Between the trade of Mark Trumbo and the recent injury to Ender Inciarte, there was speculation that Peter O’Brien would get a call to the majors. The Diamondbacks didn’t cooperate – opting instead to promote Danny Dorn. That makes sense considering Dorn is on the 40-man roster and O’Brien is not. O’Brien, who started the year at catcher and still has eligibility there in most fantasy leagues, recently switched to the outfield and is having a great season with the bat in Triple-A. So it’s no surprise that D-Backs fans and fantasy players were hoping to see him promoted to the bigs when the news broke that Inciarte would be out for at least a couple of weeks. But, well, it didn’t happen. So the question now becomes when will we see O’Brien in the majors and will he be worth our time once he arrives? Let’s take a look in this week’s profile…

2015 Prospect List Ranking
Razzball #9
Baseball America #8
Baseball Prospectus NR
Fangraphs #12

Minor League Statistics

Year Age Level PA R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB% K% SB CS AVG OBP SLG
2012 21 Rk/A(ss) 227 29 45 10 0 10 34 4.4% 27.3% 0 1 .212 .256 .401
2013 22 A/A+ 506 78 130 39 4 22 96 8.1% 26.5% 0 1 .291 .350 .544
2014 23 A+/AA 427 67 108 23 2 34 74 4.9% 26% 0 0 .271 .316 .594
2015 24 AAA 255 39 73 18 2 13 51 4.7% 22% 1 1 .312 .353 .573

One look at the various rankings above and it should tell you that we’re not dealing with an elite prospect, but with a 34-homer season on his resume and an ETA sometime in late 2015, it’s worth looking into his fantasy value going forward. Some of the low ranking is in part due to his lack of a true position, or at least question marks about where he’ll end up on the diamond. The Yankees drafted O’Brien 94th overall back in 2012 and started him out as a catcher/designated hitter. He saw time at both first and third base and even a handful of games in the outfield with New York before being shipped off to Arizona in the Martin Prado trade.

The Diamondbacks continued to work with him at catcher this spring despite questions on defense – even developing a case of the yips. Flash forward to this June when O’Brien basically said he doesn’t want to be behind the plate anymore. He’s since started every game this month in the outfield. The uncertainty around his position could be one of the reasons he was never placed on the 40-man roster to begin with despite a solid performance in the Arizona Fall League. The good news from a fantasy persective is that playing outfield will get him to the majors faster than catching will. Where does O’Brien end up? Well if it’s not the outfield, he’d probably make a great DH somewhere, although turning around and flipping O’Brien to an American League team may not be the route the Diamondbacks want to take.

But enough about defense, let’s get to the bat. 34 home runs in 2014 is nothing to sneeze at, especially when you consider Chase Field is the type of park that favors right-handed power. It’s safe to say O’Brien isn’t going to draw many walks, and his strikeout rates are concerning. Although he has lowered his K-rate about 4% this year, most evaluators put a 45 (below average) on his hit tool. O’Brien is a big guy, so it’s not a surprise that he’s got some strikeout issues. The problem is that when you take a player with plus raw power and combine it with a below-average hit tool, you tend to end up with a player who just can’t get to all of that power in games. 30 homers starts to look more like 20…etc, etc.

In O’Brien’s defense, he has improved that K-rate each year, his average is up over .300, his OBP is higher than it’s ever been, and he’s right behind Jon Singleton for the league lead in home runs and runs batted in (PCL). Outside of his contact rate dipping to 73%, O’Brien’s numbers look good. Scouts questioned his teammate Yasmany Tomas based on his hit tool, and Tomas has posted a 117 wRC+ in 47 games this season. So either O’Brien’s season is a mirage and he’s going to get exploited, or he’s going to be a really nice outfielder who puts up 25+ homer seasons in the majors. I’m guessing reality will fall somewhere in between, but time will tell. Hopefully deciding on a position will help his offensive development.

What’s the Move?

