitch.

D-backs' No. 6 prospect Brandon Drury followed with a single and moved to second on a wild pitch. Then O'Brien drove a 91-mph fastball out to left-center field.

"I was trying to find something up, stay in the middle of the field with it," O'Brien said. "I got enough of one and stayed through it enough to get it out."

O'Brien said he's relishing the opportunity to get some extra reps after missing the end of the 2014 season -- his last game with Mobile was Aug. 6.

"It's a really good time to work on your craft," the University of Miami product said. "I got to go to instructs and stuff like that, but it's nice to play games against tough competition and keep working on things I've been working on the whole year."

After O'Brien's blast, the Rockies' Ryan Casteel followed with a single to left, and then scored on a double by Astros' No. 9 prospect Rio Ruiz to cap the scoring. All six runs were charged to Guerrero.

O'Brien was working his second game with Arizona's top prospect Archie Bradley. The right-hander saw his ERA rise to 7.20 in two AFL starts after allowing three earned runs in three innings.

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Peter O’Brien moves up in minors

Hall of Fame slugger Reggie Jackson, who earned the “Mr. October” nickname as a clutch, five-time World Series champion in the 1970s, was in the dugout earlier this year when former University of Miami star Peter O’Brien hit a monster home run.

O’Brien, playing for the New York Yankees’ DoubleA team in Trenton, New Jersey, at the time, hit his shot well over the 407-foot sign in center field.

After O’Brien rounded the bases, Jackson, who was there in his role as a roving mentor to young hitters in the Yankees’ chain, shook the young slugger’s hand.

“He said: ‘I’ve been in baseball a long time, and that’s the longest ball I’ve ever seen hit in the minor leagues,’” said O’Brien, recalling his brief conversation with Jackson.

“Coming from him, that meant a lot.”

O’Brien’s majestic blast wasn’t a fluke. He hit 34 homers this past season, finishing fifth among minor-leaguers.

Counting the majors, there were only 11 players who hit more homers than O’Brien last season, with Cubs minor-leaguer Kris Bryant leading the way with 43.
But of those 11, only Bryant (11.4) and Rangers prospect Joey Gallo (10.5) hit more homers per at-bat than O’Brien (11.7).

Bryant, 22, and Gallo, 20, are two of the elite prospects in the game. And O’Brien, 24, who played in the prestigious Futures Game this past summer, is not too far behind.

The Arizona Diamondbacks thought enough of O’Brien that they sent infielder/outfielder Martin Prado, 30, who was an MLB All-Star in 2010, to the Yankees in a July31 deadline deal.

“It was tough at first,” O’Brien said of being traded. “You get drafted by a team, and you envision being in the big leagues with that organization.

“On the other hand, Arizona made a big trade to get me. They see me as their future, so I’m going to give it my all.”

So far, O’Brien’s “all” has been impressive. After his high school career at Miami Braddock, he played three years at Bethune-Cookman before finishing at UM.
After the Yankees drafted him in the second round in 2012, he broke out the next year in his first full season as a pro. O’Brien hit .291 with 39 doubles, four triples, 22 homers and 96 RBI.

Last season, between SingleA and DoubleA, O’Brien was strong again, hitting .271 with 23 doubles, two triples, 34 homers and 74 RBI in about 100 fewer at-bats.

He likely would have hit even more homers had he not missed the final month due to a shin injury sustained when he fouled a pitch.

He has since recovered and homered Tuesday in his first game in the Arizona Fall League.

O’Brien figures to start 2015 in TripleA but could possibly make the leap to the majors — either out of spring training or later in the year.

The biggest question is where to put the 6-3, 215-pounder. His favorite position is catcher, and he takes pride in calling a game and working with pitchers.

But some baseball people, such as John Manuel of Baseball America, think O’Brien might fit best as a versatile player who could play catcher, first base and a corner outfield spot.

“I do not see him as a [full-time] catcher,” Manuel said. “He could wind up as a Jim Leyritz type.”

Leyritz played 11 years in the majors, hitting 90 homers and winning two World Series.

Jim Morris, who coached O’Brien at UM in 2012, knows the pop he can bring to a lineup.

“There are not many guys like him who can hit with power,” Morris said. “And if you can hit, they will find a position for you.”

O’Brien, who has made a quick adjustment from the aluminum bats of college to the wood he uses in pro ball, is focused on improving his pitch selection at the plate.

“I’m an aggressive hitter,” said O’Brien, who walked just 21 times last season, down from 41 in 2013. “But I’m learning to lay off pitchers’ pitches. That comes with maturity.

“But I’m happy with what I’ve accomplished so far.”

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Peter O'Brien is Off to a Fast Start in the Arizona Fall League

Arizona Fall League play is underway and one member of the Arizona Diamondbacks’ system is in mid-season form. Peter O’Brien has hit two home runs in two days as the Salt River Rafters have split their first two games with the Scottsdale Scorpions. O’Brien, listed as a catcher, played his normal position on Tuesday before switching to first base last night.

In addition to his two dingers, O’Brien has three walks while striking out once in eight plate appearances. His Minor League career has been plagued a low walk/high strikeout ratio. In 2014, O’Brien walked only 21 times while fanning 111 times in 427 plate appearances. It is also interesting to note that in order to keep O’Brien’s bat in the lineup, the Rafters moved him to first base. Perhaps a game or two in right field will also be in the cards for O’Brien before the AFL ends.

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Diamondbacks get prospect C Peter O'Brien in Prado deal

Diamondbacks C Peter O’Brien and either a player to be named later or cash from the Yankees for 3B Martin Prado.

O'Brien, recently named New York's No. 9 prospect by, has blasted an impressive 33 home runs this season on the farm. So why isn't he ranked higher? Firstly, O'Brien's pitch recognition must improve -- he has a ridiculous .555 slugging percentage at Double-A, and a sickly .296 OPS. Will he be able to make consistent contact against the world's best pitchers? He's also is a poor defensive catcher who doesn't have the speed to project into the outfield, meaning first base is his only realistic option if the receiving doesn't improve ASAP.

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Prospect Peter O'Brien has two-homer day for Trenton

Peter O'Brien, the Yankees' No. 9 prospect, homered twice Wednesday, but it wasn't enough to lead Double-A Trenton to victory. The Thunder lost, 3-2, to New Britain.

O'Brien went 3-for-4 with a double and two solo home runs. He ranks third in the Minor Leagues with 33 home runs this season, trailing only Rangers' No. 1 prospect Joey Gallo (37) and Cubs' No. 1 prospect Kris Bryant (34).

O'Brien caught in Wednesday's game, something he has done sparingly for Trenton since he was promoted from Class A Advanced Tampa in early May. He more typically has played first base or designated hitter, while Yankees' No. 2 prospect Gary Sanchez handles the catching duties. But with a day game Wednesday following a night game, O'Brien played his 19th game behind the plate for the Thunder while Sanchez served as the DH.

While O'Brien is still finding his home defensively, his bat has made plenty of noise this year and earned him a spot on the U.S. roster in the Sirius XM All-Star Futures Game. In 102 games between Tampa and Trenton, he is hitting .267/.312/.593. He has hit 23 of his 33 home runs in 72 games since being promoted.

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Peter O'Brien hits 21st homer, but Thunder drop slugfest

TRENTON — The Thunder allowed four runs in the top of the seventh inning to erase a one-run advantage and went on to lose to the Binghamton Mets, 10-7, Saturday night at Arm & Hammer Park.

In the game-defining top of the seventh, Thunder (50-58) pitchers Phil Wetherwell and James Pazos surrendered three hits, a walk and hit a batter. Second baseman Jose Toussen also made an error on a tailor-made double play ball that would have ended the inning and kept the game tied at seven.

