Los Angeles Angels' Logan O'Hoppe high-fives teammates after scoring in...

Los Angeles Angels' Logan O'Hoppe high-fives teammates after scoring in the fourth inning of a spring training game against the Cleveland Guardians on March 6, 2023. Credit: AP/Matt York

Logan O’Hoppe is on the cusp of something very special.

The West Islip native and former Newsday Player of the Year has had a strong spring training and put himself in solid position to be the Los Angeles Angels’ starting catcher.

His quick four-year ascent to the major-league level came through a laser-like focus and the ability to follow a few simple rules.

“My message to younger players would be to keep your attention on yourself and getting yourself better,” said O’Hoppe, 23. “I was never a top guy on rankings, in papers, not a lot of lists of players to look out for, as none of those distractions matter. All that matters is staying the course and knowing what makes you feel at your best and building off those things. That’s what makes me feel fulfilled.”

The Philadelphia Phillies thought he was major-league material when they drafted the then-18-year-old out of St. John the Baptist High School in the 23rd round of the amateur draft in 2018. He was the Catholic High School Athletic Association Player of the Year after leading St. John the Baptist to the title. He batted .467 with three home runs and 22 RBIs and threw out 70% of potential base-stealers.

“He’s the top guy that I’ve ever had the pleasure to coach,” said Ralph Dalton, who has been an assistant coach at St. John the Baptist for 35 years and is director of athletics. “He’s always been the hardest worker. Every day he wanted to learn more about the game. He was always the first one to practice or a game and always the last to leave. He’s just a great kid.”

O’Hoppe moved quickly through the Phillies’ organization and spent the 2019 offseason playing in the Australian Baseball League.

“He was getting so much bigger and stronger,” Dalton said. “His development was quite impressive.”

O’Hoppe, at 6-2, 185 pounds, hit five doubles and five home runs and had a .258/.389/.483 slash line with 18 walks in 109 plate appearances in Australia.

He didn’t play during the COVID pandemic in 2020 but was included in the Phillies’ 60-man player pool at the organization’s alternate training site.

His power surge continued in 2021 with 19 doubles, two triples and 17 home runs along with 33 walks in 438 plate appearances. He also threw out 25% (27 of 107) of potential base-stealers. He finished the season in Triple-A.

And 2022 proved to be a monster year and a dream fulfilled for O’Hoppe. He had a .283/.416/.544 slash line with 26 homers, 78 RBIs and a .960 OPS at the Double-A level, splitting his season between the Phillies’ and Angels’ organizations.

The Angels had acquired O’Hoppe in July for outfielder Brandon Marsh. Marsh was blocked in centerfield by superstar Mike Trout and the Phillies had a need for outfield help. Conversely, O’Hoppe was blocked at the major-league level in Philadelphia by J.T. Realmuto. The trade made O’Hoppe the Angels’ top prospect.

“I’ve been lucky and grateful to look up five years later and see how not paying attention to the outside factors that carry no weight has gotten me where I am today,” O’Hoppe said. “My family is happy, healthy and proud, which makes me the best version of me. My goal for this year is to keep that focus to better my club and myself.”

Surrounded by family, friends and former coaches, O’Hoppe made his major-league debut against Oakland last Sept. 28 in Anaheim and lined a single in his first at-bat.

“We were all there,” Dalton said. “Me, [coaches] Ronnie [McKay], Casey [McKay], Ryan [Dalton], his family and a few of his high school teammates. When they announced the lineup, I had to look around and make sure it was really happening. It gave me chills. I love Logan, he’s family. He has all the makings, the work ethic, to be an everyday major-league catcher.”

O’Hoppe finished the season hitting .286 in 22 at-bats for the Angels.

In spring training this year, he has caught Angels two-way sensation Shohei Ohtani.

“He’s always been the best catcher at every level with his defense for exceptional blocking, framing and throwing,” Dalton said. “He caught Ohtani in the Drive Line program in California a year ago and they were familiar with each other.”

“Shohei is the best player I’ve been lucky enough to be around,” O’Hoppe said. “It’s a lot of fun working with him. And I don’t take any of it for granted.”

MLB's LI Connection

In addition to O'Hoppe, these former Long Island players were on major league rosters in spring training: 

Marcus Stroman, Cubs, RHP (Medford): The 31-year-old performed well in two appearances in the WBC for Puerto Rico. He is expected to be the Cubs opening day starter.

Steven Matz, Cardinals, LHP (Setauket): The 31-year-old Matz has had a strong spring (2-0,  1.54 ERA, 12 strikeouts, 11.2 innings).

Anthony Kay, Cubs, LHP (Stony Brook): Mets first-round pick in 2016 is looking for a spot in the Cubs bullpen. The 27-year-old had a 1.80 ERA in five spring appearances.

Gregg Weissert, Yankees, RHP (Bay Shore): 3.60 ERA, six strikeouts in five spring appearances.

Ramon Laureano, A's, RF (Upper Room HS): The 28-year-old outfielder had a quiet spring through 31 at- bats, hitting .226.

Reiss Knehr, Padres, RHP (Manhasset):  The 26-year-old had limited play this spring (two appearances, four innings, five strikeouts).

Justin Dunn, Reds, RHP (Freeport): The 27-year-old continues to rehab a shoulder injury. 

Travis Jankowski. Rangers, OF (Stony Brook U.): Hit only .152 in 33 spring at-bats.

Stephen Ridings, Mets, RHP (Commack): Was in spring camp, but did not pitch in any games following his injuries last year, including a torn lat in September.

Jason Foley, Tigers, RHP (Mepham): Foley made seven appearances this spring and made the roster to start the season after posting a 3.88 ERA in 60 big-league games last year.

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