Mark Canha had a good year for the 2022 New York Mets. He hit .266/.367/.403 while pounding 13 home runs and driving in 61. Many of those big hits were clutch, too. It was solid! How can we possibly complain?
The primary starting left fielder for the club in 2022, all players on the roster combined for a 0.9 WAR while at the position. This was actually quite spectacular. Only the Cleveland Guardians, Chicago Cubs, and Houston Astros had their left fielders combine for more. Left field isn’t a strong position across the league anymore. When we look at the Guardians’ MLB leading 2.3 WAR at the position, we see it’s the lowest of any.
For this reason and more, we should be comfortable with Canha as the starting left fielder for another year. When we judge his overall game, he trounces many other players at the position across the league.
The Mets have gone from a left field disaster to one of the best with Mark Canha
This isn’t a day to declare Canha is going to make some unorthodox run at the 2023 MVP. Let’s be realistic. We saw a very good player on an even better team.
In many ways, he outperformed even the expectations of the most optimistic Mets fans. Home run power was the only thing missing from his game. If he had been a slightly more active player, he probably would have come closer to challenging for 20 home runs. Home run power is one of the more inconsistent parts of his game. We’ll take a decent average and B+ grade OBP.
It may actually take a little bit of thought to remember what the Mets had been doing in left field prior to Canha’s arrival. The 2021 season was the year when Dominic Smith played 114 games at the position. Kevin Pillar was second with 52.
This has been a position of need for the franchise. Left field has been a nuisance ever since Yoenis Cespedes started to fall apart. Around the league, other teams are experiencing similar events.
MLB doesn’t have a Barry Bonds or Ted Williams out in left field. The steady presence of a Kevin McReynolds is barely found.
Largely by default, Canha has crawled into the upper echelon at the position. And the amazing thing is, if we play offseason GM and end up with Jeff McNeil at the position, he might also be one of the best.
Left field problem? Not in Queens.