O'Brien Remains Positive During Downslide

TRENTON, N.J. – Peter O'Brien got off to a torrid start this season with the Single-A ball Tampa Yankees. In 30 games, he belted 10 home runs with an impressive .321 batting average. He has not yet found the same success in Double-A. Despite his misfortunes at the plate in recent weeks, O'Brien feels confident that he and his teammates can get things turned around.

After coming to the Yankees organization in 2012, O'Brien appears to be your typical power hitter. He hits the long ball extremely well, but his batting average has been decreasing to go along with an abundant amount of strikeouts.

In his 40 plus games with the Thunder this season, O'Brien has knocked 15 balls out of the park. In Trenton's game on Monday night at Bowie, O'Brien added to his total with a two-home run evening.

His power numbers have been astonishing up to this point, but they have not entirely covered up his recent plate difficulties. In the past couple of weeks, O'Brien has found it difficult to get hits and his strikeout total is mounting.

During his brief Double-A stint, he is hitting a sub-par .218 with an on-base percentage of only .263. Trenton Manager Tony Franklin feels that O'Brien's struggles may have to do with the added pressure he has faced so far this season.

"I think all young hitters start to press from time to time," Franklin said. "They are all full of emotions and they are going to look at these stats and are going to say to themselves that I need some hits."

O'Brien does not feel that he is pressing at the plate, but does believe that a player's anxiety level typically increases playing at a higher level.

"I obviously want to do well and we have been struggling as a team, so you kind of want to help out as much as you can," O'Brien said. "I think I just need to relax a little more out there."

O'Brien mentioned that it is a new game up in Trenton, as opposed to being down in Tampa.

"I think the biggest difference is that down in Tampa, you may get two or three good pitches to hit per at-bat while here you will be lucky to get one or two," O'Brien said. "I think the biggest thing is to lock in and make sure you are staying with your approach, and to not miss your pitch when you get it."

O'Brien realizes that he needs to adjust to pitchers at this level. Franklin mentioned that this is one of the biggest priorities of young players if they want to be successful.

"Once pitchers start to know you then they will start pitching you a little different," Franklin said. "Once they do that then you will have to start making adjustments as a hitter."

Young hitters as well as pitchers go through the adjustment period from time to time, but Franklin feels that this is something that O'Brien can quickly work out of if he has the right mindset.

"Pete is going to have to be patient and take a lot of those pitches that are out of the strike zone and get into some good hitting counts," Franklin said. "If he is to do this, by the end of the season he should start to make his climb back to the top again."

Hitting coach Marcus Thames has been putting in extra time with O'Brien as of late to help him snap out of his current funk. Just like Franklin, Thames feels that it is common for a young player like O'Brien to go through these phases.

"Guys are trying to figure him out now but he has to stay with it and stick to his game plan," Thames said. "He has seen these guys a couple of times and teams are starting to learn how to pitch him."

Even though his numbers have suffered as of late, Thames does feel confident in the direction that O'Brien is heading.

"He is putting in good work and he just needs to make sure he is swinging at good pitches," Thames added. "As a big guy with power, when you get those pitches, you cannot miss them."

Despite his recent offensive issues, O'Brien, who is hitting just .194 in his last 24 games, has been a real team player that has not gone unnoticed. Primarily a catcher, O'Brien recently was asked to play over at first base.

"He has done a great job at first and I think he looks very comfortable over there," Franklin said. "First baseman handle the ball as much as anybody on the field, so you cannot just put anyone over there. I like how he has handled it."

His agility to go along with his athletic ability has made it a smooth transition. O'Brien is looking to help the team as much as possible, no matter where he is placed on the diamond.

"I really like it over at first and I feel natural over there," said O'Brien. "No matter where I am playing, I am going to feel good."

O'Brien certainly has the right mindset on how to get back on track and regain his success. It will be interesting to see if his recent multi-home run game will get him heading back in the right direction.

