The acquisition of Logan O’Hoppe from the Philadephia Phillies at last year’s trade deadline provided a new path for he and former Los Angeles Angels prospect Brandon Marsh. With a relatively young staff, O’Hoppe needs every chance he can to get familiar with the rotation headlined by Shohei Ohtani.
The 23-year-old backstop instantly became the consensus No. 1 prospect in the Angels’ orgaization, providing general manager Perry Minasian with a clear long-term option at catcher. His offense at the Minor League level has been superb and while there wasn’t much of an extended stretch in Major League Baseball last season, he held a 1.146 on-base plus slugging with the Rocket City Trash Pandas.
The Angels don’t seem skeptical of his bat, but a focus of theirs early on in Spring Training has been working with Ohtani, via Sam Blum of The Athletic:
“It’s just to get comfortable with each other,” said Angels manager Phil Nevin. “I’m not sure we’re gonna read anything into that.”
Veteran Max Stassi is going to take on his share of starts, but O’Hoppe and the Angels are likely to move forward with his presumably higher ceiling with a solid chunk of appearances:
“Yeah, absolutely,” Angels catching coach Bill Haselman said at the prospect of O’Hoppe being capable of contributing to the Angels this year. “I think his overall demeanor is calm. He’s got a presence to him, where I think pitchers can see that.”
Of his five big league games last season, O’Hoppe didn’t have the opportunity to catch Ohtani, a key factor in why the Angels have kept the pair in lockstep early on in Spring Training:
“You have to catch him a lot, just to be able to catch his stuff,” Haselman said. “His stuff is nasty, it moves. First thing, you have to be comfortable with that.”
Looking ahead to 2023, the Angels could really benefit from consistent offensive and most importantly, game-calling from either of their top catching options.
Griffin Canning feeling ‘great’ after first live batting practice in Angels Spring Training
Canning has flashed upside in parts of three seasons with the Angels since being selected in the second round of the 2017 MLB Draft but has not been able to put it all together thus far.
At just 26 years old, Canning still has plenty of time to turn his career around and is pitching with no restrictions in Spring Training. If all goes well, he could potentially earn the final spot in the Angels’ six-man starting rotation.
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