This gets tricky. He’ll likely lose his catcher eligibity after this season, so dynasty leaguers probably need to look at him as an outfielder going forward. I’m buying, but I’ll say I’m also not willing to pay a lot. The 45 grade on his bat gives me the most pause. In NL-only redraft leagues he’s worth a stash thanks to his proximity, power potential, and catcher eligibility, but he’s more of a reserve play than somebody you want burning a hole on your active roster. In shallow redrafts, I’d probably wait until there’s a clearer path to playing time. Perhaps another trade or injury does the trick, but with Peralta, Dorn, and Brito already on the 40-man, we could be growing old together waiting for O’Brien to surface. He’s worth monitoring, and if he continues to rake it could force Arizona’s hand at some point in the second half.

111 Comments
Newest
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Sternal
Sternal
7 years ago

Why isn’t Grichuk a higher ranking prospect. Guy is 25 and has done nothing but produce when given the chance. Any reason why I shouldn’t drop odor or Segura for him?

goodfold2
goodfold2
7 years ago

if a guy in my 30 man league is trying to move watson since he both isn’t competing this year and watson has a near minimum deal but only for this year, is taking ONLY one of HOU’s phillips/fisher good enough?

goodfold2
goodfold2
Reply to  goodfold2
7 years ago

@goodfold2: this is way too obvious actually know that i read it again.

goodfold2
goodfold2
Reply to  Mike
7 years ago

@Mike: same guy that owns those 2 is in 2nd and is looking to trade for a friend of mine’s watson, but he’s also interested in my furbush. i gave leone longer term (about 3 times minimum deal so not too much money), but furbush/hatcher/c.anderson (who had no job when i bid on him) 1 year deals, yuck. Leone was the tits last year of course, looked like him c.smith/farq would be running things in SEA soon at the time.

goodfold2
goodfold2
Reply to  goodfold2
7 years ago

@goodfold2: in last month i’ve somehow gone from like 26th to 12th. only things that have gone well for me is waivering bolsinger, eddie rosario coming up and being useful, and coghlan being pretty useful. losing beltre/erv santana/werth (after werth being useless) were pretty bad. hoping to dump off ERV and Beltre and their big 1 year deals soon.

goodfold2
goodfold2
Reply to  Mike
7 years ago

@Mike: i’m trying to get at least a 3rd rounder for him. somebody offered Erv and a 5th for his 3rd. Very likely i cut bait with any non 2016 or longer contract at trade deadline (beltre’s 18 mil is big) and use that money on bidding on midseason all star break minor guys (only twice a year we can add minor league players, then and at 5 round draft in january-feb). werth i still have at 12 mil. Price of Erv should go up with him back soon though.

in other note, you think singleton is coming up enough to use a shitty (15/20) waiver on him in a 20 team league where my 1B are forsythe/butler and i can keep up to 9 people next year. he’s doing well down in minors and has at least learned how to “drive stoned’ as it were (batting)

goodfold2
goodfold2
Reply to  goodfold2
7 years ago

@goodfold2: i have 2 NA’s in that one, and have dahl/nola currently in them. small amount of innings in that, so i don’t need a lot of pitchers. already have e-rod/j-zimm/fiers/buchholez/annabelle/kazmir

goodfold2
goodfold2
Reply to  goodfold2
7 years ago

@goodfold2: i could even keep nola in active slot over fiers here and still stash singleton. i’d probably still make innings with 5 active SP, i bench guys somewhat often (annabelle when he was awful, kazmir when i thought he was hurt, fiers when he was going bad or has bad matchup)

Jose
Jose
7 years ago

Great stuff Mike and welcome back (as Mike)!

With O’Brien looking worthy of a promotion, how do you value Thomas in a no restrictions H2H points keeper league. I was thinking about packaging him with Burns to try to get Reddick.

Am I throwing away a keeper for a temporary replacement?

Mike
Reply to  Jose
7 years ago

haha thanks! You’re not “throwing him away” since Reddick is a decent player in his own right, but with that said I really think you’re better off holding Tomas and Burns there.

