Mets free agent signing check-in: Mark Canha is good in a different way

Washington Nationals v New York Mets
Washington Nationals v New York Mets / Mike Stobe/GettyImages

The New York Mets signed Mark Canha this past offseason to give them a solid bat in the lineup to start in left field for them. Through 168 plate appearances in 42 games for the Mets, it’s time to check in on how this free agent signing is going.

Canha’s OBP is one point lower than it was last year at .357 for the Mets. His slugging percentage is also down from .387 to .384. Because of those two numbers, his OPS is also down 5 points.

Oh, the humanity! Canha is an absolute bust. Not quite. Although he has only 2 doubles and 4 home runs, Canha has been a productive member of the Mets lineup in a different way.

Mets free agent signing Mark Canha has been good despite the lack of power

The bad numbers are all out of the way. His OPS+ of 114 actually matches his career total he amassed during seven seasons with the Oakland Athletics. He has a higher OBP than the .345 from his career totals, too.

What has made Canha especially important to the Mets is another number. It’s one of those dinosaur statistics. It’s his batting average.

Canha was a .244 lifetime hitter for the Athletics. For the Mets, he’s ripping singles regularly. Canha is hitting .291 which is 60 points higher than he did in his final season for Oakland. Although the power has decreased slightly from last year in terms of slugging percentage, trading in walks for singles is paying off.

Already, Canha has 20 RBI compared to the 61 he had in 625 plate appearances last year. Canha was hitting at the top of the Oakland lineup regularly in 2021. With the Mets, Buck Showalter is penciling him in closer to the bottom. He has found himself hitting sixth or seven with the Mets often and that seems to work. He is a .302 hitting out of the number six spot and a .339 batter when he hits seventh.

The early returns from Canha are promising. He has given the Mets most of his innings as a left fielder but also has starts in center field and right field, too. Canha should be the first man in line to play first base if Pete Alonso needs a day off from fielding.

In a slightly different way, the Canha signing is paying off. What was thought to be an overpay, it may very well turn out that way. Even at the pace he’s at, one could argue the same.

But it’s not about the dollars Canha is taking home this year as much as it is his production. If the Mets did have to give him a little more to get an OBP machine for the bottom half of their lineup, it was the right move to make.

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