Breakout or Bust: Will Mark Canha Prove To Be More Than A Platoon Player In 2019?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Obviously platoon splits are extremely important and help to give us insight into whether or not a player is a potentially viable option.  When it comes to the A’s Mark Canha, would it surprise you to learn that he was actually tied for the fourth most home runs against left-handed pitchers last season with 13?  Of course, while he raked against southpaws he was pretty poor against right-handed pitchers.  Just look at the split:

  • LHH – .282/.337/.604
  • RHH – .227/.323/.343

The obvious question is if he’s nothing more than a platoon player, and one who will ultimately draw the short end of the stick?

What’s interesting is that in 2017, while at Triple-A, Canha actually slashed .298/.392/.556 against right-handed pitchers.  Even in the Majors, while he hit the ball harder against left-handed pitchers his 34.4% mark against righties is nothing to sneeze at.  While it wouldn’t necessarily be a lock that he improves upon his .283 BABIP, there certainly is room for improvement.

It’s also not like he was a strikeout machine, with a 21.8% strikeout rate against righties (20.9% vs. lefties).  The sole difference in his production is his home run rate:

  • LHH – 26.5%
  • RHH – 6.3%

Maybe you want to argue that he can’t maintain the mark against southpaws, but it’s also easy to envision him being better against right-handed pitchers.  At Triple-A in 2017 he carried a 12.9% overall HR/FB, and while that’s not a spectacular mark and he’s already 30-years old is it really impossible to envision an improvement?

Obviously Canha isn’t going to be a blow away option, but pigeon holing him as nothing more than a platoon player is probably inaccurate as well.  For those in deeper formats he’s going to be a name to keep in mind.  He does have a little more potential, and if he can carry his numbers against southpaws over (which is possible) he could finally put together a true breakout campaign.

Sources – Fangraphs, MILB.com

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Make sure to check out all of our 2019 projections:

Player
Date Posted
Dylan Bundy10/22/18
Foltynewicz, Mike10/09/18
Gibson, Kyle10/29/18
Hoskins, Rhys10/16/18
Hosmer, Eric11/05/18
Wheeler, Zack10/02/18

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