Christian
Christian
7 years ago

of these prospects, whos the best pick:

Montas, Barreto, Snell, D. Fisher, Tapia, Lively, T. Jenkins, O’Brien, O’Connor

Looking for most potential but also dont want to wait around too long for one of these guys to make an impact. Thanks

Mike
Reply to  Christian
7 years ago

personally I like Tapia and Fisher of that group…then Barreto and Snell.

Sternal
Sternal
7 years ago

Hey Mike. Trying to get ahold of Sano in my dynasty league, but really struggling with how to value him. What would you offer?? Also, how do you value Cargo in a keeper league? He has him as well.

C-Salvy
1b – Edwin, VMart
2b – Rendon, Odor
SS- Hanley, Segura, Pereza
3B – Gallo
OF – Holliday, Mookie, Ozuna, Rusney, Cain, Span
P – Gray, Ross, Degrom, Kazmir, Graveman, Jansen, Giles, Tolleson

Mike
Reply to  Sternal
7 years ago

Gomez or Gonzalez? I like Gomez more than Gonzalez, but both are injury risks for this year. Gomez has been frustrating to own this season with his leg/hip issues, but I like him long term.

As far as Sano, I’d look at trading an arm for him. Maybe package Ross with one of your lesser bats and see what happens. You’ll know pretty quickly how much the other guy thinks of him as you negotiate.

Sternal
Sternal
Reply to  Mike
7 years ago

Sorry, Carlos Gonzalez. Thanks for the info. @Mike:

Sternal
Sternal
Reply to  Mike
7 years ago

Mike, with that same squad what would you offer for Dickerson? He needs a catcher, so I’m offering Salvy. What would you pair with him? Not sure how to value Dickerson w/ his foot problems. @Mike:

Mike
Reply to  Sternal
7 years ago

I’d take the same approach. Pair a lesser bat with an arm. Most teams feel like they “need pitching” so that’s my go to offer. It’s also easier to make up the difference in arms off the wire than it is the bats.

Sternal
Sternal
Reply to  Mike
7 years ago

Sounds like a plan. Is Degrom straight up too much? @Mike:

S.H
S.H
7 years ago

Hey Mike would you deal C.Seager for J.P Crawford and Matz or Urias, in a head to head forever keeper league

Mike
Reply to  S.H
7 years ago

good question…I think it’s fair, but yeah I would lean towards the Crawford side. As far as Matz versus Urias, I’d take Urias for all the upside he offers, whereas as Matz is closer/safer if that’s more what you’re after.

luvdarooks
luvdarooks
7 years ago

3 keeper $260 deep 12 team mixed. I have correa & seager (lad) at $5 for ’16 and $8 for ’17 then can’t keep after that.
I’m Trading harper/hamel’s for the last and third keeper setting me up for the future.
Would that be Pederson $9 in ’16 $12 in ’17 ? OR… Buxton $5 & $8 for the next two years?
Whatchathink?

Mike
Reply to  luvdarooks
7 years ago

tough one…I guess it depends how quickly we see Buxton’s power come together. I’d probably go with Joc if you’re only keeping two more years.

Baezorldseries
Baezorldseries
7 years ago

I’m glad you’re doing these articles on hot topic specs. These are, without a doubt, the most important and appreciated articles this time of year.
Does Taillion project as a front line starter?

Baezaworldseries
Baezaworldseries
Reply to  Baezorldseries
7 years ago

@Baezorldseries: Some letters missing from my name. Whoops. How many points is that on the ACT?

Mike
Reply to  Baezorldseries
7 years ago

thanks for the kind words Baez! Definitely trying to keep it relevant for everybody as best I can.

Taillon’s got #2 starter upside

Don’t sweat the spelling…all standardized tests are rigged by the man

Zac
Zac
7 years ago

Since I love talking prospects I have a question for you though could you possibly rank or what are your thoughts on some these guys on which you are high on compared to the others?
Pitchers: Edwin Diaz, Alberto Tirado, Chih- Wei Hu and Joe Musgrove.
Hitters: Cody Bellinger, Jacob Nottingham, Ruddy Giron, Harold Ramirez, and Jake Bauers.

