Angels’ top prospect Logan O’Hoppe makes Major League debut

ANAHEIM — As the Angels explained ahead of Tuesday’s series opener against the A’s, top prospect Logan O’Hoppe was brought up to get a taste of what it’s like to be in the Majors – but only as part of the taxi team.

But after Tuesday’s 4-3 win over Oakland, the Angels announced O’Hoppe would be added to the roster on Wednesday and start behind the plate. O’Hoppe, ranked the club’s No. 1 prospect by MLB Pipeline and 65th MLB prospect, was thrilled to learn he’d be getting his first call-up to the Majors — and starting at catcher and batting eighth against the A. is on his Major League debut on Wednesday night.

“It’s been a dream I’ve had for as long as I can remember,” O’Hoppe said. “I just think of the people who helped me get to this point, especially the people back home.”

O’Hoppe, 22, had his contract bought out to Double-A Rocket City, where he excelled after being acquired in a surprise trade with whoever sent outfielder Brandon Marsh to the Phillies at the trade deadline on 2 august. O’Hoppe turned heads after the trade, batting .306/.473/.674 with 11 homers, three doubles and 33 RBIs in 29 games with Rocket City as the club qualified for the playoffs in the Southern League.

O’Hoppe said it was his best streak of the season, but was quick to thank his Double-A teammates, who he says made the transition to a new organization easier.

“It was a dream come true,” O’Hoppe said. “I’ve wanted to be in a band like this for a while. I got there and everyone made me feel welcome right away. It’s a band I’m going to miss. Lots of great guys and lots of friendships that I’ve been able to form and maintain now. So it’s been a great experience and a few months that I won’t forget.”

Angels interim manager Phil Nevin said he had heard nothing but good things about O’Hoppe at Double-A after the trade, and said the only thing that stood out was his natural leadership skills. It’s a quality that should help O’Hoppe as he works with Angels pitchers in the future.

“I’m really impressed with his makeup, the way he goes about his business, his presence,” Nevin said. “It’s as advertised. It’s exciting.”

O’Hoppe spent most of Tuesday trying to absorb it all, trailing veteran receiver Max Stassi throughout the day, an experience that O’Hoppe says helped prepare him for his Major League debut. It was the pair’s first time working together, and the two are expected to handle the bulk of the Angels’ catching duties next season.

“I was following Max to try to get a feel for the routine,” O’Hoppe said. “There was a lot of information to take in, but I’m glad I got my feet wet.”

O’Hoppe, a 23rd-round pick in the 2018 draft from St. John the Baptist High School (West Islip, NY), is considered a strong defensive receiver with power and patience at the plate. But O’Hoppe was humbled when asked to describe his strengths as a player – although it’s clear he takes pride in his defence.

“It’s all a work in progress,” O’Hoppe said. “I feel like behind the plate I’m a little more comfortable than in front, because I feel like I did more and did more when I was younger too. . I’m constantly working on things, but behind home plate, that’s where I’m most comfortable.”

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