Mark Canha’s name has been thrown around quite a bit in terms of being the A’s possible leadoff hitter in 2021. It had been Marcus Semien’s role before he went to the Toronto Blue Jays after six seasons in Oakland.
Canha is open to the possibility.
“Yeah, I don’t think anything’s set in stone, and I don’t even know if it’s going to happen, but I do like the idea of hitting leadoff or anywhere -- I like hitting second. My rookie year I hit in the two-hole a lot, but I do like it,” Canha told reporters on Saturday. “I like the idea of hitting in the first inning and getting to the starter before he gets settled into the game. That’s something that’s appealing to me. I’ve noticed that in my career that starters tend to get sharper in the second, third, fourth inning than they are early in the game when they’re trying to get settled in and so I think for that reason I do like the idea of hitting leadoff or early in the first inning.”
Friday on A’s Cast, Canha said he hit quite a bit at the leadoff spot in high school, so it’s not exactly foreign territory to him, but his big-league career is different.
Historically, Canha’s numbers don’t show much success batting first, with a .067 average and just one hit in nine games. However, he does hit .235 when he’s the first batter of the inning.
Canha also said on A’s Cast there are other possibilities for that task.
Manager Bob Melvin, in addition to Canha, named Ramón Laureano and Elvis Andrus as guys he’s keeping an eye on.
Laureano, the workhorse, said he has no problem batting leadoff and said you could put him anywhere and he’s happy to get the job done.
Andrus is one of the main guys Melvin said the A’s are looking at for the opportunity to bat leadoff. He has the most experience doing so and knows AL West pitching enough to be familiar with anyone who takes the mound. Andrus, who was acquired by the A’s on Feb. 6, has played for the Texas Rangers for the entirety of his 12-year career and across 182 career games has hit .270/.341/.314 as the leadoff man.
The shortstop knows he will have big shoes to fill taking over for Semien, but said he’s ready for whatever the A’s throw at him.