We continue our South Atlantic League All-Star team with the team’s first baseman, Mark Canha.
Name: Mark Canha
Bats and Throws: R
Age: Turns 23 in February
2011 Team: Greensboro Grasshoppers (MIA- which is the Miami Marlins if you haven’t gotten used to that yet)
Basic Batting Stats: .276/.374/.529, 22 doubles, 25 homers, 85 RBI, 7 stolen bases in 105 games
Fielding Stats: 95 games at first base, .994 Fld%
Canha was a 7th round pick by the then-Florida Marlins in 2010 out of the University of California. He had a nice college career in which he was voted the team’s most valuable player as a junior in 2010 despite being on team with 3 players drafted in the first two rounds of the draft. Canha went to Bellarmine Prep in San Jose, California, the same high school as Pat Burrell.
The Marlins drafted Canha in the 7th round because of his nice power, and he showed all of that power in 2011. He smacked 25 home runs, second in the Sally League, and that came about because when he hit the ball to the outfield, he was absolutely drilling the ball. According to Minor League Central, 25.5% of Canha’s flyballs to the outfield went for home runs, strikingly above the league average of 9.1%. But other than the home runs (and the doubles), Canha didn’t make much hard contact. 32.0% of his batted balls were flyballs to the outfield, just above the league average of 29.2%. That slight advantage is flyballs to the outfield is quickly canceled out by the fact that Canha’s line drive percentage was just 14.1% compared to the league average of 16.4%, and pop-ups were 9.2% of his batted balls compared to the league average of 7.2%. If so many of Canha’s flyballs to the outfield didn’t go for extra-base hits, he would have been in trouble.
There was some good news for Canha though. He made a good amount of contact, albeit not enough hard contact, striking out in 18.7% of his plate appearances compared to the league average of 20.0% despite walking 13.0% of his PA’s significantly above the league average of 8.3%. His contact percentage (the percentage of time he made contact on his swings) was also above the league average, coming in 59.5% compared to the 59.2% league average. Defensively, the .994 Fld% he posted was nice, and he has the ability to be a good defensive first baseman going forward thanks to his nice athleticism (which also allowed him to steal 7 bases). Overall, Canha had positives and negatives to his 2011 season, but his power and walk rate were superlative to go along with his nice defense.
Canha has a lot of work to do at the plate, but he has the potential to be as a power-hitting first baseman who hits for a solid average while playing good, if not Gold Glove-esque, defense at first base. The big thing he has to work on is making more solid contact on his swings- hitting more line drives and less pop-ups. You almost want him to strike out more but swing with more authority. First base is a position where you have to prove yourself with the bat every single season in order to be considered a good prospect. Canha has the tools to be an above-average major league first baseman, but he has to get his existing problems fixed and showcase his tools to the highest extent in order to be noticed, especially since he’s not young as a prospect. Canha will head to High-A in 2012 and look to continue improving and put up another great season.
For more on the Miami Marlins, check out Marlin Maniac.