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Peter O'Brien

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Note: This page is for outfielder Peter O'Brien, who made his major league debut in 2015; for other with similar names, click here.

Peter Robert O'Brien

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[edit] Biographical Information

Catcher Peter O'Brien was a 2nd round choice of the New York Yankees in the 2012 amateur draft, out of the University of Miami. A year earlier, the Colorado Rockies had taken him in the third round of the 2011 draft out of Bethune-Cookman College, but had failed to come to terms with him.

Peter spent most of 2012 with the Staten Island Yankees of the New York-Penn League, where he hit .202 in 48 games. He split 2013 between the Charleston RiverDogs of the South Atlantic League and the Tampa Yankees of the Florida State League, hitting for a combined line of .291/.350/.544 with 39 doubles and 22 homers. He drove in 96 runs in 119 games, justifying his status as a top draft pick. He played 38 games at 3B with Tampa, in addition to his catching duties, as the Yankees wanted him to get as many at-bats as possible without overtiring him by having him catch too many games. The down side was that he struck out 134 times while drawing 41 walks.

In 2014, he was back at Tampa to start the season, but showed clearly that he had nothing left to prove at that level, with a .321 batting average, 9 doubles and 10 homers in only 30 games. He was promoted to the AA Trenton Thunder on May 9th. His bat cooled down a bit, as he hit .245 with a .296 OBP in 72 games, but the outstanding power was still there, as he slugged 14 doubles and 23 homers in that short span. He continued to move around, playing more games at first base than behind the plate in AA, and also seeing time in the outfield and at DH. On July 31st, he was traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks in return for IF Martin Prado, with the Yankees trying to make a push for a postseason appearance in Derek Jeter's final season. He only played 4 games with the Mobile BayBears, going 5 for 13, before his season ended due to an injury. He was back in time to play in the Arizona Fall League however.

In 2015, Arizona assigned him to the AAA Reno Aces to begin the season. He played 131 games there, hitting .284/.332/.551 with 35 doubles, 9 triples, 26 homers, 77 runs scored and 107 RBIs in an outstanding season at the plate. He hardly played his original position of catcher however, as he split most of his time between left and right field. When Reno's season ended in early September, he was called up to the big leagues to make his debut on September 11th. In the 6th inning of a game against the Los Angeles Dodgers, he was asked to pinch-hit for pitcher Enrique Burgos and he singled to center off Ian Thomas to drive in Nick Ahmed from second base. That made the score 12-0 in favor of Arizona and he remained in the game in left field for the last three innings but did not get another at-bat as the D-Backs prevailed, 12-4. In all, he went 4-for-10 in 8 games with a double and a homer. The homer came off none other than Dallas Keuchel of the Houston Astros, that year's Cy Young Award winner, on October 2nd.

In spring training in 2016, he made headlines for hitting a homer on March 23rd whose exit velocity was measured at 119.5 mph. The homer off Mike Broadway of the San Francisco Giants was the hardest-hit home run by anyone since the introduction off "Statcast" a year earlier. It landed deep in the left field concourse and would likely have traveled over 450 feet in a ballpark with a more open configuration. Only Giancarlo Stanton, twice had ever hit any ball harder, with two base hits clocked at 120,3 mph and 119,7 mph.

[edit] Further Reading

  • Mike Petriello: "O'Brien crushes record-setting long ball: 119.5-mph blast hardest-hit homer recorded by Statcast", mlb.com, March 23, 2016. [1]

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