Mark Canha is already working wonders for Tigers lineup’s patience at the plate

Detroit Tigers outfielder Mark Canha bats during spring training at TigerTown in Lakeland, Fla. on
Detroit Tigers outfielder Mark Canha bats during spring training at TigerTown in Lakeland, Fla. on / Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK

When a trade with the Brewers for Mark Canha got the Detroit Tigers' hot stove burning right at the beginning of the offseason, he provided an immediate contrast to the Tigers' very young squad, whose mean age plummeted when Miguel Cabrera retired. Canha will be going into his 10th major league season this year, making him their second longest-tenured MLB player on Detroit this year after Javier Báez.

Canha was acquired to be a solid, top/middle-lineup bat and a veteran leader. AJ Hinch has said that he wants Canha to be a player first and a teacher second (subscription required), but teaching is very much still in his job description, and the Tigers need him to teach. The Tigers' OBP in 2023 — .305 — was the 26th-worst in the league.

Meanwhile, Canha had a .355 OBP with the Mets and Brewers in 2023, as well as a .349 OBP throughout his career. His patience at the plate was a huge part of his draw for the team, and it seems that it's already on full display at Tigers' spring training.

During a live BP against Andrew Chafin (subscription required), Canha took multiple pitches on the outside corner, which led Chafin to ask, incredulously, “How in the (heck) did you take that?”

Mark Canha's plate discipline is already impressing the Detroit Tigers' swing-happy core

Canha got hot with the Brewers after being traded there from the Mets. He hit .287/.373/.427 in Milwaukee and drove in 33 runs. He can also still run pretty well in his mid-30s; he stole 11 bases in 2023. His OBP hasn't fallen below .350 since 2018, and he almost got to .400 in 2019 with the A's. His career slugging, .422, is also nothing to sniff at.

Riley Greene had a nice .349 OBP, but he only played in 99 games before having to undergo Tommy John. Kerry Carpenter also had a .340 OBP, but he sat for over a fourth of the team's regular season games. Then, of course, there was Báez and his league-worst .267 OBP. Hopefully, Canha will be able to impress upon his fellow Tigers hitters the importance of patience this season. Maybe we'll get fewer Javier-Baéz-swings-at-everything memes to show for it.