Sparty Scott
Sparty Scott
7 years ago

Who would you rather keep forever – Correa or Buxton? I feel like there are a lot of OF options, but a keeper SS is pretty rare. Are they both 1st round picks by 2017?

Mike
Reply to  Sparty Scott
7 years ago

I agree. I’d take Correa but it’s awfully close

WalleyWorld
WalleyWorld
7 years ago

Dynasty. Would you trade Trevor Bauer for Yasmani?

AL KOHOLIC
AL KOHOLIC
7 years ago

THANK FOR THE FIX BOSS,YOUR ACCUMULATING QUITE A NICE FOLLOWING HERE ,WELL DESERVED MY MAN

Chris
Chris
7 years ago

Thanks for the info Mike!

Do you see Nola or Singleton up before August? I’m stashing Singleton. Should I hold off on Nola? Just promoted to AAA I’m sure you are aware. I could drop Jim Johnson, but that scares me also.

Thanks

Chris
Chris
7 years ago

Thanks for the info Mike!

Do you see Nola or Singleton up before August? I’m stashing Singleton. Should I hold off on Nola? Just promoted to AAA I’m sure you are aware. I could drop Jim Johnson, but that scares me also.

Thanks

ferris
ferris
7 years ago

12×30 dynasty

I have sitting in my na slots
Aaron judge
Josh bell
Luis sevarino

Thinking about dumping one for Ervin Santana? Or maybe Andrew Heaney?

My pitching could use this year improvement.

I ask because I am fairly unfamiliar with these prospects and don’t want to give up a high upside gem.

Ryan
Ryan
7 years ago

Hey Mike. What do you think about Lindor in a 16 team dynasty. Will he hit? Is Lindor and Stras worth a trade for Bogaerts?

Thanks

740
740
7 years ago

Sup Mike, thanks for the read. 10team h2h 5×5.

ROS Lindor or Russell?

Thanks again

Stanton in my way
Stanton in my way
7 years ago

When do you think seager will get called up? Also, Jace or Andrelton ROS?

Charlie
Charlie
7 years ago

Sup Mike!

16-team dynasty trade analysis for you. Trading my Stras for Cutch and Mookie.

Who you got?

Chicken Dinner
Chicken Dinner
7 years ago

Got a points league ? for you, Mike.

Jace, Lindor or Gennet at MI?

heisenberg
heisenberg
7 years ago

should i trade goldy for bumgarner and marte? i still have votto for 1b,and really need an outfielder /burns,calhoun,dickerson/ and another ace /price-only top 30 sp/ having a tough time pulling the trigger

heisenberg
heisenberg
Reply to  Mike
7 years ago

@Mike: i decided to pickup schwarber 3 days though, dropped dickerson. turned down trade.thanks for the nudge in the right direction. hopin solers back soon

And Now the Jon Lovitz Dancers!
And Now the Jon Lovitz Dancers!
7 years ago

got a deal in 20 man keep 7-9 players. for each player less than 9 you keep you get a pick supplementally before standard draft begins based on your standing from previous year . i’m in 8-12th place and probably not likely to win this year. roto. OPS/XBH/holds/QS added.
vogt
forsythe
cano
segura
carpenter
OF jones/red dick/cargo 1
util b.butler
BN heyward/desmond/
DL ellsbury
NA dahl
SP (low innings cap of 1250)- e-rod/fiers/buchholez/annabelle/j-zimm/kazmir and chafin in SP slot for holds
RP putnam/capps/scribner/tolleson/ziegler
DL walden
NA nola
Proposed deal was opp’s ahmed/tucker/puig/mesoraco for my vogt/ziegler/tolleson/segura.
I don’t want to lose segura and now we have this in place
1. my ziegler/tolleson/desmond/vogt for mesoraco/puig/realmuto. Is this good or too much? My team probably isn’t winning this year (when i took it over around 5 weeks ago it had the worst pitching i’ve ever seen, and is still bottom 2 in ERA/WHIP)
2. he also is interested in my cargo 1, and says he’d add mostly anybody not named stanton/arenado for cargo 1. should i add cargo 1 to that deal to get any of hosmer/betts/greinke/marte/tucker?

