D-backs deal O’Brien to Royals for minor-league pitcher

Peter O'Brien hit five home runs in 67 plate appearances for the D-backs last year but struck out 27 times and had a .141 batting average.
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

PHOENIX — The Arizona Diamondbacks have acquired right-handed pitcher Sam Lewis from the Kansas City Royals in a trade for slugging outfielder Peter O’Bren.

O’Brien, 26, appeared in 28 games with Arizona in 2016 and hit 5 home runs with 9 RBI and a .141 batting average in 67 plate appearances. He struck out 27 times.

His raw power is considered elite, but his defensive limitations, contact issues and lack of plate discipline (23 walks and 147 strikeouts last season at Triple-A Reno) stalled his progress in the D-backs organization.

He played most of two seasons for Reno, hitting 24 home runs in 2016 and 26 in 2015. He was acquired in July 2014 in a trade that sent Martin Prado to the New York Yankees. O’Brien was drafted and spent the early years of his minor-league career as a catcher, but scouts are not sold on his defense behind the plate, and many believe he’s best suited for designated hitter.

Lewis, 25, pitched in 17 games last season for Single-A Lexington and Single-A Advanced Wilmington after missing all of the 2015 season following Tommy John surgery. He was 3-1 with one save, a 1.62 ERA, 30 strikeouts and three walks in 33 1/3 innings.

He is 6-feet-4 and 195 pounds and has 49 career minor-league appearances since signing with the Royals as a minor-league free agent out of Indiana Wesleyan in 2012.