Canaan Smith-Njigba is not as well known as other prospects, and is thus farther down the rankings. This outfielder who played in A-ball in 2019 has his backers, though, so let’s see what we can find out about Mr. Smith.
- Born: April 30, 1999
- B/T: Left/Right
- 6’0″, 215-lbs
- Drafted by the New York Yankees in the 4th round of the 2017 MLB June Amateur Draft from Rockwall-Heath HS, Heath Texas
His raw numbers are listed above courtesy of baseball-reference.com. Let’s aggregate by year then focus on the important numbers for minor leaguers:
Looking at the above, we see that 2018 seems to have been a lost year. He did very well at the Gulf Coast League in 2017, and really struggled at low-A Staten Island in 2018, before bouncing back in Charleston. I think we can give Canaan a mulligan on 2018 given that 2017 and 2019 are so close in quality. He bounced back in 2019, which answered some of the 2018 questions. If you only ever saw Canaan in Staten Island you probably wonder what all the fuss is about. If you see him in Charleston, you got excited.
His OBP (2018 notwithstanding) is outstanding. That BB% rate is why: those are sky-high walk rates. And while he strikes out a bit more than you’d like, that blue indicates those K% rates are not bad at all. The power is a little more concerning. You don’t like high-walk guys without power for major league pitchers eat those guys up.
Still, the ISO did bump up when he got to A-ball Charleston. If that keeps improving, he will be fine. The problem will then be his Hard% being so poor. That needs to improve for him to have a chance at the majors.
SB/Gm shows us that there is some speed here, and with a top OBP he could be a top-of-the-order player some day.
Smith does shown a righty/lefty split that will need to be watched. While a .315 OBP against lefties isn’t terrible, it’s far worse than his bat against righties.
As a LHB, he pulls his home runs, as sen above, though his doubles are to all parts of the park, so he may not be locked into just being a pull hitter. He’s young and still learning. He struggles at the plate at times, and starts chasing bad pitches. Other times he gets a consistent approach going and he draws walks or hits to all fields.
His 30-game rolling OPS average clearly shows us his 2018 struggles. 2019 got off to a rough start before peaking in early June, having a mid-season struggle, and then finishing the year strong.
- Rotowire: #195 on their Top 400.
- BaseballHQ: Not on their Top 100.
- Fangraphs: Not on their Top 120.
- Fantasy Six Pack: Not on their dynasty list.
- Prospects365: #174 on Ray Butler’s Top 200.
- Imaginary Brick Wall: #265 on the Top 487.
- Fantrax: #236 on the Top 250.
Well, he is only now 20 years of age. That 2018 is in his past, and we don’t want to see him getting away from his good batting approach to do that again. And we want to see him hit lefties better so he won’t wind up in a platoon, though it would be a good side platoon.
He has also not yet reached Double-A ball, and that is the key level to tell if a player is for real or not. 2020 (whenever we get it going) will be a key indicator of future success.
He looks like a future corner outfielder who will get on base and hit 20 or so HRs in a season. A future regular.