“If we eliminated a couple mistakes, we might have (won),” manager Tony Franklin said. “That’s what probably did us in tonight. We didn’t make the plays.”

Mets (63-43) manager Pedro Lopez and centerfielder Darrell Ceciliani were both ejected from the game during the seventh inning. Ceciliani was arguing with the home plate umpire after he believed he was hit by a pitch. Lopez came from the dugout, argued and was ejected. On the next pitch, Ceciliani was hit and was tossed after he turned and said something to the umpire.

The top of the Thunder lineup was crucial to keeping the team in the game. Jake Cave had four hits, including two triples and a double, from the leadoff spot. Ben Gamel and Gary Sanchez combined for five hits, three RBIs and three runs scored.

Peter O’Brien hit his 21st home run of the season. His solo blast went to the opposite field and sliced through the wind.

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Peter O'Brien dislodges home plate

Trenton power prospect Peter O'Brien dislodged home plate with a slide on Wednesday in one of the more interesting stories from the Yankees minor league affiliates on Wednesday.

DOUBLE-A – Trenton Thunder

The skinny: Trenton jumped on New Hampshire starter Matt Boyd for five runs in the first three innings and never looked back in a 5-2 win.

The standouts:
Peter O’Brien, 1B: 3-for-3 with two doubles and a walk
Tyler Austin, RF: 2-for-4 with a home run and a double

NOTE: When O’Brien scored in the first inning, his slide dislodged home plate, leading to a 17-minute delay as the crew and umpires worked to secure the base again. The man has a powerful bat, and apparently powerful slides, too.

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Yankees prospect Peter O'Brien tearing up the minors

BINGHAMTON – Scoring is down all around baseball, but New York Yankees prospect Peter O'Brien has certainly done his part to generate runs.

O'Brien, a right-handed hitter who stands 6-foot-3 and weighs 225 pounds, led all Yankees minor-league players in home runs (22) and runs batted in (96) while batting .291 and scoring 78 runs last season.

For an encore, O'Brien belted 29 home runs through his first 88 games this season to solidify himself as one of if not the top power-hitting prospect in the minors. And there is still a month a half left in the minor-league season.

O'Brien hit 19 of those home runs for the Trenton Thunder, who wrap up their only series at NYSEG Stadium against the Binghamton Mets on Sunday afternoon.

"Pete has a tool that you can't teach, and that's power," said Thunder hitting coach Marcus Thames, who played 10 seasons in the major leagues. "Last year, he hit (22) and that was his first full season. His power is going to play. The thing is going to be consistency."

O'Brien, who turned 24 on Tuesday, entered the four-game series against the B-Mets having just played in the Eastern League's All-Star Game on Wednesday night in Altoona, Pa., as well as the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game in Minneapolis, Minn., on Sunday.

O'Brien may have flown under some radars after last year, but that certainly appears to be a thing of the past. In just 30 games in the Florida State League this season, he crushed 10 home runs and got promoted to Double-A Trenton.

A second-round pick of the Yankees in 2012 out of the University of Miami, O'Brien has already reached Double-A in an organization criticized for struggling to produce all-star caliber talent in recent years.

"I think he's just beginning," Thunder manager Tony Franklin said of O'Brien. "I think he's just finding out exactly what this power surge is all about himself. He is still young in his career. I think it's just the beginning of what we hope to see or what might be."

O'Brien is the son of a former Cuban ballerina, Mercedes O'Brien, and a former college baseball player, Terry O'Brien. Terry, a pitcher, led Western Michigan in earned-run average (3.51) in 1977.

O'Brien grew up with baseball in his blood and says it is the only sport he played growing up. A native of Miami, O'Brien was actually a top of the lineup hitter until his junior year in high school.

"I was probably 5-foot-4 125 pounds my freshman year in high school," O'Brien said while wrapping tape around the end of new shiny black bat, his latest weapon of choice.

A growth spurt jumped O'Brien up to 6-foot-2 195 going into his junior year, and he started making weightlifting a part of his daily routine, sometimes two or three workouts a day between the gym, the pool, and running.

He went on to play three seasons at Bethune-Cookman University in Dayton Beach where he was an All-American catcher and earned Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Player of the Year as a sophomore.

The Colorado Rockies drafted O'Brien in 2011, but he did not sign and played his final college season at Miami where he was a co-captain, a first-team All-Atlantic Coast Conference selection, and led the team in batting average (.340), home runs (10), RBIs (40), on-base percentage (.441) and slugging percentage (.626) despite missing the last 17 games of the season with a broken wrist.

O'Brien spent time in both the Gulf Coast League and the New York-Penn League in the summer of 2012, and last season he split time between Low-A Charleston and High-A Tampa.

"I think the biggest thing is in pro ball you get so many reps, and you get to know yourself better as a hitter," O'Brien said. "You get to work on those strengths and make those weaknesses stronger."

The most-important thing O'Brien learned about himself was that the long meat-grinder of a season in professional baseball required him to guard against getting too intense.

"I think that's something I've learned over the last couple of years is sometimes less is more," O'Brien said. "I don't have to swing at 100 percent or hit the ball perfect to hit it out. I've just got to put a good swing on a good pitch.

"I think that's the biggest thing I tell myself now is just not to try to do too much. That's something guys have always told me growing up. Especially in my later years in college, kind of have fun and let myself play more. I think I never understood that until I started getting these reps in pro ball."

Thames says O'Brien is constantly asking questions, always thinking about and talking about baseball, trying to get to the next level.

O'Brien isn't a finished product yet. His average has dropped since he started facing Double-A pitching. He batted .321 in the Florida State League, and he went into Saturday night's game batting .229 against Eastern League pitchers.

"Hopefully he can become a better hitter as well, and put that hitting ability with that power ability and then you're talking about major-league all-star," Franklin said.

O'Brien has always been an aggressive hitter, and that has led to 62 strikeouts through his first 60 games with Trenton. He has walked just 12 times, but that last thing Thames wants to do is make O'Brien hesitant in the batter's box.

"You can't go up there being timid," Thames said. "I saw an article that Jim Thome wrote. He never went up there looking to walk. I played with Gary Sheffield. He never went up there looking to walk. They went up there to swing the bat, but they swung at pitches they could hit."

The Yankees still have not settled on a position for O'Brien. He played catcher throughout his college career, but he has caught and also logged time at third base, first base, and the outfield in the minors.

Franklin says O'Brien, who caught Friday night's win against the B-Mets, works well with the pitching staff and would probably get the chance to catch four days per week if not for the presence of one of baseball's top catching prospects, Gary Sanchez, on the same roster.

O'Brien's offense and that powerful swing will be what opens the doors to the big leagues. The way the way the ball jumps off O'Brien's bat is noticeable. It gets up so fast and with what seems like minimal movement from O'Brien. It sounds as if a small explosion took place.

"His bats just make a different sound," Thames said. "For me and my experience playing at the major-league level, he's up there with the big guys that have the raw power. He has really true raw power that can play in the game.

"He doesn't try to hit for power. He doesn't try to go out in (batting practice) and try to launch every single ball. He's still learning how to hit. It's going to even get better once he figures everything out, figures out what the pitchers are trying to do to him."

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Yankees prospect Peter O'Brien is headed to the big time (eventually)

TRENTON — The weekend has to get better for Thunder power hitter Peter O’Brien, because it certainly didn’t start off very well.

O’Brien was ejected in the top of the first inning of Friday night’s series opener against the Akron RubberDucks. And that was the only game he was scheduled to play this weekend.

Saturday, O’Brien was on a flight to Minnesota for today’s MLB Futures Game. From there, he will fly to Altoona for Wednesday’s Eastern League All-Star Game.

