It has been a long time since Phillies’ fans have been able to celebrate some of the young talent in the farm system. Ever since the start of this rebuild, the team has struggled to find and develop impact, young talent. The Phillies, trying to fix those weaknesses, completely upheaved their player development department, hiring Brian Barber away from the Yankees to head it.
Three years later, and the team is beginning to see some fruits of their labors. Pitchers like Andrew Painter and Mick Abel both have top end of the rotation ability. Both are ways away from making an impact on the big club, but their continued development is making fans hopeful.
The Phillies’ prospect making the most noise, though, is Double-A catcher Logan O’Hoppe.
O’Hoppe, the Phillies’ 23rd round pick in 2018, signed for $215,000, well above slot value for a pick in that round. The team liked what they saw, so they made sure to get him under contract. He burst onto the scene in the Gulf Coast League in 2018, playing 34 games and slashing a robust .367/.411/.532.
The next year, he struggled playing in short season ball in Williamsport. He struck out over 30% of the time and wasn’t walking nearly enough. While 2020 was a year off for most minor leaguers his age, being a catcher allowed O’Hoppe to participate in the satellite camp for the entire year. It must have done wonders getting all those reps, because the West Islip, NY native came out in 2021 a different player.
Across three levels last year, O’Hoppe slashed a healthy .270/.331/.458. More impressively, he cut his strikeout percentage down to 19.3%, while raising his walk percentage to nearly 8%. Building off of the season, he took his talents to the Arizona Fall League and did more of the same. Actually, he finished the fall season with more walks (21) than strikeouts (15).
Returning to Reading this season, he has been doing more of the same. Last week, he put on a show, homering five times in four games for the Fightin’ Phils. Over his last six games, O’Hoppe is hitting .550/.640/.1.350 (11-20) with 5 HRs, 1 2B, 8 Rs, and 8 RBIs.
O’Hoppe is not just an offensive catcher, though. Last year, he was really good behind the plate as well, holding a .992 fielding percentage, and catching runners stealing 25% of the time. He caught over 650 innings behind the plate in 2021 and committed just six errors.
Not only is O’Hoppe a good player, but he is an even better person. He won the 2021 Dernell Stenson Sportsmanship Award in the AFL last year. Known for his tireless work ethic and ability to handle a pitching staff, O’Hoppe seems destined to be a productive major league catcher.
Obviously, many people’s first thought is that he could be an interesting trade chip come July when the Phillies need to make an impact move. However, with JT Realmuto getting older, having catching depth is important. The Phillies have had catching depth for a few years, and it seems like O’Hoppe is pulling away as the best.
He is closing in on the MLB, and with continued success, will get there sooner than later. With the way the organization raves about him, I believe that his big-league moment comes with the Phillies.
Let’s hope the Phillies have more sustained success developing young players like O’Hoppe. Let’s also hope that Logan O’Hoppe can keep hitting more HRs.