Photo courtesy of MLB.com
New York's current catcher, Russell Martin, has done a decent job with the pitching staff, but when you combine that with his nightmare year at the plate, he doesn't look so desirable anymore.
The Yanks could look to make a change soon, and made a smart choice taking O'Brien as a potential solution behind the plate.
Here is O'Brien's scouting report from MLB.com's staff:
This is a bit of a do-over for O'Brien, who entered the 2011 season as a strong catching prospect at Bethune-Cookman, but he decided not to sign after being drafted in the third round by the Rockies, instead transferring to Miami for his senior season. He's been more consistent with the Hurricanes, showing the kind of offensive ability most thought they'd see when 2011 began. He drives the ball to all fields and has above-average to plus raw power. He's not a bad runner for the position. His arm has always been a plus and he's shown some improvement behind the plate as well with decent hands and agility for someone his size. College catchers, especially with this kind of offensive potential, often do well on Draft day and it seems that O'Brien's decision to spend one more year in college may work to his advantage.
O'Brien's decision to stay in school is always a huge plus in the experience department for a draft pick. Clearly, a few years or more of college baseball under a young player's belt will make him more ready than a high schooler.
The former Hurricanes' catcher can handle the bat pretty well based on the analysis above, but what stands out most is his above-average arm and already solid defensive capabilities.
That means O'Brien could get a chance much earlier as a backup catcher, thanks to his advanced abilities behind the plate. As a backup his bat won't matter, and O'Brien could get an early opportunity at big-league experience with little pressure to hit.
With Martin's struggles, Austin Romine's injuries and Francisco Cervelli's demotion, the Bombers' catching picture could soon change drastically and that stands to benefit some of the younger catchers in the Yanks' system.