Scouting Report: RHP, Mikey O'Brien

The Yankees drafted Mikey O'Brien in the 9th round of the 2008 MLB Draft out of Hidden Valley High School in Virginia. A broken hand at the end of Spring Training and another ho-hum statistical performance in the Gulf Coast League disguised what was a pretty good year development-wise last season.

Vital Statistics:
Name: Mikey O'Brien
Position: Pitcher
DOB: March 3, 1990
Height: 5'11"
Weight: 185
Bats: Right
Throws: Right

"I felt like it went really well other than breaking that bone in my hand," he said of his 2009 campaign. "That was just a setback because it was right at the end of Spring Training and I was feeling good at that point with all of my pitches.

"That [injury] threw everything back for two months. After I recovered from that I felt great. I felt like I had a good season."

Though his 2-4 record and 5.09 ERA in his second year in the Gulf Coast League surely didn't prove it, he made pretty substantial progress with his secondary pitches.

"Definitely with my changeup – I got so much confidence in it towards the end of the year," he admitted. "It was the same thing with my curveball. I wasn't throwing it for strikes when I wanted to, but I got the confidence to throw it anytime during the count.

"Both of my offspeed pitches felt great towards the end of last year. Hopefully that will carry over to Spring Training."

As is the case with a lot of younger pitchers, O'Brien - who had four games where he gave four earned runs or more and seven games where he served up two earned runs or less - was inconsistent from start to start.

"I saw him pitch twice," Yankees minor league pitching coordinator Nardi Contreras said. "He was a completely different pitcher the second game from the first game.

"His first game he was caught by a Major League catcher so he tried to pitch as one and it didn't work out. But the second outing one of our kids caught him and I think he pitched five or six innings and struck out eight or nine guys. He was very, very good.

"Everything was there that day, the plus fastball, the curveball, and the changeup. I believe he's on-track. I liked what I saw from Mikey."

So even though his lack of level advancement and statistical success thus far might suggest otherwise, O'Brien is getting to the point where those issues could be a thing of the past.

"I'd like to play a full-season [league]," he said. "I really want to make the Charleston team, but if they don't think I'm ready for it, that's their call. I'll be ready for it though and pitch wherever.

"I think my arm is as strong as it ever has been. I think I'm ready for it."

Year

Team

W-L

SV

IP

H

BB

SO

ERA

2009

GCL Yankees

2-4

0

44.0

51

9

41

5.09

2008

GCL Yankees

1-0

0

18.0

26

4

14

5.00



Repertoire. Fastball, Curveball, Changeup.

Fastball. O'Brien is already big league average with his fastball, sitting mostly in the 90-93 mph range with his four-seam fastball. He does show a plus big league fastball at times though, reportedly hitting as high as 97 mph in high school and ticking a couple of 95's in the Gulf Coast League last season. His four-seamer does get some good movement on it too and that could be a great sign of things to come once the Yankees decide to add a two-seamer down the road.

Other Pitches. His main mantra since signing with the Yankees has been developing his non-existent changeup into a more reliable pitch. Though he can't command it consistently just yet, the good news is it shows plus potential at times with good fading action and it is now his secondary pitch of choice in lieu of his curveball, once his predominant strikeout weapon. Like his changeup and fastball, O'Brien's curveball has real good movement and it can be a swing-and-miss pitch. He doesn't command it consistently either though and that will remain his developmental focus.

Pitching. What O'Brien lacks in command he more than makes up with control, meaning he can throw strikes with his pitches but he can't yet pitch them to a particular location. Somebody who despises giving up the free pass, he goes right after batters and forces them to hit his pitch. His 13 career walks in 64 innings show the kind of control he has and the kind of superb command that could be coming in future seasons. He has ironed out his mechanics and he's very athletic off of the mound too.

Projection. The fact is he can bring the heat at times and there's some more power potential in his arm too. Throw in his developing secondary pitches with plus potential, he has swing-and-miss stuff. O'Brien's three-pitch repertoire and plus control gives him a big league middle of the rotation type of ceiling even though his smaller size might suggest otherwise. In a lot of ways he resembles a young Ian Kennedy. He has some work to do to match that kind of command, and like Kennedy, developing a consistent knockout secondary pitch will go a long way towards tapping his potential. Showing a plus fastball in short stints though, he does provide some role flexibility as a potential reliever should that command never materialize.

ETA. N/A. He has an outside shot of breaking Spring Training with the Charleston Riverdogs, but the smarter money says the Yankees will continue to take it slow with him for now and send him to Staten Island this upcoming season.

