Canaan Smith Is A Disciplined Hitter
After making a solid pro debut in 2017 in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League, outfielder Canaan Smith took a step back in 2018 while playing in 45 games for short-season Staten Island.
Now in his third pro season and at low Class A Charleston, the 20-year-old Smith was displaying the type of ability the Yankees saw two years ago.
"His numbers are similar now to what he was doing in the Gulf Coast League at 18,’’ vice president of baseball operations Tim Naehring said.
Through 36 games, the 6-foot, 215-pound Smith hit .343/.412/.522 with three home runs and three stolen bases. That was quite a difference from a year ago when he batted .191 in the New York-Penn League.
"He has hitting qualities that we like and has put himself on the map,’’ Naehring said of Yankees’ fourth-round pick in 2017 from Rockwell-Heath High in Heath, Texas.
"He impacts the baseball. One thing that is very impressive is the ability to recognize pitches, which is huge in today’s game.’’
While Smith hasn’t displayed big home run power yet, Naehring believes it will surface for the lefthanded batter.
"He should be a power-type guy and his power numbers should play up in Yankee Stadium,’’ Naehring said. "We are looking at a guy who controls the strike zone, makes quality contact in the strike zone. He checks a lot of boxes.’’
Those traits were there as a high schooler.
"Jeff Deardoff saw him and fell in love with him,’’ scouting director Damon Oppenheimer said of the Florida area scout who has a keen understanding of hitting.
"And (Texas area scout) Mike Leuzinger, too. He had what we looked for in a hitter as a power guy with plate discipline. He made hard contact, used the whole field and saw the ball well.’’
— While catcher Anthony Seigler, the 2018 first-round pick out of Cartersville (Ga.) High, started the year in extended spring training, Josh Breaux, a junior college catcher taken in the second round, got off to a good start with Charleston. Through 30 games he hit .295/.323/.500 with seven homers.