|Logan O'Hoppe, image- Jay Floyd|
On Friday, the Phillies added a pair of catchers to their 2020 player pool. Minor leaguers Logan O'Hoppe (pronounced Oh-HOP-ee) and Henri Lartigue arrived in Philadelphia to help catch bullpen sessions for the team's collection of approximately 30 pitchers.
The call to O'Hoppe was extremely welcome as the 20-year-old had been staying as active as he possibly could, working out with other players that have been been waiting out quarantine due to the current pandemic at his home on Long Island. However, he had been very eager to step back onto an actual baseball field.
"I just hope I can play soon. Where ever that is or whatever form that is, that'd be awesome," O'Hoppe said in an interview last week, prior to being added to the Phillies' roster.
O'Hoppe's residence in Sayville, NY became sort of a destination for local hurlers looking to get their work in. Phils prospects like Kyle Young and Nick Fanti, also residents of Long Island, would spend time with their local backstop. Plenty of the work took place in O'Hoppe's back yard, which features a netted tunnel built by Logan's father Mike roughly a decade ago that's suitable for pitching practice, but is likely more recognizable as a batting cage. The length of the passage, though, at just 55 feet, isn't ideal for hitting.
One out-of-state resident also ended up claiming what I will call The O'Hoppe Compound home as Albertus Barber trained there over the past several weeks. O'Hoppe extended an invitation to the righty hurler after he saw video that Barber posted online of himself getting his pitching work in by throwing at a tree in the parking lot of a hotel he was staying at in Clearwater. Barber, an Oklahoma native, had stayed in Florida during the initial stages of the Coronavirus shutdown, hoping the organization's facilities would reopen soon after the COVID-19 forced closure.
A 23rd round pick in 2018 out of Saint John the Baptist High School, O'Hoppe has looked very promising during his time in the minors. He has tallied a .277/.326/.458 slash line in 79 affiliated pro games to date. O'Hoppe also competed in the Australian Baseball League over last off-season, where he sported a .258 with five doubles, five home runs and 18 RBI in 28 games for Adelaide.
O'Hoppe had been looking forward to playing full-season ball for the first time this year. He likely would have been slotted as a backstop for the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws, where he would have played under new Phillies organization hire Chris Adamson. The skipper, known to his players as Tank, managed O'Hoppe's Giants club in the ABL.
"He is an unbelievable human being and an unbelievable brain to be around and it's something that I didn't take for grated this year, because he is a special dude," O'Hoppe stated. "From catching stuff to life stuff to just the approach on how you go about your day, all of that, he's super knowledgeable and super invested in us."
Described by teammates as a guy that has a baseball-only focus, the six-foot-two 185-pound righty batter stays fixated on climbing the developmental ladder and improving his game and that of those around him.
Dealing with the monotony of being at home became challenging for O'Hoppe, who greatly missed being around his teammates and coaches as well as the constantly changing landscape of road trips, bus rides and hotels.
"That's the part I miss most, the part that people say is the hardest part of the minor leagues," O'Hoppe said.
Well, he's now officially back on the professional athlete grind, despite being assigned to just the Philadelphia region without travel. I presume it would be a safe guess that O'Hoppe welcomes this new stay-at-home assignment over his previous one.
Reliever Anthony Swarzak was also added to the Phillies' eligible player pool. The right-hander struck out eight, walked one and surrendered three homers in five innings of work earlier this year in spring training. The 34-year-old sports a 4.32 ERA in 10 big league seasons.
Lartigue, 25, was a 7th round pick of the Phillies in 2016 out of Mississippi. In four pro seasons, the switch-hitter is a .220 hitter with 23 RBI and 130 RBI. He played last season with Double-A Reading.
**This piece was updated to reflect the proper town name and location of "The O'Hoppe Compound".