Q&A with Saint Louis Commit Sean O'Brien

By Matt Huck
Area Scout

With the recruiting process moving quicker and quicker these days, 2018 RHP Sean O’Brien of Marquette University committed to Saint Louis University. O’Brien is the fourth commit in the 2018 Wisconsin Class. Currently ranked No. 14 in the Wisconsin Class of 2018, O’Brien partook in the 2018 Top Prospect Games this summer at UIC. Here is a report from the event.

Sean O'Brien7.20.15 - 6-foot, 175-pound two-way player, carries strength, athletic build. On the mound uses a slight drop and drive style delivery. Arm action has a long draw, release from the ear, over the top slot. Fastball is mostly straight four seam, showed control of the zone, flashed arm strength touching 82 mph, sat 78-80 mph for most of his outing. Curveball has 12/6 action, feel for the zone, showed depth with proper spin, 65-67 mph. Right-handed hitter, balanced stance, short stride, smooth loading action, maintained strong balance. Bat strength hitter, path works slightly uphill, producing gap power. 91 mph exit velocity from the tee. Defensively fields the baseball out in front, third base type defender. Arm action is short, over the top slot, arm has carry and accuracy to stick on the left side (80 mph). Ran a 4.62 down the line.

PBR: What were your expectations about the recruiting process? Was it as expected? Easy/Difficult?

O’Brien: Since I am just a sophomore, I really did not know what was going to happen or what the process would be. My coach Greg Reinhard talked to me about what to expect when talking to college coaches and recruiting coordinators. That helped me feel more comfortable when the process did get started. I was expecting it to be longer and more difficult, but I was lucky that Saint Louis showed interest, and it was a good fit from the start - so it ended up being pretty easy. I never felt like it was more than I could handle. I was not overwhelmed, but at the same time it was an honor to be recruited by a great program like Saint Louis.

PBR: What were you looking for out of a college program to continue your baseball career at?

O’Brien: I was looking for a school that was going to continue challenging me, similar to the academic rigors at Marquette University High School. I was interested in finding a coaching staff that was invested in their program long term, who were sincere in looking out for what's best for the student and player, and also wanted to consistently compete and win at the college level. Saint Louis has proven to support student athletes at the same time being highly competitive in the Atlantic 10. Overall, I was looking to find a baseball program that made me a better baseball player, supported their student athletics academically, and would help me to become a more well-rounded person.

PBR: Did location or distance from home play a factor in your decision?

O’Brien: Location was less of a factor in my decision but definitely had some influence. I did not want to go to a school where I had to get on a plane every time I wanted to come home, and I wanted my family to be able to see some of my baseball games. So a school in the central part of the country seemed to be a good fit. I also wanted to balance the distance with not being too close to home either. Going off to college is an independent thing too, and I wanted to be far enough from home to feel like I was really on my own. 

PBR: When did the recruiting process really start to heat up for you? Was there a particular game or event that you feel turned the corner for you?

O’Brien: The recruiting process really started to heat up for me this fall. A Top Prospect Camp that I attended was specifically a turning point for me. Multiple coaches at the event had the chance to watch me pitch, but in particular Coach Gandossy from Saint Louis. Later in the fall we played in Cedar Rapids, Iowa where a lot of schools came and watched our games, including the Head Coach of Saint Louis, Coach Hendrickson. 

PBR: Where did the college you chose first see you? How did your relationship develop with them?

O’Brien: They saw me first at the Top Prospects Camp early in the fall, and it heated up quickly after that. I started talking regularly to Coach Gandossy after the camp, and then I went down for a campus tour. On the tour I got to spend some one-on-one time with the coaching staff, touring the campus and athletic facilities, culminating in an hour discussion with Coach Hendrickson where he gave me the offer to play baseball for him at Saint Louis. Now, I really look forward to developing my relationship with the coaching staff over the remainder of my high school time, and into my collegiate career at Saint Louis.

PBR: What do you like most about the college you committed to and what were the key factors in making your decision?

O’Brien: There are a lot of things I like about the school and campus, but what stood out to me was the dedication the coaching staff had toward the players and their academics. They talked a lot about how the they provide focused academic support for every player during the baseball season and out of season. Being a highly competitive person, I also wanted to go to a school with a winning mentality. The Saint Louis program is thriving right now and is something I definitely want to be a part of. Saint Louis is a great baseball town, with a lot of support for the game at all levels.

PBR: What other schools were on your short list before you made your final decision?

O’Brien: I was interested in other Jesuit colleges - Creighton, Xavier and Georgetown.

PBR: Who is the best player you have faced in your state, and why?

O’Brien: Not playing high school baseball at Marquette, I don’t usually get the chance to play against some of the great players we have in Wisconsin. There are a number of D1 commits in Wisconsin but the one player that stands out to me is Jarred Kelenic who is a 2018 Louisville commit. Pitching against him was a challenge because he has the power to hit home runs, the quickness to bunt for a hit, and the speed leg out triples.

PBR: At what point in your career did you realize you were a college caliber player and became serious about taking your game to the next level?

O’Brien: Being an early commit it is hard to say that there was a time when I knew I was capable of playing at the next level, but I always knew I wanted to. Knowing I wanted to play in college, I made sure I stayed focused on off-season training, and always learning and getting better from the constructive criticism my coaches would give me.

PBR: What advice would you give to young baseball players striving to get where you are?

O’Brien: Find a travel program that you are comfortable with, which has coaches that understand the game and the recruiting process to help you make the right decisions to get to the next level. As a player you need to be honest with yourself and be able to take constructive feedback from coaches, to become the best baseball player that you can. You can’t take it personally, coaches just want to make you a better player - listen and work on what you are told your weaknesses are.

PBR: What is the most memorable moment in your baseball career to this point?

O’Brien: I have had a lot of memories over the last couple of summers, playing with a lot of great players on some really good teams. When I was at the recent Area Code Games workout camp, it was a lot of fun to be around so many great baseball players, competing against each other in a showcase type environment. Specifically, my most memorable baseball game was an 11-0 team victory in a tournament championship game this past summer, where I went 4 for 4, hit a home run, 2 doubles, a single with 7 RBIs in the win.

PBR: Preview your high school season for us. How do you feel your team will be? What are your expectations and goals?

O’Brien: I go to Marquette University High School and they play in the WIAA summer baseball season, so I unfortunately do not play baseball for my high school team. I am currently on the roster for the GRB Rays 17U Showcase team for next summer, where I will be one of multiple 2018s along with the talented 2017s on the team. Playing for the last few years and this last fall with many of the guys on next year’s team, I know we will have good chemistry, compete and play hard as a team.

PBR: Where do you play in the summer? And what has been your most memorable experience with them?

O’Brien: In the summer I play for the GRB Rays out of Madison. While there are a lot of memories on the field competing, some of the best ones are with the guys off the field. Coaches Greg Reinhard and Max Cordio add a whole new level of baseball experiences as part of the program. Everything from winter workouts to the game day van rides makes the GRB program so great. Greg and Max always have fun with their players, but they also know when to become serious and start competing. I am so glad I found the program when I was 12, and they invited me to be part of the GRB family.

Related Content

----WI 3.13.16 Madison Slide - 3.13.16Madison_slide_FINAL.jpg