The D-backs announced today that they’ve claimed catcher Juan Graterol off waivers from the Reds and designated catcher-turned-outfielder Peter O’Brien for assignment in order to clear a spot on the 40-man roster.
Graterol, 27, made his MLB debut and logged 15 plate appearances with the Angels this past season. The former Royals farmhand spent the 2015 season in the Yankees organization before inking a minors pact with the Halos last winter. He’s a career .274/.306/.338 hitter in parts of three seasons (95 games) at the Triple-A level and has halted stolen base attempts at a very strong 38 percent clip in the minors. Baseball Prospectus gives him average pitch-framing grades in the minors as well. He’s made his way from the Angels to the Reds to the Diamondbacks on the offseason waiver wire thus far and will give the new Arizona front office a seemingly solid defensive depth option behind the dish.
O’Brien, meanwhile, has drawn his fair share of attention over the years due to his gaudy power numbers in Triple-A. Now 26 years old, he’s compiled a career .270/.315/.530 batting line in Triple-A stints with the D-backs and Yankees — New York sent him to Arizona in the 2014 Martin Prado trade — and hit 35 homers in Triple-A as recently as 2015. However, while O’Brien began his career as a catcher, few scouts gave him much of a chance to stay behind the plate due to defensive concerns. Many scouting reports have suggested that O’Brien lacks any real position on the defensive spectrum, and he’s struggled in his brief taste of the Major Leagues to date (.176/.228/.446 with six homers but 32 strikeouts in 79 plate appearances). His pop could make him alluring to another organization, but questions surrounding his defense may limit the interest.