Buy ‘Em or Deny ‘Em: Could The A’s Mark Canha Emerge As A Viable Fantasy Option?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

It’s been an interesting ride for Mark Canha, who was originally selected by the Miami (then Florida) Marlins in the seventh round of the 2010 draft.  He moved up a level at a time, reaching Triple-A last season, before being selected by the Colorado Rockies with the second pick of the Rule 5 draft this past December.

Putting some power potential in Colorado would’ve been ideal, but his stay was brief (to say the least) as he was promptly dealt to the Oakland A’s.  As we’ve said before Rule 5 draft picks don’t necessarily have a history of success, but Canha has mashed this spring putting himself on fantasy radars (stats are through Wednesday):

.292 (21-72), 6 HR, 13 RBI, 13 R, 0 SB

There are two questions facing him at this point:

  1. Can he carry that success into the regular season?
  2. Can he find enough AB to be a viable option?

He certainly isn’t a highly regarded prospect, as MLB.com currently has him ranked as the A’s 20th best saying:

Using a compact swing, Canha hits line drives to all fields. He also has the strength to drive the ball out of the park and has twice hit at least 20 home runs in the Minor Leagues. He has a solid approach at the plate and has never had a problem drawing walks.

Canha is primarily a first baseman but has enough athleticism to play the outfield and has also seen time at third base. His defensive versatility increases his chances of carving out a role in the big leagues.”

While strikeouts have been an issue this spring (22 K), he owns an 18.9% strikeout rate in the minors since 2011 (20.9% at Triple-A in ’14).  He also has struggled to draw walks (4 BB), but as MLB.com notes that has never been an issue (11.3% since ’11, 10.6% at Triple-A).

The power is definitely intriguing, though 20 HR in 537 PA in the Pacific Coast League last season (courtesy of a 17.2% HR/OFB) isn’t going to excite anyone.  It’s not impossible that it grows, as he did add 28 doubles and 3 triples, but putting those numbers in Oakland doesn’t seem all that promising.

As for playing time, he’s going to be behind Ike Davis and Billy Butler for time at 1B/DH.  However, Davis has a history of struggling against southpaws (.196/.261/.316 for his career), so you have to wonder if Canha will open getting a significant number of AB against LHP.  While he doesn’t have a big split, he certainly mashed them last season (8 HR in 156 PA):

  • vs. RHP – .311/.391/.502
  • vs. LHP – .276/.359/.507

We also know that Ike Davis is hardly a guarantee to produce at this point and could also quickly lose AB against RHP as well.  Plus, Canha has the ability to play the outfield so the loss of Coco Crisp could free up a few AB early on out there as well.  While it’s no guarantee, the opportunity could quickly develop.

At this stage Canha is really only a player to consider in AL-Only formats, though he could be worth stashing in the deepest of formats as well.  There is potential, but not enough to go crazy in redraft formats.

Sources – Fangraphs, Minor League Central, MLB.com

Make sure to check out all of our 2015 rankings:

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