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\r\n \r\n\r\nAfter coming to the Yankees organization in 2012, O'Brien appears to be your typical power hitter. He hits the long ball extremely well, but his batting average has been decreasing to go along with an abundant amount of strikeouts.
\r\n
\r\nIn his 40 plus games with the Thunder this season, O'Brien has knocked 15 balls out of the park. In Trenton's game on Monday night at Bowie, O'Brien added to his total with a two-home run evening.
\r\n
\r\nHis power numbers have been astonishing up to this point, but they have not entirely covered up his recent plate difficulties. In the past couple of weeks, O'Brien has found it difficult to get hits and his strikeout total is mounting.
\r\n
\r\nDuring his brief Double-A stint, he is hitting a sub-par .218 with an on-base percentage of only .263. Trenton Manager Tony Franklin feels that O'Brien's struggles may have to do with the added pressure he has faced so far this season.
\r\n
\r\n\"I think all young hitters start to press from time to time,\" Franklin said. \"They are all full of emotions and they are going to look at these stats and are going to say to themselves that I need some hits.\"
\r\n
\r\nO'Brien does not feel that he is pressing at the plate, but does believe that a player's anxiety level typically increases playing at a higher level.
\r\n
\r\n\"I obviously want to do well and we have been struggling as a team, so you kind of want to help out as much as you can,\" O'Brien said. \"I think I just need to relax a little more out there.\"
\r\n
\r\nO'Brien mentioned that it is a new game up in Trenton, as opposed to being down in Tampa.
\r\n
\r\n\"I think the biggest difference is that down in Tampa, you may get two or three good pitches to hit per at-bat while here you will be lucky to get one or two,\" O'Brien said. \"I think the biggest thing is to lock in and make sure you are staying with your approach, and to not miss your pitch when you get it.\"
\r\n
\r\nO'Brien realizes that he needs to adjust to pitchers at this level. Franklin mentioned that this is one of the biggest priorities of young players if they want to be successful.
\r\n
\r\n\"Once pitchers start to know you then they will start pitching you a little different,\" Franklin said. \"Once they do that then you will have to start making adjustments as a hitter.\"
\r\n
\r\nYoung hitters as well as pitchers go through the adjustment period from time to time, but Franklin feels that this is something that O'Brien can quickly work out of if he has the right mindset.
\r\n
\r\n\"Pete is going to have to be patient and take a lot of those pitches that are out of the strike zone and get into some good hitting counts,\" Franklin said. \"If he is to do this, by the end of the season he should start to make his climb back to the top again.\"
\r\n
\r\nHitting coach Marcus Thames has been putting in extra time with O'Brien as of late to help him snap out of his current funk. Just like Franklin, Thames feels that it is common for a young player like O'Brien to go through these phases.
\r\n
\r\n\"Guys are trying to figure him out now but he has to stay with it and stick to his game plan,\" Thames said. \"He has seen these guys a couple of times and teams are starting to learn how to pitch him.\"
\r\n
\r\nEven though his numbers have suffered as of late, Thames does feel confident in the direction that O'Brien is heading.
\r\n
\r\n\"He is putting in good work and he just needs to make sure he is swinging at good pitches,\" Thames added. \"As a big guy with power, when you get those pitches, you cannot miss them.\"
\r\n
\r\nDespite his recent offensive issues, O'Brien, who is hitting just .194 in his last 24 games, has been a real team player that has not gone unnoticed. Primarily a catcher, O'Brien recently was asked to play over at first base.
\r\n
\r\n\"He has done a great job at first and I think he looks very comfortable over there,\" Franklin said. \"First baseman handle the ball as much as anybody on the field, so you cannot just put anyone over there. I like how he has handled it.\"
\r\n
\r\nHis agility to go along with his athletic ability has made it a smooth transition. O'Brien is looking to help the team as much as possible, no matter where he is placed on the diamond.
\r\n
\r\n\"I really like it over at first and I feel natural over there,\" said O'Brien. \"No matter where I am playing, I am going to feel good.\"
\r\n
\r\nO'Brien certainly has the right mindset on how to get back on track and regain his success. It will be interesting to see if his recent multi-home run game will get him heading back in the right direction.
\r\n
\r\n

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

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\r\n

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