The Los Angeles Angels entered this season with a clear duo behind the plate. Logan O'Hoppe was set to receive a bulk of the work as the team's starting catcher while Matt Thaiss was going to be his backup. Thaiss had some issues to work through defensively but had done enough in Spring Training to earn one last chance to stick in the majors.
As we all know, O'Hoppe got off to an excellent start before landing on the IL in late April. This forced the Angels to promote their third catcher, Chad Wallach. The Angels had Wallach the season prior as a depth option behind the plate but he appeared in just 12 games for the Angels. He had appeared in just 90 MLB games in his six-year career prior to this season.
With O'Hoppe down for a substantial amount of time, it felt like the Angels were going to be in a really rough place behind the dish with a tandem of Thaiss and Wallach. It turns out that the catcher spot was not a problem for much of the year, and Wallach played a huge role in that.
Chad Wallach deserves a C+ for his 2023 season
Wallach entered the year with unimpressive numbers in his MLB career to say the least. He had a .561 career OPS with just four home runs in 271 plate appearances. For the first couple of months of this season, he blew those numbers out of the water.
Through his first 30 appearances, Wallach slashed .280/.342/.547 with six home runs and 11 RBI. Wallach had four MLB home runs entering the season in 271 plate appearances. He wound up hitting those six home runs in just 82 trips to the plate. Wallach was thriving in a platoon role against left-handed pitchers with Matt Thaiss crushing righties, and was even serving as Shohei Ohtani's personal catcher.
The Angels remained among the best hitting teams with their catchers for a while despite Logan O'Hoppe missing substantial time, and Wallach had a lot to do with that. An .888 OPS through a two month period is better than any Angels fan could've possibly dreamed of. From then on, unfortunately, we saw the bad side of Chad Wallach.
After hitting that sixth home run Wallach went hitless in his next 33 at-bats. He drew five walks in that 15-game span and struck out 18 times. He was a complete non-factor in that 15 game stretch. He'd perform decently well the rest of the way when healthy, but that prolonged slump really tanked his overall numbers.
Wallach wound up slashing .198/.259/.376 with seven home runs and 15 RBI in 65 games and 172 plate appearances. He was solid defensively and had one of his better offensive years, but the streakiness was annoying to deal with. Bringing Wallach back in that same third catcher role is something I'm sure the Angels are considering. He'd be a decent option for it.