O'Brien Making Strides

Peter O'Brien is recovered and healthy after breaking his wrist last year at the University of Miami, and experiencing time in Staten Island and with the Charleston RiverDogs is only preparing him further for his professional career. Far from a finished product, O'Brien and his coaches can already see real progress being made to his entire game.

After signing with the Yankees last summer, O'Brien is working on improving his game. His teammates and coaches are expecting and hoping for the best out of the catcher and his talent this season.

In his offseason, the biggest thing O'Brien worked on was his flexibility while maintaining the same weight, and improving his strength.

"It went really well," the 23-year old Miami Native said of his first Spring Training Camp. "The biggest thing I had to focus on was my defense and really driving the ball the other way, and those are two things I really think I've improved on."

The 6-foot-3, 225-pound catcher is working on his all around game.

"Game calling, defense, sticking with a good approach, and strike zone judgment are what I'm working on in particular right now," he added. "I'm a bigger catcher, so flexibility is important."

"Catching is a position where you have to get down low to be able to block and more, and I think that has really been my biggest improvement."

After breaking his wrist a year ago at the University of Miami, O'Brien got his feet wet in Staten Island while still experiencing difficulties with his wrist.

"When I got there it was still rough, especially since I didn't know all the ins and outs of pro ball, but with half a season under my belt up there, when I got here I knew what to expect," he said.

Hitting coach P.J. Pilittere is confident that O'Brien now knows what he needs to do in order to have success after seeing him in Spring Training camp.

"He came down pretty early in January this year to clean up some stuff with his lower half and his swing mechanics," Pilittere said. "He's done a pretty good job of keeping it consistent and I think he now has a better understanding of where he needs to be in order to have success and what position he needs to be in."

At the plate, Pilittere believes O'Brien is doing a great job by always being ready to hit at every pitch.

"At times in the past he could be a little late, but he's doing a good job of preparing himself to attack and use the natural power that he has."

"It's hard to tell guys to go up there and look for a walk because the nature of the game is to swing.

"Trying to give him a mentality or an approach of being more selective at getting his pitch and not just settling for anything that is close, looking to drive earlier in the count, being selective, and taking pitches that aren't as close to his spots will turn into more walks."

Defensively, Pilittere, a former catcher, believes that O'Brien is a hard worker and communicates well with his pitchers.

"He's doing a good job of staying with his pitchers and separating offense and defense, which is really a big task for catchers," Pilittere added. "It's really easy to not work with your pitcher, but he did a really good job and takes a lot of pride in helping his pitchers out.

"I think he is improving daily with his game calling and working really hard to get better at blocking, receiving, and throwing, the whole package. He's making strides I just hope he can keep it going at a steady pace."

This season Pilittere only expects O'Brien to get better and work even harder.

"He's already a really talented player and he is doing a really good job for us right now. I'd love it if he could just stay consistent in what he's doing day in and day out and be professional with how he goes about his business, and put in a pretty good year."

Manager Al Pedrique had positive things to say about the catcher and his strengths and improvement.

"He's a kid with a lot of energy and tools offensively and defensively," Pedrique said. "I think it was a process of maturing and understanding for him, especially for what is going to get him to the big leagues, his defense."

So far at the plate, Pedrique believes O'Brien is getting better with every game.

"Offensively, he's getting much better. He knows his strike zone and that he has to be aggressive with his fastball and stay away from chasing a lot of pitches outside the strike zone.

"He needs to be consistent with his plate discipline and I think when he realizes what type of hitter he is, he's going to be just fine," said the first-year RiverDogs Manager.

"He likes to chase a lot of pitches out of the zone, like I said earlier. He needs to stay back to the middle and to the right side so he has power to entire field.

"He worries sometimes about the inside pitch, but he doesn't have to because his hands are so quick that he can react to the inside pitch.

"Again, once he knows what type of hit it is and if he goes after more strikes and is aggressive early in the count, meaning that he will swing more fastballs, he should end up having a good year."

Pedrique is impressed with O'Brien's energy behind the plate and his arm strength. Though, he has a few suggestions for the First-Year draft player.

"He needs to work on his receiving, he gets too stiff at times and needs to prepare and be ready for every pitch, and that's the one thing that is hard for a catcher.

"Throughout nine innings, sometimes you are going to cut between 140 and 150 pitches, so he has to be ready for every single one. His blocking is getting better, but calling the game needs improvement," Pedrique opined.

On both sides of the ball, Pedrique expects O'Brien to be more selective this season. Offensively, to be more aggressive earlier in the count, use the whole field, and keep his head down while swinging the bat.

Defensively, Pedrique expects O'Brien to be consistent in calling the game, earning trust from the pitchers, blocking balls, and continuing to be consistent in his throwing.

"He definitely needs a lot of work in receiving, and also he needs to be consistent in his throwing, specifically to second base, and quicker with his foot work."