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\r\n \r\n\r\nVital Statistics:
\r\nName: Mikey O'Brien
\r\nPosition: Pitcher
\r\nDOB: March 3, 1990
\r\nHeight: 5'11\"
\r\nWeight: 185
\r\nBats: Right
\r\nThrows: Right
\r\n
\r\n\"I felt like it went really well other than breaking that bone in my hand,\" he said of his 2009 campaign. \"That was just a setback because it was right at the end of Spring Training and I was feeling good at that point with all of my pitches.
\r\n
\r\n\"That [injury] threw everything back for two months. After I recovered from that I felt great. I felt like I had a good season.\"
\r\n
\r\nThough his 2-4 record and 5.09 ERA in his second year in the Gulf Coast League surely didn't prove it, he made pretty substantial progress with his secondary pitches.
\r\n
\r\n\"Definitely with my changeup – I got so much confidence in it towards the end of the year,\" he admitted. \"It was the same thing with my curveball. I wasn't throwing it for strikes when I wanted to, but I got the confidence to throw it anytime during the count.
\r\n
\r\n\"Both of my offspeed pitches felt great towards the end of last year. Hopefully that will carry over to Spring Training.\"
\r\n
\r\nAs is the case with a lot of younger pitchers, O'Brien - who had four games where he gave four earned runs or more and seven games where he served up two earned runs or less - was inconsistent from start to start.
\r\n
\r\n\"I saw him pitch twice,\" Yankees minor league pitching coordinator Nardi Contreras said. \"He was a completely different pitcher the second game from the first game.
\r\n
\r\n\"His first game he was caught by a Major League catcher so he tried to pitch as one and it didn't work out. But the second outing one of our kids caught him and I think he pitched five or six innings and struck out eight or nine guys. He was very, very good.
\r\n
\r\n\"Everything was there that day, the plus fastball, the curveball, and the changeup. I believe he's on-track. I liked what I saw from Mikey.\"
\r\n
\r\nSo even though his lack of level advancement and statistical success thus far might suggest otherwise, O'Brien is getting to the point where those issues could be a thing of the past.
\r\n
\r\n\"I'd like to play a full-season [league],\" he said. \"I really want to make the Charleston team, but if they don't think I'm ready for it, that's their call. I'll be ready for it though and pitch wherever.
\r\n
\r\n\"I think my arm is as strong as it ever has been. I think I'm ready for it.\"
\r\n
\r\n\r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n
\r\n

\r\n Year

\r\n

\r\n Team

\r\n

\r\n W-L

\r\n

\r\n SV

\r\n

\r\n IP

\r\n

\r\n H

\r\n

\r\n BB

\r\n

\r\n SO

\r\n

\r\n ERA

\r\n

\r\n 2009

\r\n

\r\n GCL Yankees

\r\n

\r\n 2-4

\r\n

0

\r\n

\r\n 44.0

\r\n

\r\n 51

\r\n

\r\n 9

\r\n

\r\n 41

\r\n

\r\n 5.09

\r\n

\r\n 2008

\r\n

\r\n GCL Yankees

\r\n

\r\n 1-0

\r\n

0

\r\n

\r\n 18.0

\r\n

\r\n 26

\r\n

\r\n 4

\r\n

\r\n 14

\r\n

\r\n 5.00


\r\n
\r\nRepertoire. Fastball, Curveball, Changeup.
\r\n
\r\nFastball. O'Brien is already big league average with his fastball, sitting mostly in the 90-93 mph range with his four-seam fastball. He does show a plus big league fastball at times though, reportedly hitting as high as 97 mph in high school and ticking a couple of 95's in the Gulf Coast League last season. His four-seamer does get some good movement on it too and that could be a great sign of things to come once the Yankees decide to add a two-seamer down the road.
\r\n
\r\nOther Pitches. His main mantra since signing with the Yankees has been developing his non-existent changeup into a more reliable pitch. Though he can't command it consistently just yet, the good news is it shows plus potential at times with good fading action and it is now his secondary pitch of choice in lieu of his curveball, once his predominant strikeout weapon. Like his changeup and fastball, O'Brien's curveball has real good movement and it can be a swing-and-miss pitch. He doesn't command it consistently either though and that will remain his developmental focus.
\r\n
\r\nPitching. What O'Brien lacks in command he more than makes up with control, meaning he can throw strikes with his pitches but he can't yet pitch them to a particular location. Somebody who despises giving up the free pass, he goes right after batters and forces them to hit his pitch. His 13 career walks in 64 innings show the kind of control he has and the kind of superb command that could be coming in future seasons. He has ironed out his mechanics and he's very athletic off of the mound too.
\r\n
\r\nProjection. The fact is he can bring the heat at times and there's some more power potential in his arm too. Throw in his developing secondary pitches with plus potential, he has swing-and-miss stuff. O'Brien's three-pitch repertoire and plus control gives him a big league middle of the rotation type of ceiling even though his smaller size might suggest otherwise. In a lot of ways he resembles a young Ian Kennedy. He has some work to do to match that kind of command, and like Kennedy, developing a consistent knockout secondary pitch will go a long way towards tapping his potential. Showing a plus fastball in short stints though, he does provide some role flexibility as a potential reliever should that command never materialize.
\r\n
\r\nETA. N/A. He has an outside shot of breaking Spring Training with the Charleston Riverdogs, but the smarter money says the Yankees will continue to take it slow with him for now and send him to Staten Island this upcoming season.
\r\n
\r\n

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

Are you a monthly or 3-month subscriber to PinstripesPlus.com? Why not get two months free AND get 4 issues of our PinstripesPlus Magazine included by becoming an annual subscriber? Upgrade today to get the most out of your subscription.

\r\n

\r\n

Become an annual subscriber today!

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