Few players have more power. With 33 home runs this season, Peter O’Brien ranks third in all of minor league baseball, behind only mega-prospects Joey Gallo and Kris Bryant. The 23 year old Yankee prospect old will now be taking that power across the country; the Yankees have agreed to send O’Brien and a player to be named later to the Arizona Diamondbacks in exchange for super utility-man Martin Prado, according to MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert.
O’Brien’s power is prodigious, but the rest of his game is not. His propensity to strikeout shouldn’t hold him back in today’s game, but he doesn’t walk, collecting just 20 free passes in 413 plate appearances between Advanced-A Tampa and Double-A Trenton this year (BB% of just 4.9%). His on base percentage at Trenton was a meager .296, removing the possibility for any comparisons to the notoriously patient and powerful Adam Dunn.
There are defensive concerns as well. His arm is fine behind the dish, but before the 2012 draft, Baseball America wrote that the 6’5 225 pound O’Brien, “lacks agility and struggles to block balls in the dirt.” Two years later, those criticisms have not been answered. He has played some third base and right field during his time as a professional, but as a 20 runner on the 20-80 scouting scale, those positions are not idea either. Ultimately he may be relegated to first base and DH, where he has been stationed in a combined 47 of his his 72 Double-A games this season.
Still, the power is plus, and MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo ranked him as New York’s 9th best prospect prior to the trade.
For his part, Martin Prado has struggled this season, posting the lowest slugging percentage (.370 of his career and his lowest on base percentage (.317) since 2007, when he was a member of the Braves. Still, he has the ability to play every position on the infield – even shortstop in a pinch – and left and right field, and he’s just two years removed from a season in which he hit .301/.359/.438 with a WAR of 5.5.
The Yankees will assume all of the money left on the 30 year old veteran’s contract, which is probably why they only had to sacrifice O’Brien and a PTBNL in the deal. Prado will be owed 11 million dollars per season in 2015 and 2016.