Logan O’Hoppe Proving To Be a Bright Spot for the Angels
Apr 9, 2024; Anaheim, California, USA; Tampa Bay Rays outfielder Jose Siri (22) beats the tag by Los Angeles Angels catcher Logan O’Hoppe (14) to score a run in the second inning at Angel Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

No team faced a more challenging offseason than the Los Angeles Angels. The franchise found itself at a crossroads after the departure of Shohei Ohtani, arguably the league’s premier talent and a two-time MVP. Despite the allure of Ohtani’s brilliance, Angels fans have endured tough seasons, with the team securing only 73 wins in consecutive years and a slight improvement to 77 wins during Ohtani’s initial MVP campaign. Compounding the disappointment, supporters never experienced an entire season with Ohtani and three-time MVP Mike Trout playing together.

Adding to the intrigue of their offseason, owner Arte Moreno contemplated selling the team but ultimately decided against it. As 2024 dawns, the Angels are focused on rebuilding and revitalizing their roster. While the team has made only modest additions, they’re bolstered by internal assets like catcher Logan O’Hoppe, who has risen as a key starter. Let’s explore how O’Hoppe secured his role and performance since the season commenced.

Who Is Logan O’Hoppe?

Born in 2000, O’Hoppe grew up in New York and played high school baseball at St. John the Baptist Diocesan High School. He committed to play at East Carolina but skipped college after the Philadelphia Phillies drafted him in the 23rd round of the 2018 MLB Draft.

Despite being a 23rd-round pick, he made his way up the Phillies’ prospect rankings, spending five seasons in their system. At the trade deadline in August 2022, O’Hoppe was traded to the Angels, making his Major League debut with the club in September.

Immediately after the trade, O’Hoppe was graded as the top-ranked prospect in the Phillies system and the 67th-ranked prospect in the league-wide rankings. He batted .286 in his first brief stint before Los Angeles named him the Opening Day starter in 2023, with Max Stassi opening the season on the injured list.

O’Hoppe hit his first career homer on April 2 but injured his shoulder just a few weeks later. Playing through it, he tore his labrum with a 4–6 month recovery time. He had a big September, hitting nine homers and giving hope for the 2024 season. It was a season in which few experts had the Angels high up in their MLB Power Rankings 2024.

How Has O’Hoppe Been Playing This Season?

Entering the season, O’Hoppe was one of the only signs of hope for the Angels. Trout was back healthy, but even at his peak, Los Angeles had never won a playoff game with him.

Anthony Rendon has been injury-prone and ineffective since the COVID-shortened 2020 season, and the Angels replaced Shohei Ohtani by signing Aaron Hicks and a few relievers. With the exit of Ohtani, Los Angeles was back to the Albert Pujols Angels days. That is, wasting Mike Trout’s Hall of Fame career.

O’Hoppe, however, injected life into the clubhouse. He believed the Angels would surprise people in 2024 and was confident after a strong rookie campaign, even with the injuries. Thus far, the results have backed up his confidence.

In a small sample size, O’Hoppe is batting .340 with two home runs, seven runs batted in, and a .945 OPS. According to Fangraphs, O’Hoppe is 3rd among all catchers in Wins Above Replacement at 0.6, including a significant defensive improvement. No catcher walks more often than O’Hoppe, and no catcher has a higher wRC+ than O’Hoppe.

Angels’ Long-Term Plans

The Angels have been cursed with trying to microwave their roster with short-term fixes and big free-agent contracts. The Rendon contract is a perfect example of this process. Rendon was one of the top hitters in baseball when he signed with the Angels in 2020, but he was already 30 by the time he played his first season with the team.

O’Hoppe isn’t in that category. He is a young talent and an above-average hitter with the power potential. He also projects to be an above-average defender in a vital position. Los Angeles needs more talent, so O’Hoppe will surely be in their long-term plans unless the right trade offer is made in July. The Angels don’t look like a competitive outfit, making a trade possible, even at just 24 years old.

What Is Next for the Angels?

While Los Angeles isn’t competitive currently, it has had a reasonable start to the season. The Angels are hovering at .500 and, for the first time in nearly three years, have a healthy Trout leading the way. Still, projection systems have Los Angeles as one of the worst teams in baseball, except for bright spots like O’Hoppe.

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