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 others with similar names, click here.

Peter Robert O'Brien

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Biographical Information[edit]

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 led the 2015 PCL in RBI. 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 of "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. Peter once again spent most of that year in the minors, with Reno. He played 105 games, hitting .254 with 24 homers and 75 RBIs. With Arizona, he got into 28 games but hit only .141 although he did hit 5 homers and collected 9 RBIs. On January 3, 2017, he was traded to the Kansas City Royals in return for minor league P Sam Lewis. O'Brien would start the season with the AAA Omaha Storm Chasers. After appearing 27 games and hitting only .162 he was designated for assignment by the Royals on May 10th. He was claimed by the Cincinnati Reds six days later and assigned to their AAA club, the Louisville Bats. His time with the Bats was even shorter lasting only 5 games in 9 days before being designated for assignment again as the Reds choose to add Jake Buchanan to their roster instead. After two days in limbo he was picked up by Texas Rangers and sent to the AA Frisco RoughRiders for three days before joining their AAA squad, the Round Rock Express. O'Brien lasted 13 games with the Express before being designated once again. He was then claimed by the Los Angeles Dodgers and sent to the Oklahoma City Dodgers.

He hit only .109/.279/.218 in winter ball for the Yaquis de Obregón. He started 2018 with the Tulsa Drillers but his contact woes continued (.150/.241/.390 in 31 G) and the Dodgers sold him to the Miami Marlins. He did better there, splitting time between the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp (.215/.345/.514, 13 HR in 43 G), New Orleans Baby Cakes (.277/.385/.598, 10 HR, 33 RBI in 36 G) and the major league Marlins (.273/.338/.530 in 22 G).

After having hit 34 home runs in 2018 and done very well in his major league stint, he made the Marlins out of spring training in 2019 but hit only .167/.255/.262 and lost the starting first base job to Garrett Cooper. He hit .220/.316/.451 with 17 homers in 291 plate appearances for New Orleans. He did well that winter with the Toros del Este (.243/.386/.479, 36 BB, 9 HR, 35 RBI in 48 G). He led the Dominican League in homers (3 ahead of #2 Jose Siri), runs (31, one ahead of Socrates Brito), RBI (11 ahead of Siri) and walks (6 ahead of Robel Garcia). He won MVP. He continued his dominance in the 2020 Caribbean Series. He scored the Toros' first run of the Series, then later broke a scoreless 7th-inning tie against the Vaqueros de Monteria with a two-run dinger off Luis Escobar. He hit .348/.483/.565 with 5 walks, two doubles, a homer, 7 runs and 2 steals in 7 games. He was 3rd in the Series in OBP behind Abraham Almonte and Jose Guadalupe Chavez, tied for 4th in steals and led in runs (2 ahead of Junior Lake and Adonis Garcia). He was named the Caribbean Series MVP for his second MVP award of the winter.

Further Reading[edit]

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

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