For most of the second half of the season, starting pitcher Riley O’Brien was one or two injuries away from a spot in the Cincinnati Reds rotation.
O’Brien, who had a 4.55 ERA in Triple-A this season with the Louisville Bats, will make his MLB with the Reds on Tuesday against the Chicago White Sox. With Luis Castillo on the family emergency list, O'Brien will start on Tuesday.
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This season, the 26-year-old right-hander made 22 starts and threw 112 ⅔ innings. Here are three things to know about O’Brien.
1. The Reds acquired O’Brien for Cody Reed
After the Reds designated reliever Cody Reed for assignment last season, the Reds traded him for O’Brien in a deal with the Tampa Bay Rays. O’Brien, the Reds No. 24 prospect in the organization, made his Triple-A debut this season and had spent the entire year with the Louisville Bats.
O’Brien was an eighth round pick by the Rays in 2017, and he has pitched in the Minors for five seasons.
“Another talented pitcher,” Reds manager David Bell said. “He's had a nice season. He has been on the radar for a long time. Just to see him in Cincinnati here and get a start, it's great for him but also for us to get to see him at this level.”
2. O’Brien spent this year “learning how to use his stuff”
At the start of the season, O’Brien’s focus was on developing his fastball and learning when to use his breaking ball. He’s at his best when he elevates his fastball in the zone, and he has a big breaking ball that sweeps across the strike zone.
“He’s got really impressive stuff,” Bats manager Pat Kelly said in April. “It’s just a matter of him learning how to use it, how to elevate his fastball and when to use his breaking ball. It’s just a learning process.”
3. O’Brien comes from a baseball family
O’Brien’s grandfather, Johnny, had a six-year Major League career and was a starting second baseman and a pitcher for the Pittsburgh Pirates, St. Louis Cardinals and Milwaukee Braves in the 1950s.
Johnny’s brother, Eddie, was a teammate on the Pittsburgh Pirates, and Eddie was also a two-way player during his five-year career.