Wednesday, January 2, 2019

PhoulBallz Interview: Off-season Check In with catcher Logan O'Hoppe

Photo via Logan O'Hoppe's Twitter
The Phillies Gulf Coast League West team saw a promising backstop emerge last summer as 18-year-old Logan O'Hoppe impressed with his statistics and his work behind the dish.

Selected in the 23rd round of last year's draft by the Phillies, O'Hoppe quickly signed and made an impact in the Rookie level short-season GCL.

In 34 games, the righty batting Long Island native sported a .367/.411/.532 slash line and was a standout leader for his pitching staff according to coaches.

If O'Hoppe continues to pile on the production and enjoys some swift progress, it won't be long before the youngster is impacting betting odds, like those found on this page.

Recently, I chatted with O'Hoppe about his thoughts on his initial professional campaign, an injury he suffered at Fall Instructs, how he's preparing for his first full professional season in 2019 and more.  Read ahead for that complete interview.


-In hindsight, what are your thoughts on your 2018 pro debut season?

It was a lot of fun. I learned more than I imagined and I mean both from the coaches and other players.  Mostly, the things I learned most weren't on the baseball side, just mainly life and being on my own and starting off to being a professional, so those are the biggest things that I took out of it.

-Were there any key names, whether coach or player, that gave a considerable lesson, something that you'll take a long way with you?

Yeah, Ben Brown was my roommate.  He helped me a lot, just getting my feet wet and knowing the little things that go on and doing those little things the right way.  On the coaching side, Matt Hockenberry and Chris Heintz really helped me develop as much as a could this summer.

-I'm sure you got  to attend the fall Instructional League.  How was that experience for you?

I did.  Yeah, I went for the first week and then I was hurt, so I took some time off and got back at it the last week of Instructs.  It was good.  It was a lot more instructional based than I had assumed.  But it was awesome.  I just love being in Clearwater with the freedom you have and the environment that you're surrounded with.  I love it.

-What was the ailment that you were sidelined with?

I strained my pec.

-Pec strain isn't one you hear of too often.  How did that happen?

Yeah.  I mean, it's totally fine now, but at the time I just ended up doing a bunch of things and I think natural wear and tear is what did it.

-Did you attend any of those additional seminars that the Phillies host down there in Clearwater?

I did.  I went to strength camp at the end of October into November and that was the most productive session that I went down there for.  Strength camp is what you make of it and I definitely felt like the coaches and the coaches helped me get the most out of it, so that was a really good time.

-Who's down there for something like that?  You mention coaches getting you right, so who are you working with most closely at the strength camp or is it the trainers that you deal with?

It's all the strength coaches and trainers, so there's not instructors there for that at that time.

-Is there anything unique that you picked up there and will continue to do?

No, it wasn't anything out of the ordinary.  It was to learn how the Phillies do their off-season training.  You get the gist of what they're about, so I think it really prepared me for the rest of my career as far as the off-season goes.

-I have heard that at those seminars there are Spanish classes that are mandatory for the American players.  How was that for you and is that more important for you, as a backstop?

We had it.  I took four years of Spanish in high school, so I had a pretty good idea going down of just having the ability of getting my point across, but, yeah Spanish was good.  It was kind of a refresher to what I learned in high school, but you know how important it is down there to be able to communicate with your teammates.

-I know your pitching coach Matt Hockenberry is big on that too, so I'm sure you've heard about it.

Yeah, last year any time there was a mound visit with anyone from a Latin country, then Hock's good with it and always getting after it.

-You're home now...what do you do to stay busy?  Do you do any clinics or work a job of any sort?

Yeah, I'll work catching clinics on the weekend, just with my travel organization that I played with in high school.  So, that'll be my job, quote-unquote.  But, I participated in those clinics that I help out with a couple years before, so it's good to see familiar faces and coaches that helped me get up to this point.  So, it's good to be home because I know I'll be gone for a while starting in spring training, but yeah, it's been really good so far.

-When you come back after being drafted, signed and playing pro ball do any of those familiar faces greet you or treat you any differently?  Are the smiles bigger?  Are the hugs tighter?

I mean, the coaches that I played with were proud of how I played my first year, but I wouldn't say it was a different look at all.  That's what I love about being around those guys is that I try to surround myself with people that knew me before the draft and everything that went on.  That's what I feel like I've done a good job of, is keeping myself surrounded with people that will keep it real and not treat me any different based on what's happened.  So, that's part of why I love being home, because I just get to be treated like Logan.

-Perfect.  So, what's the workout routine of late?  How long do you put the bat down for and where are you on the path to ramping things up toward spring training?

I'll lift six days a week and that's just based off a bunch of things that I'm doing that day, but that's kind the general gist of it.  And then my time off at instructs kind of served as my break, so I was swinging moderately with my rehab stuff at strength camp and after strength camp and then I'd say about two weeks ago was when I got back into my routine and was feeling really, really good.  And then I started throwing last week, so I'm starting to get back into all the baseball specific things, which I'm excited about, because I know spring training isn't that far off. 

-What sort of facility do you get to use?  Do you have the luxury of using something that's nice?

I do.  My travel organization that I was talking about before, they have a facility ten minutes from my house and I'm lucky enough to be close enough with those coaches that I have a key there and I can go hit or throw do whatever I need, whenever I want.  That's really, really nice and beneficial to have that as something to use.  And then I'll train with my trainer, who's about twenty minutes from me and he has his own gym and that's really great too because in the gym we have a family atmosphere and I have gotten a lot out of working with him.

-Is there anything specific that you work on with the trainer or is it your own routine and you have his supervision?


We'll take the program that the Phillies give us and then different things individually for my goals that I want to achieve this off-season and then we'll work from there.

-How strict are those things, 'cause every year I'll here from players about the Phillies' team fitness assignments that you can log into and follow.  Is it a check list of musts or is it more of a guide?

I mean, not just with that in pro ball but anything, it's what you make of it.  It's there for you if you need and obviously the coaches are going to want you to do that, and that's what I've been doing because I know the coaches, they know more than me in that aspect and using whatever they give me will put me in the best spot to do well.  So, it's really kind of what you make of it, but I've been trying to stay diligent with it.

-What are you doing for fun over the off-season?  Any vacations or trips planned?

No, no vacations.  I went to a couple Ranger games here and there, but sporting events are the only thing.  Just trying to enjoy my time at home.  I went down to East Carolina, where I was going to go to school, a couple times, 'cause my sister was a student down there, so I got to see her and caught up with all those baseball kids, so that's really the only things that's going on.  I've been staying home the majority of the off-season.

-Are you a big hockey guy?  Big Ranger fan?

Not huge, but I'm definitely into it!

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