- Full name Mitchell Dean Canham
- Born 09/25/1984 in Richland, WA
- Profile Ht.: 6'2" / Wt.: 205 / Bats: L / Throws: R
- School Oregon State
Drafted in the C-A round (57th overall) by the San Diego Padres in 2007 (signed for $552,500).
View Draft ReportMost scouts probably prefer Canham's baseball talent to his hip-hop credentials, but he may be the most accomplished rapper in draft history. His "O-State Ballaz" (born at a 2005 charity event) set the stage for Oregon State's national championship run in 2006, and he penned "Still Ballin' " for 2007. Draft-eligible as a sophomore last year, Canham hit .299 with seven homers and fell to Cardinals in the 41st round. His bat has been his best tool throughout his career, and he made marked improvement this spring, building off an outstanding summer (.300, four homers) in the Cape Cod League. Canham's athleticism helps him repeat his short lefthanded stroke, he has solid-average power and he runs above-average for a catcher. Defense remains his nemesis. He improved his throwing and has handled excellent pitching staffs in three seasons with the Beavers, but scouts still grade his catch-and-throw skills as below-average. His makeup and leadership profile well behind the plate, however. He overcame adversity that might have sidelined other players, as his mother died of a drug overdose on Canham's first day of class as a freshman.
Organization Prospect Rankings
Canham's offense and leadership helped Oregon State vanquish North Carolina to win College World Series titles in 2006 and 2007. As a polished hitter with incredible makeup, he fits the Padres' player-development mold to a tee. In his first pro summer, he returned to the field just two weeks after having testicular surgery following a foul tip to his protective cup. He played the entire 2008 season with a heavy heart, after his younger brother Dustin, a Marine lance corporal, died in March while serving in Djibouti, Africa. A good athlete, Canham has a smooth, repeatable stroke from the left side and his wrists fly through the hitting zone, attributes that should make him an average hitter. Because he controls the strike zone, he figures to grow into solid-average power. He's a good runner for a catcher. Though Canham takes charge of a pitching staff and calls a good game, his physical tools for the position are fringy. He's also inconsistent in his throwing, blocking and receiving. California League basestealers ran wild on him in 2008, swiping 131 bags in 107 games and getting caught just 17 percent of the time. He doesn't have a great release, transfer or arm strength, and he tends to close off his throwing motion, costing him carry on his throws. He has worked diligently with roving catching instructor Duffy Dyer to improve his technique. Canham's athleticism leaves him fallback options like first base or left field, but his bat doesn't profile for an everyday role at either position. He'll head to Double-A in 2009.
Canham's championship-caliber makeup and offensive prowess were a big part of Oregon State's back-to- back College World Series titles in 2006 and 2007. Draft-eligible as a sophomore in 2006, Canham fell to Cardinals in the 41st round but didn't sign. The Padres selected him 57th overall last June and signed him for $552,500. Canham's bat was his best tool throughout his college career, and his athleticism helps him repeat his short lefthanded stroke. He controls the strike zone and has solid-average power. He's an average runner, though above-average for a catcher. A third baseman in high school, Canham has subpar defensive skills at this point, but he has the agility and aptitude to become at least an adequate catcher. He has fringe-average arm strength with a fair release, and he lacks explosion when coming out of his crouch. He threw out 29 percent of basestealers in his debut. Canham required testicular surgery after being struck in his protective cup in mid-July, but he returned to the field two weeks later and played in the California League playoffs. He projects as a regular catcher if he makes just modest improvements to his throwing.
Minor League Top Prospects
Canham's makeup and offensive prowess were a big part of Oregon State's back-to-back College World Series titles. The day he reported to Eugene, he introduced himself to manager Greg Riddoch and promptly asked to take the opposing hitters' chart home with him to prepare for the next night's game. Canham injured a testicle in mid-July and missed two weeks. After he returned to the lineup, his solid-average bat speed and raw power weren't as evident, but he's a confident hitter with a good approach from the left side of the plate. He has a tendency to drift during his swing, which creates some length. Canham's defensive skills are subpar, but he's a good athlete with plenty of agility and aptitude to work his way into becoming an adequate catcher. He has solid-average arm strength with a fair release that would be aided by better footwork, and he threw out 31 percent of basestealers in the NWL. He's an average runner.