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Angels Logan O'Hoppe talks injury, Angels playoff hopes during rehab stint with 66ers.



IMG_6817.JPG“Everyone's made me feel so welcome. I appreciate everyone that makes me feel that way. It's been awesome. I loved it from the second I got here. It's crazy that it's been over a year ago now. I've loved every day.”- Logan O'Hoppe [on Angels fans]

Angels star Logan O’Hoppe went 1-2 with a walk, a double and a run scored through four innings behind the plate today after seeing two hits and two runs over last nights rehab start. O’Hoppes return has been long awaited by Angels fans who have been missing his presence since he went down April 20th with a torn labrum in his left shoulder. While the initial prognosis had the rookie catcher missing up to 6 months of time he’s just recently started his rehab stint with the Inland Empire 66ers four months into recovery and looks to soon return to the Angels lineup as they position themselves for a playoff push. While the big league squad has had its ups and downs through the season they currently sit six games backs from the third card spot and with 46 games left in the season there is more than enough time to position themselves for a potential September rally.

“I felt really good. Yesterday I felt great but I just felt like I hadn't hit a ball in my life before. Today felt better. And it's been getting better every day.” 

The young star started his 2023 season on a tear as he came out of the gates swinging an .886 OPS with 4 HRs through 16 games before injury struck. His returning presence will allow the Angels to relegate current starter Matt Thaiss to a more manageable backup role at C/1B. While Thaiss has done a solid job holding the down the battery offensively the Angels will be more than happy to welcome the push they will get from the power-swinging O’Hoppe. Perhaps a less catching-intensive role will allow Matt Thaiss to return to his earlier season form that saw him swinging a .855 OPS through 25 May games. The Angels offense has been in a terrible lull lately as they’ve scored more than four runs only three times in the last fourteen games, a major factor in the recent losing ways that have seen the team drop nine of those last fourteen. While pitching has been an issue in some losses the overall lack of situational hitting cannot be overstated. The Angels are currently a bottom ten team in the MLB with RISP as noted by their .723 OPS in such situations. O’Hoppe, on the other hand, managed an .833 OPS with runners on base while healthy this season. Another situational bat such as O’Hoppe can prove to be a difference maker going forward into this final stretch of the season, especially if you consider a potential Trout return by months end.

“It was tough going down. I knew it would be for a while. I just tried to dominate the things I could and stay in the moment. It went by quicker than I thought it would. I definitely don't want to do it again by any means but I think it made it as productive as it could have been. A lot of things in life are how you view it and how you go about it. Now we're here.”

The Angels rookie talent core of Zach Neto and Logan O’Hoppe has powered this team’s success despite the many valleys this club has seen themselves through in 2023. Unfortunately the Angels have not seen both ballplayers on the big league roster at the same time as that would have assuredly boost the teams potential far beyond current capabilities. With Neto present in the lineup the Angels are 38-30, and when O'Hoppe is starting the Angels have an 8-5 record, ultimately leading to an overall 46-35 record when fielding either rookie. One can only imagine the potency of this team with both in the starting lineup surrounded by the current talent on the big league roster. Luckily the rest of the team is starting to heat up just in time for a pivotal four series stretch that will take the Angels through Houston, Texas, and Tampa Bay before seeing Cincinnati. A stretch of .500 ball through the next week and a half would do the team wonders regarding playoff potential come September.

image.jpeg“I played with Neto a little bit in Double A last year. He actually came to Double A like two days after I got traded. We were kind of the new guys in the club. We were really close, we’ve gotten closer over the past year. It’s a lot of fun sharing the field [with Neto].

One good week of baseball can change fortunes just as it seems one bad week has changed it all for the worst. With a talent as potent as O’Hoppe making his return it is certain the Angels will make their final push with the highest quality core they’ve fielded all season, especially if Trout and Neto can manage a return in the coming weeks. Mike Moustakas has proven himself the Angels captain as he carries them through game after game with his clutch situational hitting. Luis Rengifo has gone from utility fodder to legitimate one man wrecking ball with his .950 OPS over the last month. Brandon Drury has stabilized the middle of this order with his 7 hits and 3 RBIs in the last weeks worth of play since coming off the IL. I know it’s not easy to say with how badly August has gone, but as it is the emergence of key hitters has kept the team afloat despite their recent stretch of difficulty. It's easy to see how momentum can turn in the teams favor with the amount of talent returning to the lineup in the coming weeks. If this team can run through this brick wall of a month still in sight of playoffs there will exist reasonable opportunity for a push come September. The Angels still have plenty of favorable matchups in the coming weeks with the Mets, Oakland, Detroit and Minnesota populating the schedule through September, making a final playoff push within reasonable grasp. O'Hoppe will continue his stint with the 66ers in the coming days before bringing a potential return to the Angels anywhere within the next two weeks.

“We as a group know that we can make the playoffs and we can make a run. So long as we keep acting on that every night I think we'll be alright.”


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