“This is a great opportunity for me,” O’Brien said before he left. “It’s an opportunity to represent the Yankees, the Trenton Thunder and USA baseball. I’m looking forward to it.”

O’Brien, one of five Thunder players in the EL All-Star Game and the only one in the Futures Game, is third in all of Minor League Baseball with 29 home runs. His power at Arm & Hammer Park has already become stuff of legend.

In his first weekend with the Thunder after being called up from Single-A Tampa, he homered three times in two games against the Reading Fightin Phillies, with one leaving the stadium and landing somewhere on Route 29.

More recently, he was coming off a three-homer series against Reading in Reading, Pa., in which the Thunder actually won three out of the four games.
“His power is substantial,” manager Tony Franklin said. “It’s quite impressive.”

A 2012 second-round pick of the Yankees out of the University of Miami, O’Brien is making a name for himself and getting honored accordingly.

“He deserves it,” Franklin said. “The Futures Game is a nice honor for him. It’s quite the honor. He’ll be in a Major League setting, a Major League atmosphere. That’s good. I hope he hits a home run.

“People in baseball know who you are when you have that kind of power. They’ll find you. It’s hard for a guy like that to be overlooked.”

O’Brien has done more than just hit home runs lately. He’s had six multi-hit games in his last 14 and was 5-for-11 in the Reading series after going 7-for-16 a few before against vs. Portland.

Now, he’ll get to go on a bigger stage on his way to what he hopes will eventually be the biggest stage of them all.

“It should be a lot of fun,” O’Brien said. “I’m just going to try to relax and take it all in as much as I can.”

This isn’t the first time O’Brien has played in a big-time atmosphere. In 2010, he played for Team USA in Japan.

“We beat Japan in Japan,” he said. “That was huge. Then we lost to a real good Cuba team, 2-1, in the final.”

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Peter O’Brien records his third multi-homer game

The Thunder offense broke out for 10 hits in a 10-3 win over the Reading Fightin’ Phils in front of 4,519 at First Energy Stadium Monday.

O’Brien recorded his third multi-homer game with a pair of solo home runs. His third-inning shot off Hoby Milner (5-5) gave the Thunder a 4-2 advantage. O’Brien added his 27th home run of the season in the seventh.

O’Brien scored the first of his four runs when he scored on Jose Toussen’s two-run double in the second inning. Ali Castillo later drove in Toussen with a base hit, the first of two run-scoring singles for Castillo.

The offense provided by O’Brien (2-for-3, four runs, two RBIs) and Toussen (2-for-3, three RBIs) was plenty for Bryan Mitchell (2-5). Mitchell went a season-high 6?innings and allowed just two runs on five hits and three walks. The right-hander struck out five.

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Peter O'Brien selected to Eastern League All-Star Game

The Eastern League Monday selected four players from the Trenton Thunder to represent the team at the EL All-Star game.

Left-hander Matt Tracy, outfielder Ben Gamel, outfielder/first baseman/catcher Peter O’Brien and catcher Gary Sanchez have been selected to play in the showcase game which is set for Wednesday, July 16 at Peoples Natural Gas Field in Altoona, Pa.

O’Brien and Tracy were chosen via fan voting. At least one position player, and one pitcher, from each team were selected by fans through online and stadium balloting. The remaining selections were made through voting by league media, managers and officials.

O’Brien ranks third in all of Minor League Baseball with 25 home runs. In 53 games with the Thunder, he has hit 15 home runs, which is tied for fourth in the league, and driven in 39 runs; tied for second on the team. The second-round pick in 2012 played the first 30 games of his season with Single-A Tampa where he hit 10 home runs.

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Peter O'Brien named to Futures Game roster

NEW YORK -- Impressive slugger Peter O'Brien and talented right-hander Luis Severino have been tabbed to represent the Yankees at this year's SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game, Major League Baseball announced on Tuesday.

O'Brien will play for the U.S. team and Severino will be in uniform for the World team in the July 13 contest at Target Field in Minnesota. The U.S. Team has won each of the last four Futures Games.

The 24-year-old O'Brien has been showcasing his raw power at Double-A Trenton, where he entered play on Tuesday with 15 home runs and 35 RBIs in 42 games, owning a .228 (37-for-162) batting average.

O'Brien has seen time at catcher, first base, right field and designated hitter this season, with the organization looking to find a place to keep his bat moving through the pipeline.

A second-round pick in the 2012 First-Year Player Draft, O'Brien batted .321 (36-for-112) with 10 homers and 19 RBIs in 30 games with Class A Advanced Tampa before being promoted in early May.

The 20-year-old Severino was 3-2 with a 2.79 ERA in 14 starts for Class A Charleston this season, hurling 67 2/3 innings with 62 hits, 24 runs (21 earned), 15 walks and 70 strikeouts.

A product of the Dominican Republic who signed with the Yankees organization in 2012, Severino is currently with Tampa, where he has made one start. He is ranked as the Yankees' No. 9 prospect by

The 16th annual SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game will take place at 5 p.m. ET on Sunday, July 13, at Target Field in Minneapolis, and it can be seen live on and MLB Network, and followed live on's Gameday. In addition, XM Radio will broadcast play-by-play coverage of the event live on MLB Network Radio XM 89 and Sirius channel 209. will also provide complete coverage before, during and after the game.

Fans can stay updated by following @MLBFutures on Twitter and can send and receive tweets to and from the U.S. and World Team dugouts during the game by tagging tweets with the hashtags #USDugout and #WorldDugout.

Major League Baseball, in conjunction with the Major League Baseball Scouting Bureau,, Baseball America and the 30 Major League clubs, selected the 25-man rosters for each club. Each Major League organization is represented, and players from all full-season Minor Leagues were eligible to participate.

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Peter O'Brien has two-homer night for Trenton

Catcher Peter O'Brien, the Yankees' No. 20 prospect, hit two home runs Monday, but it wasn't enough to lead Double-A Trenton to victory. The Thunder lost, 9-3, at Bowie.

O'Brien finished the game 2-for-4 with two runs and three RBIs. He now has hit 25 home runs this season, the third most in the Minor Leagues. He trails only Rangers No. 4 prospect Joey Gallo (27) and Cubs No. 2 prospect Kris Bryant (26).

Entering Monday's game, O'Brien hadn't homered in seven consecutive games, his longest drought of the season. He ended that streak in his second at-bat of the night, hitting a two-run shot off Bowie starter Tyler Wilson in the fourth inning. He added a solo blast in the eighth against Chris Petrini.

O'Brien began the season with Class A Advanced Tampa and hit .321/.353/.688 with 10 home runs in 30 games before getting promoted to Trenton. With the Thunder, he is hitting .228/.277/.543 with 15 home runs in 42 games.

Though O'Brien caught Monday, he has shared those duties with Yankees No. 1 prospect Gary Sanchez. It was O'Brien's 13th game behind the plate with Trenton, and he also has seen time at first base, right field and designated hitter.

Sanchez served as the designated hitter Monday and went 1-for-3 with a run and a walk. He is hitting .260/.329/.420 with eight home runs in 60 games this season.

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Peter O'Brien Trade Bait

One of the hottest names in minor league baseball this season is Peter O'Brien, as the New York Yankees top prospect continues to make the kinds of waves that could get him traded this summer.

O'Brien has become well known for his power with 23 long balls this season and each one is hit longer than the next. His original position was supposed to be catcher, but the Yanks have moved him around the field because he isn't thought of as good defensively behind the plate.

In 2014 alone, O'Brien has seen time at catcher, first base and right field, and he's even played third base after doing so in Single-A in 2013.

While being a catcher doesn't seem to be in the cards for O'Brien, there may be another reason for moving him around on the diamond.

