Sunday, October 13, 2013

O'Brien Wins Inaugural AFL Bowman Hitting Challenge

Down in the Arizona Fall League we saw the inaugural Peter O'Brien from the Yankees won for the American League  and the Pirates outfielder Alex Dickerson won for the National League. This competition was deemed a "Home Run Derby with a twist" as there were many targets out in the infield and outfield as well making this a hitting skills competition and not a "see who can hit it the farthest the most" competition which I like. Every major league team was represented with one representative to play in the game.

The competition started with four bunts at targets followed by two minutes of hitting off of live pitching while trying to hit as many targets in the infield, outfield, and home run grass as they could. The targets included over-sized baseball card, boxing rings, trampolines, buckets of balls, and home runs which all counted for different point totals. After the two minutes each player got one swing off of a tee and any target hit would result in double points. Like the Home Run Derby has the gold balls with nine outs this competition had the "Bowman Bonus Ball." Unlike the Home Run Derby though, seeing as this is a true hitters competitions, again there was a twist where the player would lose 50 points if he hit any ball foul. Ouch.

O'Brien finished with 1,575 points and Dickerson finished with 1,300 points while the top three from each league also received a cash prize. O'Brien hit five home runs including one to the deepest part of the ballpark resulting in 500 points making him the overall winner.

This is an impressive victory for O'Brien considering other notable prospects down in the AFL this year and competing were Byron Buxton(#1) from the Twins, Addison Russell (#17)  from the A's, Albert Almora(#21) from the Cubs, and other top 100 prospects from around the league. O'Brien was the Yankees second round pick from the 2012 draft out of the University of Miami and split time between the low A Charleston Riverdogs and High A Tampa Yankees in 2013. Congratulations to O'Brien and have fun taking that golden bat home for the victory.

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Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)