O'Brien Struggles At Bat

O'Brien has just one RBI in his last 11 games

STATEN ISLAND, NY - Despite being the Yankees second round pick in this years draft, Peter O'Brien hadn't caught since April due to a wrist injury at the end of his last season with the University of Miami. He was sent to the GCL to begin his professional career and build back up his strength.

Now catching for the Staten Island Yankees, this 6-foot-3 prospect is back to 100 percent health and moving forward. After an impressive start, O'Brien is struggling to get back to where he started.

"He's good to go, [the] wrist is fine," assured Staten Island Yankees manager Justin Pope. "That's why he was down there [in the GCL], just to make sure his wrist was okay.

"You know they worked him in slowly; he caught three innings, five innings, and seven innings. And then he came up here and he's ready to go 100 percent."

O'Brien proved he was ready to compete in front of fans during his first week with the Staten Island team at home against the Williamsport Crosscutters, starting on July 7th. He was on fire, with one hit and one walk during a total of four at bats, accumulating two RBIs. In the two games that followed, O'Brien picked up three more hits, an additional walk, and two runs.

"[My wrist] feels good, really good," O'Brien confirmed. "No pain or anything and I have a full range of motion. It feels great.

"It's a great honor to be part of a great organization full of great people and great baseball."

Including his solid performances during his first few games in New York, O'Brien has played in 18 games. But none were as impressive as that first week. He has struggled at bat, going 9 for his last 62 with 16 strike outs.

It's still early, and O'Brien's determination and work ethic isn't failing.

"It's tough, it's a grind. You got to be able to go out there and be ready to play every single day," O'Brien explained of his recent performances. "You know, it's something everybody goes through and I'm still staying strong and still playing 100 percent every day."

Pope doesn't seem worried of the permanence of his recent struggles at the plate.

"He just has to sit back and relax and realize, you know, you're going to fail," Pope said. "But when you fail you have to learn from the mistakes and from what happened and why they happened, and make sure it doesn't happen again.

"He is trying to do too much. It's too bad he wasn't here a bit earlier. He came here and the first couple games were good. Then he had a couple bad games, but I think he is trying to do too much at the plate instead of just seeing the ball, and hitting the ball. I think he is worrying too much about mechanics."

O'Brien claims he wants to improve on everything, including but not limited to only his mechanics, as Pope suggested.

"Everything," O'Brien enthused. "Reading pitches; being balanced up there; driving the ball to all fields and really just sticking with a good approach and taking that into every at bat and being focused."

Behind the plate defensively, O'Brien has proven to be a good leader, and Pope believes that repetition is all this 215-pounder needs to adjust to the professional style of play.

"He just needs that repetition back," Pope said. "In college he had his pitching coach call the games for him. So now it's just about learning how to pitch the hitters, knowing the pitchers strengths and certain counts, when to throw certain pitches and reading hitters swing.

"Right now he's doing a good job [with that]. His leadership is great. He's receiving the ball really well. He's got good hands, good soft hands," he continued.

"We are working on his set up and narrowing his stance a little bit because when he came here he was a little wide. We are lining him up a little bit more."

O'Brien admits he is more comfortable behind the plate.

"I have a good arm. I'm a big leader back there."

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