John Harper of the New York Daily News believes the Yanks are showcasing O'Brien's abilities to play other positions because scouts around the league don't have faith that O'Brien will be an adequate catcher:

They also have something of a wild card in Double-A slugger Peter O’Brien, whose 23 home runs this season have created a buzz. However, while scouts have been wowed by his tape-measure power, they don’t think he’s agile enough to handle catching in the big leagues, so the Yankees have tried him at other positions, most recently first base, in part to showcase him.

Moving O'Brien around gives him some versatility and adds to his value in a deal. Teams that were otherwise jammed at the catcher position in their respective farm system may be more inclined to take a chance on O'Brien if he can play multiple positions.

The downside of O'Brien is that he doesn't hit for a very high average.

Sure, he's decimating minor league pitching with all of his homers, but the 23-year-old is only sporting a .266 combined average and a .224-mark after being promoted to Double-A Trenton. Before moving up, O'Brien slugged his way to a .321 average in Single-A.

O'Brien is an impressive young player, although he isn't impressive enough to land a big deal for the Yanks alone. O'Brien could be one of multiple prospects to be involved in a trade depending on how big the return is for the Yanks—like an impact starting pitcher.

While the Yanks need power in their lineup this season, O'Brien isn't someone who can help the team right now since, as Harper points out in his piece, scouts don't believe he's anywhere near ready for MLB pitching.

So, if you can't help the Yankees now, chances are you will be traded. As quickly as O'Brien's star rose in the Yanks' minor-league system, it could be gone just as fast.

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Yankees prospect C Peter O'Brien rips 23rd home run

Yankees prospect catcher Peter O'Brien went 2-for-4 with his 23rd home run of the season for Double-A Trenton on Saturday.

O'Brien's line in the Double-A Eastern League has been pretty brutal, as he is hitting just .242/.286/.568 with 31 strikeouts (22.1%) and seven walks (5.0%) in 140 plate appearances. He's fifth in the Eastern League with 13 home runs, but pitchers have been able to pacify him with better quality pitches. O'Brien's power is real, but he needs substantial work on his approach at the plate if he has a chance to succeed at the major league level.

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Move to first base could help Peter O'Brien realize his awesome power potential

TRENTON, N.J. -- About midway through a recent interview, while he was standing in a clubhouse hallway at Arm & Hammer Park, Peter O'Brien's conversation was interrupted by a Thunder teammate playing reporter.

"How do you hit so many home runs?'' he asked.

O'Brien laughed.

The question for O'Brien, now a first baseman for Double-A Trenton, is not so much how he's capable of crushing baseballs at such a prolific rate but whether he can keep doing it. And whether the Yankees ultimately will find him a position that someday enables him to flex that muscle in the majors.

Through his first 63 games this season, including Saturday, O'Brien has 23 home runs, including 13 in 33 games since his May 9 promotion to Trenton, where he's putting the boom in the Thunder. During his time there, he has gone deep once every 10.1 at-bats.

The Orioles' Nelson Cruz, who leads the majors with 21 homers, averages one every 11.7 at-bats. Jose Abreu does it once every 11.2 at-bats for the White Sox.

Trenton manager Tony Franklin seems more surprised by the rare occasions when the fences actually are able to contain O'Brien, who had a slash line of .234/.279/.547 with 30 RBIs for the Thunder through Friday.

"Every time he comes to the plate, he's one of those guys, you think he's going to hit a home run,'' Franklin said. "It doesn't always happen. But when it does happen, it's pretty special.''

What Franklin means by that is that O'Brien, who turns 24 next month, doesn't leave much doubt when he connects.

The outfield walls at Arm & Hammer Park are piggy-backed by billboards that extend another 30 feet or so above the yellow demarcation lines for a home run. Also, in center, there is a towering blacked-out batter's eye.

O'Brien regularly clears those barricades. During a round of batting practice last weekend, he peppered the very top level of ad space, slamming line drives off the leftfield banners for Stark & Stark attorneys-at-law and White Eagle Printing Company.

Franklin describes O'Brien, a second-round pick by the Yankees in 2012, as possessing "easy power,'' an uncommon trait he said also was displayed by the likes of Darryl Strawberry, Frank Howard and Dick Allen. That's more than 1,000 home runs combined right there, but Franklin was referring more to the flight patterns than the frequency.

Strawberry was legendary for clearing scoreboards. Howard had upper-deck seats at RFK Stadium painted white to commemorate his long-distance drives. One of Allen's mammoth shots was estimated at 529 feet.

"He just takes a nice, easy swing and produces prodigious home runs,'' Franklin said of O'Brien. "Balls go out of the ballpark and they make a loud noise.''
It's the other part of O'Brien's game -- the glove half -- that has made him a work-in-progress at a number of positions. He's played catcher, third base, even rightfield. But when Franklin got the call on June 6 to start getting him reps at first base, that shed some light on the Yankees' plans.

The assignment was so new that O'Brien didn't own a first baseman's glove. And when he went through a number of fielding drills during BP, he looked like a novice, whether it was charging a bunt or figuring out which foot to extend in reaching for a throw.

But with Gary Sanchez, the club's top catching prospect, sharing the Trenton roster with O'Brien, he can't expect much time behind the plate.

Plus, O'Brien has struggled at third base -- 18 errors in 38 games at high Class A Tampa last season -- as well as rightfield. He sounded eager to try first base. Almost relieved.

"I think it's going to come a little bit easier,'' O'Brien said, "because at third base, you have to move a lot more and kind of set your feet to throw. First base is pretty much just pick it, catch some throws and drop bombs.''

O'Brien smiled. Obviously, that last part is what he enjoys the most, and with the dearth of righthanded power in the game, he's a valuable commodity -- either for the Yankees or as a potential trade chip as the July 31 non-waiver deadline gets closer.

That value grows with O'Brien as a catcher, but maybe the best thing that can happen is to move him from behind the plate, where the added responsibility can hurt a prospect's offensive development.

Look what has happened with the Mets' Travis d'Arnaud, who was demoted last week after wilting offensively at the major-league level. Josh Donaldson became an MVP candidate after the A's were forced to move him from catcher to third base.

"It's definitely easier,'' Donaldson said. "You get to play every day. You don't have to deal with the nicks and bruises catching comes with. Or handling an entire pitching staff, calling a game.''

O'Brien felt the same way.

"As a catcher, you have to focus on a lot of things -- receiving, blocking, throwing,'' he said. "Your first priority is the pitcher, so everything else comes second to that.

"At first base, your priority isn't other things, so it kind of slows the game down. And you might be able to focus in between innings on your at-bat instead of what you're going to throw the next three hitters in the lineup.''

That peace of mind could help O'Brien move up sooner rather than later. But if he continues with this power surge, the Yankees will figure out a way to make the necessary adjustments. Even if O'Brien still has to do that himself.

"The people in the organization feel like, let's see what he looks like at third, let's see what he looks like at first, let's see what he looks like in the outfield,'' Franklin said, "because he looks pretty doggone good at the plate.''

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Is Peter O'Brien the answer to the Yankees' power problem?

TRENTON -- It's one of the mysteries of this Yankees season: Where is the power?

The Yankees signed outfielder Carlos Beltran and catcher Brian McCann in the off season, hoping to replace the pop in the lineup they would lose with Alex Rodriguez's suspension and Curtis Granderson's departure, but it hasn't worked out.

Beltran has only five home runs, partly due to an elbow injury, and McCann, who was expected to take advantage of Yankee Stadium's right-field porch, has just seven.

First baseman Mark Teixeira, battling a nagging wrist injury, leads the team with just 10 homers, while outfielder Alfonso Soriano has struggled to find his groove, hitting only six.