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Pinstripes Plus Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\nAfter signing with the Yankees last summer, O'Brien is working on improving his game. His teammates and coaches are expecting and hoping for the best out of the catcher and his talent this season.
\r\n
\r\nIn his offseason, the biggest thing O'Brien worked on was his flexibility while maintaining the same weight, and improving his strength.
\r\n
\r\n\"It went really well,\" the 23-year old Miami Native said of his first Spring Training Camp. \"The biggest thing I had to focus on was my defense and really driving the ball the other way, and those are two things I really think I've improved on.\"
\r\n
\r\nThe 6-foot-3, 225-pound catcher is working on his all around game.
\r\n
\r\n\"Game calling, defense, sticking with a good approach, and strike zone judgment are what I'm working on in particular right now,\" he added. \"I'm a bigger catcher, so flexibility is important.\"
\r\n
\r\n\"Catching is a position where you have to get down low to be able to block and more, and I think that has really been my biggest improvement.\"
\r\n
\r\nAfter breaking his wrist a year ago at the University of Miami, O'Brien got his feet wet in Staten Island while still experiencing difficulties with his wrist.
\r\n
\r\n\"When I got there it was still rough, especially since I didn't know all the ins and outs of pro ball, but with half a season under my belt up there, when I got here I knew what to expect,\" he said.
\r\n
\r\nHitting coach P.J. Pilittere is confident that O'Brien now knows what he needs to do in order to have success after seeing him in Spring Training camp.
\r\n
\r\n\"He came down pretty early in January this year to clean up some stuff with his lower half and his swing mechanics,\" Pilittere said. \"He's done a pretty good job of keeping it consistent and I think he now has a better understanding of where he needs to be in order to have success and what position he needs to be in.\"
\r\n
\r\nAt the plate, Pilittere believes O'Brien is doing a great job by always being ready to hit at every pitch.
\r\n
\r\n\"At times in the past he could be a little late, but he's doing a good job of preparing himself to attack and use the natural power that he has.\"
\r\n
\r\n\"It's hard to tell guys to go up there and look for a walk because the nature of the game is to swing.
\r\n
\r\n\"Trying to give him a mentality or an approach of being more selective at getting his pitch and not just settling for anything that is close, looking to drive earlier in the count, being selective, and taking pitches that aren't as close to his spots will turn into more walks.\"
\r\n
\r\nDefensively, Pilittere, a former catcher, believes that O'Brien is a hard worker and communicates well with his pitchers.
\r\n
\r\n\"He's doing a good job of staying with his pitchers and separating offense and defense, which is really a big task for catchers,\" Pilittere added. \"It's really easy to not work with your pitcher, but he did a really good job and takes a lot of pride in helping his pitchers out.
\r\n
\r\n\"I think he is improving daily with his game calling and working really hard to get better at blocking, receiving, and throwing, the whole package. He's making strides I just hope he can keep it going at a steady pace.\"
\r\n
\r\nThis season Pilittere only expects O'Brien to get better and work even harder.
\r\n
\r\n\"He's already a really talented player and he is doing a really good job for us right now. I'd love it if he could just stay consistent in what he's doing day in and day out and be professional with how he goes about his business, and put in a pretty good year.\"
\r\n
\r\nManager Al Pedrique had positive things to say about the catcher and his strengths and improvement.
\r\n
\r\n\"He's a kid with a lot of energy and tools offensively and defensively,\" Pedrique said. \"I think it was a process of maturing and understanding for him, especially for what is going to get him to the big leagues, his defense.\"
\r\n
\r\nSo far at the plate, Pedrique believes O'Brien is getting better with every game.
\r\n
\r\n\"Offensively, he's getting much better. He knows his strike zone and that he has to be aggressive with his fastball and stay away from chasing a lot of pitches outside the strike zone.
\r\n
\r\n\"He needs to be consistent with his plate discipline and I think when he realizes what type of hitter he is, he's going to be just fine,\" said the first-year RiverDogs Manager.
\r\n
\r\n\"He likes to chase a lot of pitches out of the zone, like I said earlier. He needs to stay back to the middle and to the right side so he has power to entire field.
\r\n
\r\n\"He worries sometimes about the inside pitch, but he doesn't have to because his hands are so quick that he can react to the inside pitch.
\r\n
\r\n\"Again, once he knows what type of hit it is and if he goes after more strikes and is aggressive early in the count, meaning that he will swing more fastballs, he should end up having a good year.\"
\r\n
\r\nPedrique is impressed with O'Brien's energy behind the plate and his arm strength. Though, he has a few suggestions for the First-Year draft player.
\r\n
\r\n\"He needs to work on his receiving, he gets too stiff at times and needs to prepare and be ready for every pitch, and that's the one thing that is hard for a catcher.
\r\n
\r\n\"Throughout nine innings, sometimes you are going to cut between 140 and 150 pitches, so he has to be ready for every single one. His blocking is getting better, but calling the game needs improvement,\" Pedrique opined.
\r\n
\r\nOn both sides of the ball, Pedrique expects O'Brien to be more selective this season. Offensively, to be more aggressive earlier in the count, use the whole field, and keep his head down while swinging the bat.
\r\n
\r\nDefensively, Pedrique expects O'Brien to be consistent in calling the game, earning trust from the pitchers, blocking balls, and continuing to be consistent in his throwing.
\r\n
\r\n\"He definitely needs a lot of work in receiving, and also he needs to be consistent in his throwing, specifically to second base, and quicker with his foot work.\"
\r\n
\r\n

\r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n\r\n
\r\n

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\r\n

\r\n

Become an annual subscriber today!

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