Oakland Athletics: Five Factors for a Successful 2016 Season

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5. Let Mark Canha play everyday

Sep 22, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Athletics first baseman Mark Canha (20) celebrates after hitting an RBI single against the Texas Rangers during the second inning of the game against the Texas Rangers at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 22, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Athletics first baseman Mark Canha (20) celebrates after hitting an RBI single against the Texas Rangers during the second inning of the game against the Texas Rangers at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports /

Mark Canha’s got the power and he’s not afraid to flex his muscles. Concluding a stellar 2015 campaign at the dish, the Cal product proved to be a wise acquisition for Oakland — after obtaining his services from the Colorado Rockies on December 11, 2014 in exchange for pitching prospect Austin House.

The right-hander, who turns 27 in February, immediately fit in with the Athletics, an organization who heavily relies on the philosophy of platooning their players, thus increasing their chances of success at the plate. In his first six games, Canha proved this to be true as he recorded a .366 batting average (11-30) with three doubles, a home run, and seven RBI. Over the next few weeks, Canha became a mainstay in the Athletics’ everyday lineup, and rightfully so, considering his reverse-splits against right-handers (.821 OPS) surpassed his numbers against left-handers (.527).

When all was said and done, the San Jose native had a productive season who ultimately made his mark amongst A.L rookies in 2015. Canha ranked first in RBI (70), third in home runs (16) and runs scored (61), while tallying 22 doubles (2nd) in a 112 (4th) hit period. Lets not forget his patience at the plate — with 33 free passes, which ranks fifth, respectively in this category.

According to A’s beat writer Jane Lee, newly-acquired first-baseman Yonder Alonso will get an extensive amount of playing time, solemnly due to his outstanding defense and plate discipline, which has resulted in a decline in strikeouts over the past few seasons.

If that is the case, you’ll most likely see Canha starting at first against left-handers. However, with some help from founder Chas Pippitt and the fine folks at Baseball Rebellion, the Cal product has made several adjustments at the dish including: stride direction, footwork change, and posture change. These changes ultimately improve his swing while resembling the likes of his fellow Major League competitors. With additional time amongst the A’s hitting staff, whose to say that the right-hander can’t be an everyday contributor?

The changes Canha has made over an eight-day-span is truly remarkable and it’s not out-of-the-question for the 26-year-old to hit 20-25 home runs in 2016 with around 100 RBI if he is given the opportunity to showcase his skills. The A’s have yet to announce their everyday left-fielder and with the injury-prone Coco Crisp, Canha would be the perfect candidate for the job. Mark my words, Canha is going to be a staple in Oakland for years to come – he just needs to be given the chance.

Next: Billy Butler: Shape Up or Ship Out

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