The lack of power has the Yankees ranked 22nd in the league in home runs (52) and 22nd in run scored (256). And with a team batting average of just .242, the Yankees are showing they can't consistently manufacture runs with timely hitting.

If the anemic offense continues, general manager Brian Cashman will have two choices: Go shopping for a bat, or find one in his back yard. The Yankees could consider calling up Trenton Thunder's Peter O'Brien, a power-hitting right-handed bat who has been tearing it up in the minors.

O'Brien -- 6-foot-3 and 215 pounds -- has a combined 22 homers between High-A Tampa and the Double-A Thunder this season. He also has 48 RBIs and is batting .278/.313/.630 with an OPS of .943. Those 22 home runs put him at the top of the minor leagues this year.

"I think all of baseball has taken notice of his ability to hit the ball out of the ballpark," Thunder manager Tony Franklin said. "That's a special talent, and he has done very well."

The former Miami Hurricane, drafted by the Yankees in 2012, had 10 home runs and 34 RBIs in limited action in 2012, and he belted 22 homers while driving in 96 runs in 2013, his first full season.

So, why haven't the Yankees pulled the trigger on this guy? Possibly because O'Brien has yet to find a true position.

He entered the minors as a catcher, then moved around. After catching for all of 2012, the Yankees experimented with him at third base, but after O'Brien committed 18 errors in 38 games, they decided it wasn't the right fit. He has rotated between catcher and outfield, and most recently has been given a chance to play first base.

The organization is looking for anyway to get -- and keep -- his bat in the lineup. In the end, however, the versatility could help O'Brien get to the big leagues even faster.

And, of course, there's always DH.

"Yeah, [playing different positions] definitely helps me out a lot, knowing that no matter where I am, I am going to be productive." O'Brien said.

If O'Brien becomes comfortable at first, he could be called up to back up Teixeira.

"First base is good, and to be honest everywhere I've played has been good," O'Brien said. "Catching, third base, right field, I've been comfortable everywhere. I think the biggest thing is where they see me playing for the next 15 to 20 years."

The Yankees are hoping that as O'Brien matures, he become more patient and selective at the plate. He has struck out 506 times, while drawing only 122 walks. O'Brien thinks the walks will come, though.

"I know I'm an aggressive hitter, and I think I should be with some of the things I bring to the plate," O'Brien said. "I think walks are kind of a by-product of putting up good numbers and they will start to pitch around you. So once that starts happening a little bit more, I think those walks will start coming. I'm not worried about it."

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Peter O'Brien Moving To First

TRENTON — Peter O’Brien is going to need a new glove.

The Thunder’s most prodigious power hitter spent fielding practice Saturday taking ground balls at a new but not entirely unexpected position — first base.

“I feel like it’s a pretty natural position (for me),” said O’Brien, who could make his first-base debut as early as Sunday afternoon. “I played a lot of third base last year, and the outfield, and my footwork feels good around the bag.”

The 6-foot-3, 215-pound O’Brien — who has already hit 21 home runs between the Thunder at High-A Tampa this season — has primarily played catcher and right field for the Thunder this season after playing behind the plate and at third in 2013.

With top Yankees prospect Gary Sanchez already behind the plate and O’Brien’s defense in right not exactly looking ready for the Bronx, however, a move to first had been widely speculated. According to Thunder manager Tony Franklin, the organization just wanted to make sure the time was right.

“Pete’s had a couple of position changes in the last couple of years, and we just didn’t want to overload him,” said Franklin, who said O’Brien will also continue to catch. “First base was going to be in his future at some point, we just didn’t want it to be too soon.”

While there certainly appeared to be some kinks for O’Brien to work out during his brief fielding session Saturday, his history behind the plate and at the hot corner seems to bode well for the transition.

“The biggest thing are just the little things, like cuts and relays and things like that,” he said. “To be honest, I’m pretty familiar with any position I’d play, because as a catcher you have to know every other position.”

At first, he also won’t have to shoulder the burden of handling a pitching staff.

“First base is base is just: pick it, catch some throws, and drop bombs,” he said with a laugh.

As for that glove, O’Brien said he had to borrow a spare from a box he found on top of teammate Rob Segedin’s locker, but a more permanent piece of leather is on its way.

It certainly appears it will get plenty of use.

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Peter O'Brien on a power surge

TRENTON — Peter O’Brien always wanted to hit for power.

He’ll never forget his first high school home run: “Junior year, left-center,” he said before a Double-A Eastern League game for the Trenton Thunder. It was a summer league game in the Florida Keys, a day he went 5-for-5, hit two homers and missed a third when it hit off the top of the fence.

He has hit a lot of home runs since then, but it wasn’t until the end of his sophomore season in college that he realized his swing might actually be plugged into a power socket. As a catcher at Bethune-Cookman (Daytona Beach, Fla.), he hit 20.

Going into last night’s game in Richmond, he led the league with 10 home runs, including a grand slam, a go-ahead, pinch-hit shot and two in one game. Including his early season stop at Single-A Tampa, the right-hander has hit 20 homers this spring.

He is one of only six minor league players with a .660-plus slugging percentage.

Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson recently compared O’Brien’s smooth, easy swing to Willie McCovey, Dave Kingman, Darryl Strawberry, Dick Allen and, of course, himself. Trenton manager Tony Franklin used the name Barry Bonds.

“He has big-time power,” Franklin said about O’Brien, who turns 24 next month. “He has a special gift. When you see this kid hit a baseball, you have to say to yourself, ‘That’s a little different than anyone else.’

“Bonds had that kind of power. He (O’Brien) hit a home run a couple of weeks ago, when it left the bat, I couldn’t see it; I couldn’t look high enough. It’s a different sound, too. That was one of the loudest balls I’ve heard in a long time. It’s different from the other hitters.”

O’Brien’s background is different as well.

His mother, who speaks very little English, is from Cuba, and was a member of the National Cuban Ballet. His father is Irish and speaks even less Spanish.
“They met on a set when she was doing a show in the U.S.,” O’Brien said about his parents. “He kept asking her out, but he couldn’t speak any Spanish and she couldn’t speak any English. It must have been pretty funny.

“She was still dancing when she was pregnant with me, then she stopped after my brother was born.”

Younger brother Patrick graduated from high school last week and also plays baseball. Their father was a pitcher at Western Michigan and their uncle played ball in Cuba.

His passion for the game followed O’Brien to Bethune-Cookman College, where he and his roommate and a couple of other guys on the team would take reps in a batting cage off campus.

Cookman played its games on Jackie Robinson Ball Park, sharing it with the Daytona Cubs, a minor league affiliate of Chicago.

The players would hop a 7-foot fence and head to the batting cage, where the stadium groundskeeper would leave them a bucket of balls.

“We’d finish practice, go eat dinner, then come back to the field, and if the Cubs had a night game, we’d wait until everyone was gone and go hit until one or two in the morning,” O’Brien. “We’d hit off a tee or toss in the cage out in left field. We never got chased.

“I wanted to get better,” he said about the extra workouts, “and I was going to do whatever it took to do it.”

That went on for three years until his mother, who was diagnosed with leukemia when O’Brien was in high school, had to have an operation. After turning down an offer from the Colorado Rockies, he transferred back home, enrolled at the University of Miami and was granted an NCAA waiver and played his senior year with the Hurricanes.

“My grandmother lives with us,” O’Brien said, “and my mom’s family lives in South Florida, so on the Cuban side everyone speaks primarily Spanish. When we’re together at dinner we go back and forth all night, so when I tell a story I have to say it in English and Spanish.”

There are no language barriers during the annual Thanksgiving Day Wiffle ball game.
“My mom and dad take it seriously,” said O’Brien, whose family eventually built a batting cage in the yard. “They have all these wild pitching motions and throw sinkers, curveballs and knuckleballs. My uncle always reminds me of the times I was little when I would hit the ball over the roof.”

