The Road to The Show™: Angels’ O’Hoppe
Each week, MiLB.com profiles an elite prospect by chronicling the steps he's taken toward achieving his Major League dream. Here's a look at top Angels prospect Logan O’Hoppe. For more stories about players on The Road to The Show, click here. While every prospect travels a unique path to the
Each week, MiLB.com profiles an elite prospect by chronicling the steps he's taken toward achieving his Major League dream. Here's a look at top Angels prospect Logan O’Hoppe. For more stories about players on The Road to The Show, click here.
While every prospect travels a unique path to the Major Leagues in some way, Logan O’Hoppe really took the road less traveled.
MLB Pipeline’s No. 64 overall prospect made his big-league debut for the Angels in October -- an unpredictable landing spot for a player who was selected by the Phillies in the 23rd round of the 2018 Draft. But after some globetrotting and two strong seasons in the Minor Leagues, O’Hoppe has proven to be one of the game’s most well-rounded catching prospects.
He opened the 2022 season with Double-A Reading and was dealt to the Angels at the Trade Deadline in exchange for big league outfielder Brandon Marsh. Overall, O’Hoppe batted .283/.416/.544 with a career-best 26 homers and 78 RBIs across 104 games with Reading and Rocket City. He bypassed Triple-A Salt Lake upon his first promotion to The Show on Sept. 28 and played in five games with Los Angeles, going 4-for-14 with a pair of RBIs.
"I'm really impressed with his makeup, the way he goes about his business, his presence," Angels manager Phil Nevin told MLB.com in September. "He's as advertised. It's exciting."
Since the 2010 Draft, there have only been 25 players selected in the 23rd round who reached the big leagues. But the top Angels prospect isn’t the typical 23rd-rounder. He seemed likely to honor his commitment to East Carolina University coming out of Saint John the Baptist High School in West Islip, New York. But the Phillies inked him with a $215,000 bonus and were quickly rewarded with a stellar performance in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League. O’Hoppe hit .367 with a .943 OPS, 13 extra-base hits and 21 RBIs over his first 34 professional contests.
Philadelphia kept him in short season ball with Williamsport in 2019, but he found an interesting way to get a full year’s worth of at-bats. O’Hoppe played that offseason in the Australian Baseball League with the Adelaide Giants.
“Weird was definitely a more fitting word for that experience,” O’Hoppe told MiLB.com in April. "But I definitely got comfortable with it. I would say that was a turning point in my career so far because that's when I was on my own for the first time.”
Upon returning stateside before the pandemic, O’Hoppe had made enough of an impression to be placed on the alternate training site roster. The Long Island native earned some viral fame later that summer when the Phils played a game at Yankee Stadium as part of their abbreviated “Spring Training.”
The 2021 season was a true breakout for O’Hoppe. He climbed three levels -- from High-A Jersey Shore to a short stint with Triple-A Lehigh Valley -- before finishing the season in the Arizona Fall League. O’Hoppe was named a Phillies’ Organization All-Star for his efforts during the regular season, batting .270 with 17 homers and a .789 OPS.
“He has the ability to recognize secondary stuff and hitting counts and staying through the ball to generate the natural power that he brings to the table on the offensive side of things,” Phillies assistant general manager Jorge Velandia told MLB.com last year. “He’s an offensive catcher, but for him, the most important thing is how to handle his pitching staff and the leadership that he brings to the table.”
Velandia’s assessment rang true for O’Hoppe in a very impressive AFL season. Not only was he selected to the Fall Stars Game while batting .283 with a .960 OPS, O’Hoppe was also the recipient of the AFL Dernell Stenson Sportsmanship Award.
“I tell every guy the first time I catch them, and if they forget, I tell them again. My No. 1 priority is making sure they’re comfortable and they’re OK with what they’re doing," O’Hoppe told MLB.com in February. "I’m there to help them as much as I can. My greatest joy is seeing a guy that may not have his best stuff the first few outings of the year and not see him again because he got promoted to a higher level. Seeing guys progress is one of my favorite things to see.”
O’Hoppe’s makeup and ability to work with a pitching staff will likely be the lead in his scouting report. But his work at the plate really took off after he adopted a more disciplined approach. O’Hoppe drew more walks (21) than strikeouts (15) in that AFL season and was able to maintain that trend in 2022. He drew 70 free passes and struck out just 74 times in 104 Minor League games and was especially selective in Rocket City, where he had 29 walks and 22 whiffs.
“To be honest with you, I just got sick and tired of striking out,” O’Hoppe told MLB.com last November.
Logan O'Hoppe fell behind 0-2 in the count in his first MLB at-bat but came through with a clean single up the middle on a 2-2 sinker for his first career hit: pic.twitter.com/yS1oJyPHJl— Rhett Bollinger (@RhettBollinger) September 29, 2022
The 6-foot-2, 185-pound backstop tapped into his power early and really caught fire in May. His strong start to the season came to a head during a series in Somerset, during which he bashed five homers in four games. The barrage against the Patriots was in the middle of an 11-game hitting streak, during which he batted .474 with a 1.601 OPS.
O’Hoppe fluttered back down to earth in 30 contests ahead of his Futures Game appearance at Dodger Stadium. He went hitless in one at-bat at the prospect showcase and had just one homer in nine games after returning to the Fightins’ lineup. Even with an impressive showing in Reading, where he finished with a .275/.392/.496 slash line while clubbing 15 homers and driving in 45 runs, his best games were still ahead of him.
O’Hoppe hit the ground running in Rocket City and was the Southern League Player of the Month in September. He finished the regular season batting .306 with a 1.146 OPS over 29 games for the Trash Pandas.
"It was a quick turnaround, just like anything is in pro ball. It's just very different, things I just wasn't used to. So, the first couple of games were a little quick. I didn't really have my feet under me," O'Hoppe told MLB.com in August. "I felt like I got drafted again. But, these guys have been great about welcoming me with open arms. I feel like I'm getting my groove now. Getting my feet settled under me again, just feeling good."
O’Hoppe’s call to the Majors was obviously well-deserved. He’s enjoyed a strong finish to each of the past two seasons, and last year’s breakout in the AFL came under some difficult circumstances. His father, Michael, spent last fall battling non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma but was declared cancer-free in November. This fall, the entire family was able to take in O’Hoppe’s big-league debut in Anaheim.
"I'm just grateful he was here for it along with everybody else. I can't really put into words what it means,” he told MLB.com.
Gerard Gilberto is a reporter for MiLB.com.