Mark Canha is talented enough to be a second-division starter in the majors at first base. However, inconsistency has slowed down his fast track to the majors. Canha's power mysteriously disappeared in 2012 at High-A Jupiter. He has already been in the Marlins' farm system for three years and he has never been able to put it all together. It will be a major season in 2013 for Canha, as he will need to prove to Miami that he has a future as their first baseman.
Mark Canha was born in February of 1989 in San Jose, California. He attended Bellarmine College Prep, where hit .440 with 11 homers as a senior. Canha was selected to play in that year's High School All-Star Classic in Wareham, Massachusetts and he earned a scholarship to the University of California.
At California, Canha hit .270 in 63 at-bats and played mostly left field and designated hitter. The Marlins flirted with the idea of Canha as an outfielder, but his body type and athleticism fits the first base profile much better. In Canha's sophomore season, he stole a starting job and became his team's most valuable player. Canha hit .366 with 12 homers in just 205 at-bats.
With the 227th pick of the 2010 MLB Amateur Draft, the then Florida Marlins selected Mark Canha. Canha signed easily for $300,000 and quickly was sent to the Gulf Coast League. By the end of the 2010 minor league season, Mark Canha was playing in Low-A Jamestown and finding success.
Unlike the majority of college players drafted, Canha only had two years of college experience under his belt. That was a huge advantage over high school players drafted, but Canha was much more raw than the typical college first baseman drafted. Looking back at it, staying another year at Cal probably would have been a better decision for Canha and his career.
In 2011, Mark Canha spent the entire year with Greensboro in the South Atlantic League. He missed a few games with a ligament sprain in his hand, but he still managed to get 455 at-bats. Canha hit .276/.374/.529 with 25 homers and struck out less than 20 percent of the time. After this productive season in Greensboro, Canha's stock was at its highest. Being able to hit that many homers with a normal strikeout rate is a very impressive feat, regardless of age or level.
Last season, Canha's stock took a enormous hit. With most evaluators expecting him to tear up the Florida State League and reach Double-A by the end of the year, Canha had pretty high expectations. He spent the whole season at High-A Jupiter, where he hit .293/.382/.411 with six homers. While this was still an above-average batting line for a Florida State League first baseman, Canha's number of home runs shrunk astronomically from his 2011 numbers. There are probably numerous reasons why Canha did not hit as many homers in 2012, but 2013 will be the year were he will be able to prove that his 2012 home run total was a fluke.
Mark Canha is probably the best current first base prospect in the Marlins' farm system. However, he has a lot to figure out before he makes it to Miami. Canha needs to rediscover his power stroke and continue to keep his strikeouts down to be effective. Assuming he starts in the season with Double-A Jacksonville, Canha could see Miami by the end of the season. No matter what happens, 2013 will be the most important of Canha's professional career.