O’Brien’s longest home run — though some might assume it came this spring a couple of times at Arm & Hammer Park — was apparently hit during a Cookman game at Delaware State.

“Left-center, off a building,” O’Brien said with a smile. “I think that was the farthest, or at least it felt the farthest. But that was with a metal bat. When I hit one here, sometimes I’ll come back to the dugout and joke and say, ‘That’s a good wooden bat.’ But I usually don’t say much after a home run.”

Others do the talking when he cranks one over the wall toward Route 29, or when they hear the sound of a quick swing saying hello to a 90-mph fastball carrying his future.

“I feel like I’ve always taken the tough route when I had to do things. My parents and my family always taught me to work hard for whatever I want,” O’Brien said, “so I’ve always been that guy and never take ‘no’ for an answer.”

Getting to the major leagues will be the final answer.

“I feel confident,” he said. “I know what I have to work on and what I have to keep doing. I feel physically ready for sure, but most importantly, mentally I’m ready. I’m in a good place right now.”

And he’s not surprised.

“No, not at all,” he said. “I don’t think I’m that far away at all, and I think the sky’s the limit. I always knew I wanted to be that guy.”

The power guy.

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Peter O'Brien Leads All of Professional Baseball in HRs

C/RF Peter O'Brien, Yankees: Through the first two months of the season, O'Brien leads all of professional baseball with 20 home runs. That includes the majors and minors. The 23-year-old out of Miami swatted 10 homers for New York's High Class-A affiliate before being promoted to Double-A, where he's hit 10 more. His overall season line is .297/.330/.682, though his strikeout (47) and walk (eight) numbers are warning signs that his plate discipline isn't the best. He also has some exploitable holes in his swing. The Yankees have already tried O'Brien in right field and at third base because his defense behind the plate is subpar. He's basically a one-tool guy, but if you're going to only have one tool, power is the one to have. That thunder in his bat will earn him plenty of opportunities.

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Yankees C prospect Peter O'Brien hits 19th home run

Yankees catching prospect went 1-for-4 with his minor-league leading 19th home run for Double-A Trenton on Wednesday.

O'Brien has continued to hit for power since his promotion from High-A Tampa, but his batting average has taken a dive. He is hitting .247/.267/.658 with nine home runs and a .188 BABIP in 18 games for Double-A Trenton. For the season, he has six walks and 45 strikeouts in 194 plate appearances, so he may need to work on his approach before a promotion is a possibility. Primarily, he has been a designated hitter for Trenton, occasionally spelling Gary Sanchez behind the plate and making a few appearances in right field.

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Peter O'Brien Tearing It Up

Any fan of the New York Yankees knows there is little to be excited about when it comes to the organization's farm system. Heading into the season, with the exception of catcher Gary Sanchez, the minors offered very little promise for the future.

Well, Peter O'Brien is changing that, and he is making quite a name for himself in the process.

A third baseman, catcher and outfielder, O'Brien was a second-round pick in the 2012 first-year player draft by the Yankees. A native of Miami Gardens, Florida, he attended Bethune-Cookman College in Daytona Beach before transferring to the University of Miami. 

Now at age 23, O'Brien has begun his 2014 campaign with a bang. In 41 games spread across two levels, O'Brien has obliterated opposing pitching, belting 17 homers, 11 doubles and knocking in 35 runs while batting .316 with an OPS of 1.061. Simply put, the kid is on a tear.

O'Brien, a right-handed hitter, began the year playing High-A ball with the Tampa Yankees of the Florida State League. There, he started the year batting .321 with 10 homers and 19 RBI in the season's first 30 games before being promoted to Double-A Trenton. In his first 10 games with the Thunder, O'Brien has put the Eastern League on notice, crushing seven homers to go along with 16 RBI.

While the rise of O'Brien has certainly come from out of the blue, the power he has displayed has not. In just 211 career minor league games over parts of three seasons, O'Brien now has 49 home runs. He began making waves within the Yankees organization after an impressive 2013 season in which he hit .291 with 22 homers, 39 doubles and 96 RBI between the Single-A Charleston RiverDogs and Tampa. 

The biggest obstacle in O'Brien's way is finding a true position. He did nothing but catch in the 36 games he played between the Rookie and Low-A levels in 2012. He first started playing third base last year for Tampa, doing so in 38 games. That experiment failed, as he made 18 errors. This year he began playing the outfield, predominantly right field, and has caught as well.  

The problem with O'Brien being a catcher is Sanchez.

Sanchez is one of the best prospects in not only the Yankees' system but in all of baseball. That means he is going to be the one getting time behind the plate. As for the outfield, O'Brien is competing with a slew of other players, including Mason Williams, Tyler Austin and Slade Heathcott. Jason Cohen of SB Nation's Pinstripe Alley suggests a move to first base may be suitable for O'Brien, whose presence at Double-A has created quite a logjam in the lineup. 

One other problem with O'Brien is that he does not walk. At all.

In 898 career plate appearances, he has reached base on a free pass just 55 times. He has walked just four times this year, all with Tampa. Additionally, he struck out 39 times.      

Obviously, O'Brien is just a kid and is only days into being a minor leaguer at the Double-A level. He has a few things to work on. He needs to find a position in the field and stick with it. He also needs to improve his eye at the plate.

Still, a start such as this deserves some attention. It will be interesting to see if O'Brien can keep it up and how long it takes him to continue to climb his way up the minor league ladder and into the big leagues.

One thing is clear, however: Peter O'Brien can rake.  

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Peter O'Brien hits another homer

Yankees catching prospect Peter O'Brien went 2-for-4 with a home run for Double-A Trenton on Wednesday.

O'Brien has hit four home runs in five games for the Trenton Thunder, and is now hitting .261/.261/.826. He has 14 home runs for the season, which ties him with Rangers third base prospect Joey Gallo for the minor league lead. O'Brien has four walks and 34 strikeouts in 2014, but is hitting a combined .311/.338/.711 in 2014. He would be tied for 20th in the Eastern League with four home runs, but he does not have enough at bats to qualify.

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Peter O'Brien goes deep twice

Yankees prospect C Peter O'Brien went 2-for-5 with a pair of home runs and five RBI on Sunday for Double-A Trenton.

O'Brien, 23, hit a three-run home run in the fourth inning and then added a two-run shot in the sixth. He was promoted to Double-A Trenton before the weekend series and hit safely in all three games, with each of his four hits going for extra-bases (three home runs and one double). It'll be interesting to see how much time O'Brien sees behind the plate, as top prospect Gary Sanchez is already playing at Trenton and ahead of him on the organizational depth chart. Prior to his promotion, O'Brien batted .321/.353/.688 with nine doubles, 10 home runs, 19 RBI and a 29/4 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 30 games for High-A Tampa.

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Thunder get power-hitting catcher O'Brien from Tampa

TRENTON — A power bat departed Trenton Friday, and another was right behind it to take its place.

First baseman Kyle Roller, who had torn up the Eastern League by hitting .385/.456/.808 with nine home runs in 21 games for the Thunder this year, was promoted to Triple-A Scranton Wilkes-Barre.

The Thunder filled Roller’s roster spot with catcher Peter O’Brien, who had hit 10 homers in 30 games for High-A Tampa.

“We lost Roller who was off to a great start, but as for a comparable replacement, I think we have that in O’Brien,” manager Tony Franklin said before his squad’s game against the Reading Fightin’ Phils.

Despite Roller’s huge start, the 23-year old O’Brien is considered the better prospect. A right-handed batter, he led the entire Yankees organization in both home runs (22) and RBIs (96) for Tampa last season, and is three years younger than the 26-year old Roller.

