O’Brien is a big power hitting type with some work to do on his swing and his defense behind the plate. The Yankees found another strong work ethic type though so it shouldn’t be a huge problem. His ceiling is an everyday catcher who can hit in the middle of the order.
A senior, he played for three years at Bethune-Cookman, hitting .304 with 14 homers and 69 RBI’s in his final season there before he was drafted by the Colorado Rockies in the 3rd round last year. Rather than sign though, he transferred to Miami for his senior year where he hit .340/.441/.626 with 10 homers in 41 games.
It’s interesting that the Yankees took a senior considering they might have to overpay a bit to sign their first round pick, Ty Hensley, who wasn’t expected to fall to 30th overall in the first round. So this is perhaps where they looked to save a bit of money.
One red flag is that O’Brien has missed at least 18 games late this season with a wrist injury. He was playing earlier this week, but has not returned to catcher and according to various reports is still playing through quite a bit of pain. Probably not a big deal, but wrist injuries are a cause for concern for any power hitters.
O’Brien was the starting catcher for Braddock High (Fl.) when they won the district championship back in 2008. He was named to five All-American teams and was MEAC Player of the Year during his sophomore season.
Here is some video.