"I wasn't surprised," O'Brien said about the promotion. "I was having a good season [in low-A Charleston]. I just didn't know when, but I'm glad I'm here in Tampa and I'm ready to work."
A good season is an understatement. The 6-foo-4, 225 pound catching prospect lit up South Atlantic League pitching to the tune of 11 home runs, 41 runs batted in and a scintillating .325 batting average before being called up to High-A Tampa on Friday.
"I feel like I did a good job down there," O'Brien said. "I learned a lot about myself as a baseball player.
"I went down to Charleston to work on some things and make myself better and I think that's what I did."
The Yankees 2012 second round pick out of the University of Miami as a college senior, O'Brien has an advanced feel for hitting and a simple approach that allows him to spray balls all over the field.
"I just stick to my approach and not try to do too much," O'Brien said about his game on the offensive end. "I'm working on getting into better hitter's counts and driving the ball the other way."
O'Brien has already caught the attention of Tampa Yankees hitting coach Marcus Thames after only a short time with the ball club.
"His bat is really loud, it makes a whole different sound," Thames said. "I really like what I've seen from him the last day and a half in batting practice and in the game.
"He has a simple plan up there and tries to stay in the middle of the field and get a good pitch to hit."
Now it's just a matter of adjusting to the new challenges the Florida State League presents.
"The competition is going to be better and the game gets a little quicker at every level," O'Brien said on adjusting to the new league. "But it's still the same game you were playing when you were a little kid.
"You just have to stick to your same routine, keep the same approach offensively and defensively, and grind it out."
The only question now is: Where on the diamond will he grind it out on the defensive side of the ball?
O'Brien played catcher all through college and so far in his short professional career, but the Tampa Yankees currently have top prospect Gary Sanchez entrenched behind the plate.
A position change to third base or the outfield could be on the horizon for the power-hitting prospect. O'Brien last played a position other than catcher as a senior in high school, when he was a third baseman.
"I'm ready to help this organization wherever they want me to play," O'Brien said of the possibility of changing positions. "Whether that's third base, the outfield, or behind the plate, I'm going to get my reps in."
O'Brien started at designated hitter for the Tampa Yankees in Friday's game against the Brevard County Manatees and will continue to do so for the time being, but will play other positions as soon as he's comfortable. The 22-year-old went 1-4 with a single and two strikeouts on breaking balls down in the zone in his Florida State League debut.
"Each level you go up the offspeed pitches get a little better," Thames said. "He's just going to have to make sure he stays off that stuff.
"People are going to try to pound [O'Brien] in because he's so big and then try to get him to swing at bad pitches later in the count. If he lays off those pitches he's going to be fine."
Batting sixth in the lineup at designated hitter for a second straight game, O'Brien crushed a fastball for a grand-slam on Saturday in his first at-bat of the night.
He seems to be settling in nicely.
O'Brien Settling In Already
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