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It was December 23, 2014, I was downstairs in my office looking at some video of my invitation only clinic that most of my best players attend every year that ended 2 days before, when I got an email from "Mark".
I gave him a call that night and we talked for almost an hour. As he mentioned above, he'd seen some of my video breakdowns and realized his swing, while very successful at the AAA level, did not resemble the swings of the players he wanted to play against. By the 30th, flights had been booked for January 20th to January 30th for him to come see us at Baseball Rebellion, Mark Canha started online lessons on BaseballRebellion.com, and off we went.
Mark Canha arrived with the swing below, this swing in particular being the one we would base his changes off of. He picked this swing himself as his 'best' from his evaluation video we take in person.
In the swing above, you can see Mark is working to open his front foot, but he's got some stride direction issues because he stride slightly in towards home plate. His back foot does move forward, but not enough which makes his posture forward in his finish position with his head in front of his back knee. I was surprised Mark's numbers were so good with this starting swing, but then again, I knew from my conversations with him that he noticed the differences between his swing and the MLB All-Stars he mentioned in his email and had seen his raw video from California.
With the starting velocity above, I knew he had room to grow with more athleticism in his movements, but I was unsure how much he'd be willing to change after hitting .300 with 20 home runs and 30 double in AAA last year. Below, you can see how much he did change...in 8 days time:
As you can see, Mark was all in from the day his plane touched down at RDU. We did movement improvement progressions with the Rebel's Rack for 4 days before he really HIT again. We did THOUSANDS of stride direction moves in the mirror and hours and hours of up the mound down the mound movement training. Again, keep in mind this was a high draft pick, a successful minor league player, and he'd only known me in person for 8 days. Amazing footwork change, easy body movement forward, back foot movement is quick and clean, back knee is in front of his face. Total posture change and a LOW finish to help him complete his turn and the 'circle' of his swing. I wonder if these changes made him hit the ball harder...
Mark dramatically improved his power output capability this year, and while his numbers weren't as good as his AAA numbers, Mark had a great year at the highest level of baseball, going from a Rule 5 rookie to a key contributor in the Oakland A's every day lineup. We were laughing the other day about how great a year he had and how Mark would have said "sign me up for that year" if he could have known his final statistics. But then we both got quiet and said, almost simultaneously, "there were a lot of hits left on the table last year".
I can't wait to get out to California to see Mark and get back to work. It's Gonna be a great offseason and we'll talk more about his past year and our future plans headed into his 2nd year in the MLB in a follow up article coming soon!
Chas Pippitt - Leader of the Baseball Hitting Rebellion
16 thoughts on "Baseball Rebellion in the Big Leagues: Mark Canha Swing Analysis"
Chas – nice work! I have a question regarding Mark’s plant foot. Why does he roll over on his ankle? Is it because his foot is not open all the way? Or because his knee looks like it does not get centered above his ankle before he drives his knee back. It looks like it puts some additional stress on the ankle so I was concerned. I noticed the same issue with son’s ankle as well.
Hope the family is doing well! Mark rolls his foot over because he doesn’t open his front hip/foot well enough into his landing. he’s OK because he turns from his front heel, but it is NOT optimal. I hope to focus on that landing issue as well as a few upper body tweeks going into his sophomore campaign.
Chas – great job – it is exciting watching pros come to you and actually Change. The changes are dramatic and a testament to his hard work with you.
Obvious lower body changes and super thrust – but nice back elbow work – tip and rip (no wonder he likes Hamilton and Bautista analysis), I wish him much success and another to enjoy and follow next year. Keep up the great work – and Happy Thanksgiving to you, the BR family, and your loved ones.
Thanks for the kind words, give the family my best!
I just shared a video of Canha with my son and talked about keeping the barrel on the ball as long as possible. He was fooled by off speed and still jacked it oppo style. It looked exactly like the offspeed/fooled drill I’ve seen you guys run. Makes a lot of sense now?
I’m planning on doing a much more extensive breakdown of some more ‘home video’ footage of Mark as well as showing how his game swing looks very much like his ‘8 days later’ swing. And yes, the off-speed/fooled drill we do works wonders when executed in a game situation.
AWESOME!!What do u mesn by up the mound down the mound movements?
we just use the slope of the mound to exaggerate gravity on the front leg or back leg based on what the hitter needs.
down the mound focusses on the front leg in the initiation of the turn, up the mound is on the back leg in the finish.
Wow I was just looking at video of Canha in the Marlins farm and was talking to my son about how much he changed his swing in one off season. Now I know why! Great job. He was my favorite story of the A’s last season.
Wow, I really think this is an article that EVERY player at some point in their career whether it’s highschool, college, or if you are lucky enough to play pro ball can relate to. A guy knows he’s a good player, but not always being a team leader, or even getting the playing time they want. And everyone knows if you hit, you play.
Great breakdown of each individual hurdle and mechanic to help players and coaches alike to understand the issues hitters are really facing. I really think that Chas is one of the premeir hitting insructors out there right now, and am not ashamed to say that I have ripped off alot of his fundamentals for my students to hone thier skills. It’s not without credit though. I always send my students to Chas’ articles and lessons to confirm my points and let them know I didn’t just come up with this stuff. That it works for a pro ball player as well as a high school player.
As Harry Caray used to say, “Holy Cow!”. The changes that were made are noteworthy to be sure, but in 8 days?? I’m sure Mr. Canha had been swinging basically the same for years (little to no forward movement and “squishing the bug”.) Good to see someone who has had a high level of success is open to change and willing to put in he work all the whIle checking his ego at the door.
What’s a good drill to help me get my back foot off the ground and gain movement?
Any rack drills or hitting with barriers by the back foot is great!
http://youtu.be/wYs7HX9Rdwk Is this the same player? His mechanics look different in the game. No back foot movement, back knee not in front of face, and front foot closed. Why the changes? Like your instruction/methodology just curious why instruction didn’t appear to transitition to game play. Am I missing something? Thanks.
Any game video anyone shows contain adjustments in posture, timing, tempo and other mechanical changes. Had you found a different clip, I’m sure you’d have a different thought.
For instance THIS CLIP: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PPLW3npW5eA&spfreload=5
Looks a lot more like what we’re talking about, as he was on time better, got a better ‘hitter’s pitch’…lots of reasons.