The Cincinnati Reds just announced that they’ve claimed outfielder/first baseman Peter O’Brien off of waivers from the Kansas City Royals. To make room on the 40-man roster they’ve sent Brandon Finnegan to the 60-day disabled list. They also optioned O’Brien to Triple-A Louisville.

There’s some good things that Peter O’Brien brings to the table. And there are some bad things, as well. Let’s start out with the good. The guy can hit the baseball a long way. He’s hit 22, 34, 26 and 24 home runs in the minor leagues over his last four seasons. That’s also come with plenty of doubles. The power there is real.

The bad side of that, however, is that he has had terrible strikeout-to-walk ratios throughout his career. Since the 2014 season began he has walked just 84 times and struck out 413 times at the minor league level. In limited big league action he’s had five walks and 32 strikeouts.

The Royals had been playing him in Triple-A Omaha this year. He was struggling there in a big way. Through 115 plate appearances he was hitting .162/.235/.276 with five extra-base hits, nine walks and 31 strikeouts.

Peter O’Brien is going to turn 27-years-old in July. While that power does seem real, it’s tough to see how such an aggressive approach that hasn’t improved over time is going to let it play. His walk rate is up a bit this year, but it’s still quite low. And his strikeout is down, but it’s still on the very high side. He also has the highest infield fly ball rate I’ve ever come across. For his career, 1 out of ever 5 balls he’s put in play has been an infield fly ball.

For the Reds, there’s no risk in picking up O’Brien, and if nothing else, it’s going to give the Louisville Bats some pop in their lineup. It’s tougher to see where O’Brien fits in with the big league club though given the issues he has at the plate. Perhaps he’s got a little bit of that Adam Duvall thing going for him where the power can overcome the approach, but Duvall always walked a little more and struck out a decent amount less in the minor leagues than O’Brien has, too.

5 Responses

  1. Steve

    The question is if he will remain in the organization when all the pitchers start coming off the 60 day DL sometime in June/July. Finnegan being transferred to the 60 day DL is not encouraging. The roster at Louisville now shows 27 active players. O’Brien played in the PCL and those stats don’t usually hold up when players come to the IL. Louisville definitely needs help so far this season, especially in the power department. Hope a change of scenery is all this kid needs to turn around his career.

    • Doug Gray

      O’Brien is certainly struggling right now. His BABIP is under .200, so if that rebounds at all, he could improve.

  2. Krozley

    He is supposedly atrocious wherever he plays in the field. Be nice if he could still be a catcher, but apparently that ship has sailed. Still, you never know what a change of scenery may do. His minor league stats are somewhat similar to Duval, but with more strikeouts. Curious to see who he replaces at Louisville.

  3. Seat101

    Why was he put on waivers? Was it to get him off the 40 man roster? Does he have Dave Kingman like power?

    Doug, last year you or a poster posted a link to a draft compilation site. Do you still have the link? It was based in Baltimore that’s all I know.

    • Doug Gray

      Not even the slightest clue about the draft thing.

      And O’Brien was put on waivers to remove him from the 40-man, yes. Kingman’s power was comparable, but in his era, it was much better because there just weren’t as many guys with that kind of power.