And Now the Jon Lovitz Dancers!
And Now the Jon Lovitz Dancers!
Reply to  Mike
7 years ago

@Mike: i’ll try it, he did say when he saw me add cargo 1 to my trade block that he’d add everybody not named stanton/arenado.

And Now the Jon Lovitz Dancers!
And Now the Jon Lovitz Dancers!
Reply to  And Now the Jon Lovitz Dancers!
7 years ago

@And Now the Jon Lovitz Dancers!: if this goes through i’m guessing that makes my keepers (I don’t have to decide this until next march or even april, just assuming) puig/marte/mesoraco/jones/segura/ellsbury/dahl/cano and 1 of carpenter/j-zimm/annabelle.

And Now the Jon Lovitz Dancers!
And Now the Jon Lovitz Dancers!
Reply to  Mike
7 years ago

@Mike: and now he’s saying he doesn’t want to “pay that much” for cargo 1, even though he quoted me exactly (12 hours before he refused) that anybody else on his roster not named stanton/arenado would in fact be available for cargo. I’m guessing those others i listed aren’t enough for cargo? Some people and their communication skills are just as sensible as having a fight with an angry girlfriend. He will still do the original deal (maybe, but i’ve seen people like this guy who’s minds completely change about deals they sent not hours earlier before)

And Now the Jon Lovitz Dancers!
And Now the Jon Lovitz Dancers!
Reply to  Mike
7 years ago

@Mike: completely accurate name there. almost sterile over here.

Dr. Sauce
Dr. Sauce
7 years ago

Hey Mike,
Couple questions;
1)O’brien or Schwarber; who’s contributes more ROS? Who would you rather have in a keeper?

2)In a keep forever league; who would you rather own Rizzo or Marte? How close is it? I’m in a league where I own Goldy, Rizzo, Bryant and Myers (obviously I own others but they are not involved with the particulars in this deal). I have a trade offer on the table; his Marte and Prince Fielder for my Rizzo and Myers? He also wants some draft compensation for next year (2nd or 3rd round pick) … we keep 6 that would be like an 8th or 9th rounder. Marte replaces Myers in the OF (currently I have Jay Bruce or Will Venables manning that position) and Fielder replaces Rizzo as my utility player. Looking at the numbers Rizzo to Fielder is surprisingly close (other than SB’s), but Marte to Bruce/Venables is a huge upgrade and I get the stolen bags I lose from Rizzo. When I first saw the deal I scoffed (not all that interested in giving up Rizzo), but the longer I look at it the more I think it’s not too bad. What do you think?

Thanks

Senior
Senior
7 years ago

I got Alex Reyes, Jose Berrios, Jeff Hoffman, Blake Snell, Sean Menaea, Grant Holmes and Reynaldo Lopez in my Dynasty league for the next 3 years. Would you pick up the following over them?
Tyler Beede
Aaron Blair
Brian Johnson
Luis Ortiz

And for my bats I have Nomar Mazara, Yoan Moncada, Manuel Margot, Bradley Zimmer, and Jorge Mateo in my Dynasty league for the next 3 years. Would you pick up the following over them?
Raimel Tapia
Ozhaino Albies
Peter O’Brien
Jesse Winker
Nick Williams

Surfer dude
Surfer dude
7 years ago

Hi mike, 2 questions for you… my league has a partial keeper rule, (2 pitchers and 2 batters), is Correa a keeper. The guys I have to consider are Donaldson, Bautista, Springer, and Machado. Who do you feel will be the next guy to come up and make an impact?
Thanks for your time.

WalleyWorld
WalleyWorld
7 years ago

Hey Mike, great read as always. Do you have any idea when we will see Oswaldo Arcia back in the majors? Seem to me like the twins could use his bat out of the LF spot. Are they that down on his defense? They might as well commit to the youth movement and pair him with Buxton, and he has proven power. Just don’t get it. Thanks for shedding the light!

