Royals 1B/OF prospect Peter O’Brien came into spring training as a longshot to make the team. He’s now hit three home runs in four games.
Peter O’Brien has certainly caught Kansas City Royals manager Ned Yost‘s attention. A candidate to make the squad as a reserve outfielder and DH against left-handed pitchers, his power is impressing everyone in the KC Royals camp.
He did it again on Tuesday afternoon, blasting a two-run home run to put Kansas City ahead of Milwaukee 6-2 in the eighth inning at the Brewers spring home in Phoenix. Milwaukee scored in the bottom of the eighth to make the score 6-3, which turned out to be the final score.
The KC Royals offense again enjoyed a strong showing on Tuesday. They rapped out 10 hits, which included three doubles and two home runs (Ryan O’Hearn, Peter O’Brien). Overall, they’ve slashed .319/.392/.589, smacked seven home runs, and scored 31 times.
That’s pretty good for a team that finished 13th in runs scored in the American League for 2016.
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On the mound, Danny Duffy tasted his first action of the spring. He gave up single tallies in both the first and second innings before giving way to Luke Farrell for the final out of the second. Matt Strahm, Peter Moylan, Kevin McCarthy, Eric Stout, Malcom Culver and Yender Caramo followed. Strahm stood out while allowing one hit and notching two strikeouts in two scoreless innings pitched.
Aside from Duffy, the only pitcher to give up a run was Culver on Manny Pina‘s RBI single in the eighth.
"“O’Brien has the most pop I’ve ever seen,” Gordon said. “I told the coaches, ‘I’m not in his BP, because he makes me feel like a high school kid.’ ”"
O’Brien is still unlikely to make the opening day roster in Kansas City. He’s slashed a mere .176/.228/.446 in 79 plate appearances spread over two seasons.
However, O’Brien hit 70 home runs from 2014-15 for farm teams in the New York Yankees and Arizona Diamondbacks systems. Part of the problem has been finding him a position in the field. He could force his way onto Kansas City’s 2017 roster with a strong showing in AAA, or if an injury creates an opportunity with the big club.
Peter O’Brien might lose out in a numbers game on opening day. However, if he keeps hitting, he’ll certainly play for Kansas City at some point in 2017.