“I’m definitely excited, but I don’t want to put too much pressure on myself,” O’Brien said of the promotion. “I want to go out there and do the same thing I’ve been doing my whole career, just go out there and have fun and stay within myself.”

Some of that extra value also comes from playing a premium defensive position. The Thunder, however, already have a highly-touted backstop in Gary Sanchez — who is generally considered the best prospect in the entire organization — so for the time being at least, O’Brien will see some time in the Thunder outfield.

“A little bit of outfield, DH, catch every now and then,” O’Brien said, when asked where he was told he’ll be playing. “I want to be in the lineup every day, so wherever I am, I’m happy with that.”

With Roller gone, the Thunder also don’t have a clear-cut option at first base, though Franklin played down that possibility.

“You’ll probably see him in the outfield and behind home plate before you see him at first base,” the manager said.

The Thunder also sent reliever Brandon Pinder to Scranton, and Chrs Leroux was sent down to Trenton. Pinder posted a 0.52 ERA in 12 games for the Thunder this season, while Leroux has a 6.03 ERA in parts of six major league seasons.

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Yankees prospect Peter O'Brien raking in Double-A

The jump from Class A ball to Double-A is supposed to be the toughest one to make. It seems that Yankees prospect Peter O'Brien never got that memo.

On Sunday, in just his third game since joining the Trenton Thunder in the Eastern League, O'Brien homered twice and drove in five runs. He now has three homers over his last two games. All four of his Double-A hits -- he's hit in all three games and is 4-for-15 overall -- have been for extra-bases (He doubled in his debut).

The power outburst shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone who has followed O'Brien's career. The 2012 second-round pick in the First-Year Player Draft hit 10 homers in his summer debut, then belted 22 (and slugged .544) across two levels of A-ball during his first full season in '13. He added four more in the Arizona Fall League.

O'Brien, a product of the University of Miami after transferring from Bethune-Cookman, picked up this season where he left off. Starting the year back with Tampa in the Florida State League, he hit 10 homers in his first 112 at-bats while putting up a .321/.353/.688 line. His 13 home runs tie him for the overall Minor League lead with Rangers prospect Joey Gallo, who topped the Minors in the category a year ago.

The Yankees continue to find ways to get O'Brien's bat into the lineup wherever he is. He split time between catcher and third base in 2013. This year, he's caught and played the outfield. O'Brien is likely to continue to move around, especially with top prospect Gary Sanchez getting most of the time behind the plate with Trenton.

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Peter O'Brien Working In Right Field

Remember last season when Peter O'Brien clobbered the ball at two different levels and became the big breakout offensive prospect in the Yankees system? Well, he's actually been even better this year. His overall OPS last season was .893 (his first-half OPS in Charleston was a more-robust 1.012). This year's OPS is a whopping 1.068. Through 109 at-bats, O'Brien is hitting .330 with 10 home runs and nine doubles, and Newman said the Yankees have been happy with his work in right field. O'Brien is still mostly catching, but the Yankees have played him in right six times.

“He moves around OK (in the outfield)," Newman said. "Can really throw. Has a couple of outfield assists. ... Obviously Peter’s got serious power, and that might be another way for him to get (to the big leagues) for us.”

Last year the Yankees experimented with O'Brien at third base, but Newman said that's really a "last option" at this point. The Yankees believe it would simply take too long for O'Brien to fully learn the position. Catcher, right field and first base are apparently more realistic options for him going forward. The Yankees recognize they have some catching depth, and have a long-term catching contract already in place, so O'Brien will continue to move around.

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Yankees prospect C Peter O'Brien hits 8th homer

Yankees catching prospect Peter O'Brien hit his eighth home run of the season as part of a 2-for-3 day on Friday.

O'Brien is hitting .347/.383/.760 for the season, though he is approximately four months older than the average player in the High-A Florida State League. He has seven doubles (tied for seventh) and eight home runs (first by four home runs) for the season.

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Peter O'Brien continues power surge

Yankees prospect catcher Peter O'Brien was 2-for-4 with a home run on Thursday for High-A Tampa.

O'Brien's dinger was his seventh of the season, and he's now batting .333/.364/.708 with six doubles and 13 RBI in 19 games. The 23-year-old has massive raw power, evidenced by his .544 slugging percentage, 39 doubles and 22 home runs last season in 119 games between both Class-A levels. However, O'Brien's defense is pretty rough behind the plate and will prevent him from becoming an everyday catcher in the major leagues. And while O'Brien's power profiles cleanly at any corner position, his penchant for whiffing (134 strikeouts in 119 games last season) raises questions about its potential utility at the highest level. Don't be surprised if the Yankees move him to a new position at some point this season with the goal of expediting his arrival in the major leagues.

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Yankees C prospect Peter O'Brien with hot start

Yankees prospect catcher Peter O'Brien is hitting .333/.369/.717 through his first 16 games for High-A Tampa.

The Yankees put O'Brien at third base last year for 38 games, but he made 18 errors on 91 chances and has yet to appear at the hot corner in 2014. He has appeared in three games in right field, but those appear to be a way to give him a night off from his catching duties. O'Brien has big time power, as is shown by his 22 home runs in 2013 and six in 16 games in 2014, but he is not a great defensive catcher and the Yankees appear to be looking for a way to get him from behind the dish.

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Peter O'Brien Named FSL Player of the Week

Tampa, Fla. - The first Player and Pitcher of the Week for the 2014 FSL Season was named today by the Florida State League. This was for games played April 3-13, 2014.  

The Player of the Week was Tampa Yankees Catcher Peter O'Brien. He played in 10 games, batting .333, with thirteen (13) hits in 39 plate appearances. His hits included four (4) homeruns and two (2) doubles. He had six (6) RBI's and scored (6) six times. His slugging average was .692 and his OBP was .366. This is Peter's third year in professional baseball and he resides in Miami Gardens, FL.

The Pitcher of the Week was Dunedin Blue Jays Lefthander Matt Boyd. Matt started two (2) games and had two (2) wins. His ERA was 0.00. In (12) innings pitched he allowed eight (8) hits, issued one walk, and struck out nine (9) batters. This is Matt's second year of professional baseball and he was born in Mercer Island, WA.

The Tampa Yankees are the Single-A Advanced Affiliate of the New York Yankees. For more information about the Tampa Yankees call (813) 673-3055 or visit

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Peter O'Brien crowned champ at Bowman Hitting Challenge

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Driving out long home run balls to all parts of the park and spraying hard-hit balls across a diamond littered with targets like a moving human sphere, Yankees catching prospect Peter O'Brien and Pirates outfield farmhand Alex Dickerson topped a field of 30 highly touted prospects to win the Arizona Fall League's inaugural Bowman Hitting Challenge on Saturday night at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick.

The competition, a home run derby-like event with a wacky twist, featured one slugger from each Major League club currently playing in the AFL.

"It was a good time; definitely never done anything like that," O'Brien said. "But any time you can do something like this where you're just enjoying playing baseball in front of your fans and teammates, it's a good opportunity."

Following four untimed bunts at designated objectives, every hitter received two minutes to bat against live pitching with the goal of striking as many targets dispersed around the infield, outfield and home run grass as possible. Point values varied from 100 for hitting oversized baseball cards, giant inflatable boxing rings and towers of ball buckets to 600 for depositing a ball into an enclosed trampoline in deep right-center field. Homers ranged in worth from 100-500 depending on where they were hit.

At the end of the two-minute period, each contestant got one final swing off a tee, and any target hit with the "Bowman Bonus Ball" resulted in double points. Any foul ball hit at any point during the derby resulted in a 50 point deduction from the player's tally.