PancakeMaker
PancakeMaker
7 years ago

I’ve got O’Brien on a reserve list in one league, rostered him in a 2nd league. How does his D look in the outfield? Based on his size I can only imagine Pollock is having nightmares about the amount of ground he’ll have to cover between POB and Tomas.

Swfcdan
Swfcdan
7 years ago

He’s gone Maikel, he’s gone! *sobs*

Finally had to pull the trigger and trade Franco away, but at least I got back a nice return of Melancon, Price and Cruz. Lets hope I now win this year, and that its not all in vain! I also got A Jack (SEA) back in the deal, you worried about his slow start as a prospector?

Swfcdan
Swfcdan
Reply to  Mike
7 years ago

@Mike: Haha wondered what caused the name change, there I was thinking it was me trading him away.

Yeah it is a good return, I did have to take on a hefty Mesoraco contract, but im not thinking about that right now ha. PLus he’s DL’d and if he hits the 60 day DL I can cut him and get injury relief so only pay a small penalty for it (that’s what I’m hoping for sorry gods!).

Swfcdan
Swfcdan
Reply to  Mike
7 years ago

@Mike: That’s the hope! And then bye-bye Meso.

Eric B
Eric B
7 years ago

After missing out in my league on Correa, Seager, Buxton and Matz I grabbed Lindor and Schwarber last week, was hoping Schwarber was up for good, now it doesnt look like it. I’m holding him for this week but we can only keep 4 keepers per year for a max of 3 seasons…so my question is who are the top 2 SP’s and top 2 bats to target that will actually help me this season? I know you’ve ranked Olivera fairly highly in past articles, but do you think he actually plays everyday or will he just be another cog in Mattingly’s never-ending infield platoons?

Eric B
Eric B
Reply to  Mike
7 years ago

@Mike: Thanks Mike. I was hoping maybe Nola would get the call with Williams hitting the DL but looks like he’s going to triple A first. I think Wisler gets the call Friday with Folty being sent back down, but I’m not so sure Wisler is ready. You like Olivera over Sano or are they about even iyo?

Good Will Hunting 2: Hunting Season
Good Will Hunting 2: Hunting Season
Reply to  Mike
7 years ago

@Mike: i see this was mentioned here as well RE: wisler on FRI.

Wild Thing
Wild Thing
7 years ago

Great write up!

2B prospect question for you… Would you prefer Peterson or Odor in a dynasty league where this year doesn’t matter and if you had Profar on your DL? Thanks!

Wild Thing
Wild Thing
Reply to  Wild Thing
7 years ago

@Wild Thing: whoops I meant for this to be its own question. Sorry!

VanBurenOG
VanBurenOG
7 years ago

Sorry for the completely unrelated question, but given Heaney’s recent struggles, when can you see him getting called up?

Good Will Hunting 2: Hunting Season
Good Will Hunting 2: Hunting Season
Reply to  Mike
7 years ago

@Mike: it looks like it might be for FRI, ATL has no scheduled starter for that date.

Bryce Krispie Treats
Bryce Krispie Treats
7 years ago

Hey Mike,

In best case senarios, when do you see these guys called up?

Luis Severino (and do you think he will be SP or RP?)
Aaron Nola
Julio Urias
Jon Gray

Thanks!

Griff
Griff
7 years ago

Mike,
Great write-up as always. Recently saw that Twins might call up Sano as early as a couple of weeks, but Molitor also referenced September. What are your thoughts as far as when we might see him–closer to a few weeks or closer to Sept?

Griff

And Now the Jon Lovitz Dancers!
And Now the Jon Lovitz Dancers!
Reply to  Mike
7 years ago

@Mike: if i ran these teams i would think the call up times would be earlier if the team wasn’t in competition, as the prospect wouldn’t feel as much pressure in non-important situations (i.e. team IS missing the playoffs); seems to make sense for a prospect to work on stuff in the minors if the team is already competing now.