Austin O’Brien enters his first season with the Grizzlies and third as a professional in 2019.
O’Brien, who will turn 25 on May 18, spent last season predominantly with the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League Phillies, for whom he hit .325 with three home runs, 26 RBIs, and an .887 OPS in 37 games. He also appeared in three games for the Short Season-A Williamsport (Pa.) Crosscutters.
O’Brien, also known as “Stoney,” signed with Philadelphia following his 37 games in the Frontier League with the Lake Erie Crushers in 2017. He hit .232 with six home runs, 15 RBIs, and a .776 OPS for the Crushers.
Before professional baseball, O’Brien played four years at the University of Oklahoma. He appeared in at least 40 games with at least 100 at-bats each season, and enjoyed his best year as a senior: He hit .290 for the Sooners with eight home runs, 39 RBIs, and an .872 OPS in 47 games to earn an All-Big 12 Honorable Mention selection.
O’Brien’s uncle, Charlie O’Brien, spent 15 years in the major leagues as a catcher for the Oakland A’s, Milwaukee Brewers (then in the American League), New York Mets, Atlanta Braves, Toronto Blue Jays, Chicago White Sox, Anaheim Angels, and Montreal Expos. He was known as a strong defensive catcher with a particularly good throwing arm and won the 1995 World Series with the Atlanta Braves, who defeated the Cleveland Indians in six games.
O’Brien’s brother, Mason, plays college baseball at Wichita (Kan.) State after starting his career at Oklahoma State. His father, John, played college baseball at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Okla.
FRONTIER LEAGUE CAREER HIGHS (single-game)
Hits: 3, @ River City; July 20, 2017
Runs: 2, five times; most recently: @ Schaumburg; Aug. 27, 2017
Extra-base hits: 2, twice; @ River City (July 20, 2017); vs. Florence (July 7, 2017)
RBIs: 2, three times; most recently: vs. River City; July 26, 2017