Watching Brandon Marsh thrive in Philadelphia has made Los Angeles Angels fans that much more interested in seeing what Logan O'Hoppe can do after the two were traded for each other. Marsh continued to ascend in 2023, but Logan O'Hoppe had himself a year Angels fans can be proud of.
The young catcher entered Spring Training in competition with Matt Thaiss and Max Stassi for the team's starting catcher job and won it handily. O'Hoppe was in the lineup as regularly as any starting catcher would be until a torn labrum in his non-throwing shoulder cost him most of the season.
O'Hoppe was one of the best hitters in the Angels lineup before the injury, and after a slow start once he did return, had a strong finish. The Angels have themselves their clear catcher of the future who showed the fans why with a promising rookie season.
Logan O'Hoppe deserves a B grade for his 2023 season
It's hard to grade any position player based on just 51 games of action, but Logan O'Hoppe really did impress on both sides of the ball. He earned Shohei Ohtani's trust by being the guy chosen to receive the superstar pitcher, and I thought he handled himself really well behind the dish.
At the plate O'Hoppe had some great moments too. He began the season hitting mostly ninth, but was among their best players. For the first couple of weeks, O'Hoppe was the team leader in both home runs and RBI. The injury he sustained was a huge one, as the Angels lost him in late April until mid-August.
Once O'Hoppe returned to the lineup, it was pretty clear that it was going to take him some time to adjust. He had just four hits in 36 August at-bats which pulled down his season numbers quite a bit. That was obviously disappointing, but O'Hoppe pulled those numbers back up in September when he had one of the best power months an Angels rookie has ever had.
In September, O'Hoppe slashed .258/.317/.581 with nine home runs and 15 RBI in 93 at-bats. He was playing virtually every day, even starting plenty of day games after night games. O'Hoppe was playing every day at the hardest position in baseball to do that in despite the Angels being far outside of the postseason race. In that time he showed the kind of leader and competitor he is.
Nine home runs in 93 at-bats means he's hitting a home run every 10.3 at-bats. For reference, Shohei Ohtani went yard every 11.29 at-bats this season by hitting 44 home runs in 497 at-bats. Obviously the sample sizes aren't the same and I wouldn't expect O'Hoppe to hit a home run pretty much every third game, but he displayed some elite power potential. It wouldn't be surprising at all to see him hit 30 home runs consistently.
O'Hoppe looks like the complete package. He can hit, he can defend, and he can lead. He's everything the Angels should want from a catcher. There are some things to work on like walking more and striking out a bit less, but for a first impression, O'Hoppe did a really fine job in 2023. He's a player Angels fans should be excited about the team building around. I'd expect a big year in 2024 if he can stay healthy.