Projecting Mark Canha

josephd10
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I am not a scout, nor do I claim to have any scouting abilities.

So for that reason projecting Mark Canha is really just a guessing game.

I don’t really know what the Oakland Athletics can expect from him, but I’ll do my darnedest to make my guess an educated one.

In the hitter friendly Pacific Coast League last season Canha swatted 20 home runs, drove in 82 runs, and collected 141 hits, all top-10 in the league, respectively. He batted .303/ .384/ .505 in 465 at-bats.

Prior to the 2014 Rule-5 Draft, J.J. Cooper of Baseball America had this to say about Canha:

"“Canha has an above-average hit tool with average power. Primarily a first baseman, he can play third base or left field in a pinch”"

Feb 25, 2014; Jupiter, FL, USA; Miami Marlins Mark Canha poses during media day at Roger Dean Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports

In triple-A last season he did not show a clear platoon split. Posting OPS marks above .865 against both righties and lefties, Canha becomes even more useful to the A’s who are likely to utilize his flexibility as often as possible.

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I wanted to find a player comparable to Canha who might help translate his triple-A numbers to major league numbers.

I landed on Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim outfielder Kole Calhoun.

Aside from six games in 2013 when Calhoun played first base, he has only played outfield, so comparing him and Canha isn’t a perfect task.

Let’s get to the numbers:

In 2012 Calhoun received 410 at-bats in the PCL. He triple slashed .298/ .369/ .507 with a wOBA of .381, ISO of .201, and a 125 wRC+.

He walked 9.5 percent of the time and struck out 19 percent of the time. His walk-per-strikeout rate was 0.50.

In 2014 Canha earned 465 at-bats in the PCL. His triple-slash line was .303/ .384/ .505 with a wOBA of .389, a .202 ISO, and 131 wRC+.

He walked in 10.6 percent of his ABS, and struck out 20.9 percent. His walk-per-strikeout rate was 0.51.

Without duplicating them exactly, you cannot get two sets of numbers as similar as Kalhoun and Canha’s triple-A numbers.

Calhoun, who never was regarded as much of a prospect has been a much bigger base stealing threat than Canha, notching double digit steals often. But Canha has more defensive appeal due to his flexibility.

Aug 17, 2014; Arlington, TX, USA; Los Angeles Angels right fielder Kole Calhoun (56) hits during the game against the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park in Arlington. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Calhoun was a full-time major leaguer last season for the first time and put together a quietly great season in Anaheim. He triple slashed .272/ .325/ .450 with a wOBA of .341, ISO of .178, and wRC+ of 125.

Calhoun is a left-handed hitter who slightly favors right-handed pitching, so he faced mostly competition to his liking.

Canha is likely to face mostly left-handed pitching as a result of the situation he is in, but could factor into a more full-time role should a regular such as Ike Davis, Brett lawrie, Coco Crisp, or Josh Reddick miss time.

I compared Canha and Calhoun not to suggest that they will continue to mirror each other in terms of production, but to provide a basis for why I think Canha can succeed in the big leagues.

In a full time role the ZiPS projection system has Canha positioned to swat 11 home runs, drive in 55, and score 60 runs with a triple slash line of .235/ .307/ .364.

Steamer expects much less playing time for Canha, reducing his games played to just 57. In that time he is projected for 6 HRs, 25 RBIs, 26 Rs, and a slash line of .245/ .314/ .385, good for a wRC+ of 102.

The former rule-5 draft pick whom the A’s acquired in a trade with Colorado, Canha will need to remain on the Oakland Athletics active roster all season, or be offered back to the Miami Marlins.

The A’s traded a potential big-league reliever to obtain Cahna which tells us they like him a lot.

I can see Canha approach the steamer triple-slash projection of .245/ .314/ .385, but add more power.

[table id=46 /]

However, a .400+ slugging percentage with 15-18 home runs is certainly do-able if he is given full-time at-bats.

Hopefully We’ll get to see plenty of this in Oakland:

What do you think Canha brings to the table? Leave us your projection for him below, or send us a tweet @FS_SwinginAs.

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