Logan Porter's long journey from clubbie to Majors

September 14th, 2023

This story was excerpted from Anne Rogers’ Royals Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

CHICAGO -- A few weeks ago, a Snapchat memory popped up on ’s phone. It was a photo of a Royals hat in a locker from November 2011, when Porter was a sophomore in high school and a Minor League clubhouse attendant.

The caption: “Another day at the office.”

Over a decade later, the baseball field is still Porter’s office. He’s been a clubbie, an undrafted free agent out of college, a bullpen catcher and a Minor Leaguer just looking for an opportunity.

Now: A big leaguer.

Porter made his Major League debut on Tuesday, catching Game 2 of the Royals' doubleheader. And if he was feeling nervous after waiting out Game 1, he sure didn’t look like it when he stepped to the plate in the first inning, driving a base hit into center field for a two-run single during his 2-for-4 game.

“It’s just surreal to see it all unfold,” Porter, 28, said. “For it to all come together. It’s crazy. It really is.”

Porter went to high school at Valley Vista in Surprise, Ariz., directly across from Surprise Stadium and the Royals’ baseball complex; a right turn off North Parkview Place is the high school, a left is the parking lot for Royals staffers and players. The Porters moved to Surprise in 2004 from Poultney, Vt., because of a job opening for Logan’s mom, Heidi Porter. Seven-year-old Logan was ecstatic about the move. 

It meant he could play baseball year-round.

“When we visited some friends about a year earlier to see the area, Logan looked me dead in the eyes and asked, ‘Do we have to go back?’” Heidi said.

His junior year, Logan took a fire science course that required 120 hours of community service. To help log hours with a schedule filled with baseball, he asked a family friend and former Royals staffer Darryl Kennedy if he could work at the facility that summer. Soon, Porter was a clubbie for the Royals’ Arizona Rookie League team.

“Bubba Starling was coming up then,” Porter said. “Carter Hope is another name that comes to mind. Just to be alongside those guys when they were coming up and seeing their journey was incredible.”

The Royals knew Porter was available to catch if needed -- and he was a few times.

“Better than folding towels,” he joked. 

Porter played middle infield growing up but was learning to catch in high school to earn more playing time. That’s a theme that would show up constantly in his journey to the big leagues.

“When he makes up his mind about something, he’s going to do it,” Heidi said. “He does exceptionally well under pressure. He becomes laser focused, and you can see it. Everything else tunes out, and he’s all in. He’s the most determined person I’ve ever met.”

After graduation at Valley Vista, Porter played for Northwestern Oklahoma State, a Division II university in Alva, Okla. He did well his first two years but tore an ACL ahead of his junior year, and by the time he made it back to the field, he was ready for a new challenge.

He transferred to Dixie State -- now Utah Tech -- in St. George, Utah, as a walk on. There was no guarantee he’d play.

Yet, Porter persisted. He got an opportunity because of injury and showed how well he could hit. He learned first base to get more opportunities. And he hit .376 with 10 homers and 72 RBIs -- setting a single-season school record -- in 2017.

But Porter did not get drafted after his senior year in ‘18. He was determined to not make that his final baseball experience.

“The look on his face after the Draft was over -- he knew he wasn’t getting drafted -- it was just like, ‘I’m not done. I just need any opportunity. I don’t care where I have to go,’” Pete Porter, Logan’s dad, said. “Royals gave him that shot. The look on his face, I’ll never forget it.”

The Royals signed Porter a few weeks after the 2018 Draft, but envisioned him as a bullpen catcher. He was told he might not ever play, and he knew his role. But he kept working.

“I don’t know if I was just ignorant to the fact that all this was a long shot, but my mindset was, ‘I’m just going to do it,’” Porter said. “I showed up every day to work hard and make the most of every opportunity. Whatever it may be, make the most of it.”

Finally, one day, he got a chance. The Royals’ rookie league first baseman got called up, and when manager Tony Peña Jr. found out Porter could play first, he slotted Porter into the lineup. He faced the Dodgers’ Yadier Alvarez, who threw 98-100 mph. Porter’s family was in attendance -- the only fans at George Brett Field that day.

“Logan got a base hit, right-center, nearly a homer, and we went nuts,” Pete said. “But [Alvarez] threw upper-90s, and we were like, ‘OK, here you go.’”

When Porter got the chance, he hit. And kept hitting. Eventually, he played his way into everyday at-bats and kept rising levels, and he had an .863 OPS across five years in the Minors.

“We’ve played together at every level,” Royals third baseman Maikel Garcia said. “He’s probably one of my best friends in America. His story is incredible. I know he can hit. He can really hit.”

In 2022, Porter earned his first big league camp invitation, another milestone moment. Tuesday was yet another.

“It makes me emotional because I know how much he’s wanted this,” Alex Porter, Logan’s wife, said. “He could have given up plenty of times over the years, but he’s just kept working. He’s always kept a good attitude. He respects where he’s come from -- a clubbie to here. It’s crazy.”

“He’s my role model,” Cameron Porter, Logan’s younger brother, added. “Seeing every second of his journey has been incredible.”

That journey has been filled with unbelievable moments. This is a guy who grew up going to rookie league back-fieldworkouts in 100-degree heat because he simply wanted to see how pro players trained. When he met Salvador Perez for the first time, his mom and dad didn’t quite believe him.

Now their son is sharing a clubhouse with the Royals’ captain. And sharing more unbelievable moments.

“At dinner [on Tuesday], he goes, ‘Oh yeah. I forgot to tell you. I got a text message from George Brett,’” Pete said. “I go, ‘What? How do you forget to tell us that?’ Like, George Brett? This is crazy.

“We just shake our heads every step of the way. That kid.”