Separated into two competition divisions, the highest three point totals from both National League and American League prospects were awarded cash prizes. O'Brien took the AL crown with 1,575 points, while the Mariners' Stefen Romero finished second at 1,250 and the Tigers' Tyler Collins took home third with 1,100. On the NL side, Dickerson won with 1,300 points, while the Dodgers' Corey Seager and the Padres' Tommy Medica finished second and third with 1,200 and 1,050 points, respectively.

O'Brien, the overall winner, accumulated his winning total on the back of five home runs, including one to the deepest part of the ballpark in straightaway center field on top of the batter's eye for 500 points.

"I pretty much tried to keep my same approach from [batting practice] -- stay to the middle of the field and drive the ball," O'Brien said. "It looks so easy at first, but all the targets are hard and I feel like you should try to hit the ball hard and if you hit anything, you're lucky."

Other notable contestants in the event included seven of's Top 100 prospects. Minnesota's Byron Buxton (No. 1), Oakland's Addison Russell (No. 17), the Cubs' Albert Almora (No. 21), Seager (No. 47), Miami's Colin Moran (No. 71), Boston's Garin Cecchini (No. 82) and Kansas City's Jorge Bonifacio (No. 89) all competed.

None of those big names, however, came close to O'Brien, who was the Yankees' second-round pick of the 2012 First-Year Player Draft out of the University of Miami. He spent the 2013 season split between Class A Charleston and Class A Advanced Tampa, compiling a .291 average with 22 home runs and 96 RBIs. For his efforts Saturday, O'Brien received a golden bat to take home from the first-year event.

"It'll be a nice trophy to remember this by," O'Brien said. "It feels good, coming out here and having an opportunity to swing the bat. It's fun."


VIDEO: Yankees' Peter O'Brien on languages07/15/1301:21

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Peter O'Brien's Slam Gives Yankees Win in Shortened Game

Tampa, Fla. - Peter O'Brien delivered an opposite field grand slam in the bottom of the first to lead the Tampa Yankees (2-1) to a 4-1 win over the Brevard County Manatees (1-2) on Saturday night at George M. Steinbrenner Field.

Yankees' starter Bryan Mitchell (4-7) takes credit for his first complete game of the season. The right-hander allowed one run on four hits and one walk while striking out five in five innings pitched.

Brevard County scored in the top of the first. Gregory Hopkins singled and advanced to second on a wild pitch before coming home on an RBI single by Nick Ramirez.

Mason Williams singled off of Manatees' starter Jed Bradley (4-3) to leadoff the bottom of the first. Robert Refsnyder followed with a walk before Ben Gamel reached on a fielder's choice, retiring Refsnyder at second. Gary Sanchez walked to load the bases. One out later, Peter O'Brien cleared the bases with a two-out blast to right field.

A light drizzle turned into heavy rainfall as Gamel reached on a one-out walk in the fifth. With a 2-1 count on Sanchez, umpires Ryan Additon and Ryan Clark decided to remove the players from the field. Puddles formed and the umpires deemed the field unplayable. With four and a half innings being played, the game became official.

Up next, the Yankees travel to Clearwater to begin a three-game commuter series with the Threshers at Bright House Field at 1:00 p.m. RHP Rafael De Paula is scheduled to make his first start as a member of the T-Yanks. The Yankees return to Tampa on Monday for game two of the series. Fans can enjoy Winning@Home Monday sponsored by Capital One Work@Home. If the Tampa Yankees win, fans receive a free ticket to a future 2013 home game. Also, the first 250 fans will receive a 2012 team card set. Gates open at 6:00 p.m.

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Peter O’Brien named SAL Player of the Week

Charleston RiverDogs catcher Peter O’Brien was named the South Atlantic League Player of the Week on Monday afternoon.

In six games last week, O’Brien hit .409, going nine of 22 from the plate with two home runs, three doubles, eight RBI, 12 runs scored, and seven walks.

O’Brien started the week out with a perfect 3-3 game with a double, homer, walk, and three runs scored against the Savannah Sand Gnats in Charleston.

He followed that up with a 2-4, two-RBI performance the next day. The powerful catcher capped off the RiverDogs sweep of Savannah going 1-2, with a home run, two walks, three RBI, three runs scored line in the series finale. O’Brien collected at least one hit in all six games he played during the week.

A native of Miami, FL, the 22-year-old catcher was selected by the New York Yankees in the second round of the 2012 MLB Amateur Draft out of the University of Miami.

The first place RiverDogs are in Savannah to face the Sand Gnats for a three-game series Monday through Wednesday. Charleston returns home starting Thursday for a four-game home stand against the Greenville Drive.

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Peter O'Brien: From the U to the Yanks

As soon as Peter O'Brien heard his named called by the New York Yankees in the second round of the 2012 MLB Draft, he knew it was time to go to work. The former first-team All-Atlantic Coast Conference catcher had been drafted in the third round in 2011 by the Colorado Rockies out of Bethune-Cookman University, but decided against joining Colorado and instead returned to school and transferred to the powerful University of Miami (FL) program.

O'Brien couldn't be more pleased with his decision. He put up stellar numbers in his only year at "The U." O'Brien finished the 2012 college season playing for legendary coach Jim Morris and batted a team-best .340 with 10 home runs and 40 RBI. Miami's season came to an early end as they were upset at home by the Missouri State Bears at Alex Rodriguez Park.

Although O'Brien and his teammates were bummed about the loss, Peter knew it was on to bigger and better things. He hoped that he could someday join the player that his collegiate stadium was named for as a star at the big-league level.

Following Miami's loss, Peter reported to the Yankees' Gulf Coast affiliate. He appeared in four games, batted .348 before quickly being promoted to Staten Island. With the "Baby Bombers," O'Brien showed why the Yankees drafted him 89th overall as he hit a whopping 10 home runs and 34 RBI in only 52 games at Staten Island.

O'Brien went into this past offseason knowing that he was ready to make another jump. This time it was to full-season ball as the Yankees assigned the bilingual catcher to Charleston.

"I worked hard all off-season and once spring training started I worked even harder," said O'Brien. "I thought everything went great."

The coaches evidently agreed as O'Brien was promoted to start the 2013 season with the RiverDogs.

"This kid works really hard and he is really smart," said RiverDogs first-year manager Al Pedrique. "He has a very strong arm and a lot of power in his bat.
"His offense is good, but it's his defense that needs work," Pedrique added. "The great thing about this kid is that he always wants to learn more. He always listens and asks questions. You can't ask for anything more from a young player."

Peter knows he is in for a long season with the RiverDogs. The 140-game schedule has very few off days, but he's ready.

"I'm in the best shape that I have ever been," O'Brien admitted. "I worked all offseason for this and now I am just ready to get out there and help this team win and learn as much as I can."

While O'Brien showed off his powerful bat a year ago with Staten Island, he still struggled a bit defensively.

"I think Peter was a great catcher for us," said former Staten Island teammate and current RiverDogs pitcher Taylor Garrison.

"Peter could no doubt hit the ball hard and far," said Garrison. "His struggles were with his batting average. I have seen him working with his hitting this spring and he's seeing the ball better. Defensively, the man has a cannon for an arm. He needs to work on receiving the ball better and, again, that's what he did while in spring training.

"I think he is a standout catcher," Garrison added. "He was great for our staff last season in Staten Island because he always called great games for us. He always knew about all of the oppositions' hitters, too. He knew where they liked the ball and where they couldn't hit it. He will do great here in Charleston, and it will be nice working with a familiar face behind the plate."

The upside is clearly through the roof for young Peter O'Brien. Now it's time to take the wait-and-see approach as he enters his first year of full-season baseball. His goal is simple: get better every day.

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