Mets hope Mark Canha’s approach “rubs off” on teammates.

PORT ST. LUCIE – The tweet was a message to the Mets and an announcement regarding the team’s direction. To try and identify the types of hitters the Mets can target, just look at their owners’ social media accounts.

“It’s hard to understand how professional hitters can be so unproductive,” Steve Cohen wrote on Aug. 18 as his Mets faltered. “The best teams are more disciplined. The slugging and OPS numbers don’t lie.”

It’s hard to find a more disciplined approach than Mark Canha’s.

In its own way, the under-the-radar free-agent acquisition — under a two-year, $26.5 million deal eclipsed by Max Scherzer’s and Starling Marte’s deals — embodies the kind of slugger that the Mets want in their lineup.

Last season, the Mets had the fourth-worst runs in the majors and, perhaps not entirely coincidentally, were the fourth-worst team at work on opposing pitchers. A Mets hitter averaged 3.83 pitches per plate appearance, and the quick outs added up in an 85-loss season.

Markus Canha

As the Mets set up this year’s edition, they targeted a hitter whose 4.23 pitches-per-plate hitting mark was the fifth-best among baseball’s qualified hitters last season. When courting Canha, they told him they wanted his approach to influence the rest of the clubhouse.

The front office “mentioned the batting thing and how they were hoping that would rub off on the other guys,” Canha said Wednesday before the Mets hosted the Astros. “They want that to be our hitters’ culture and put together great at-bats.”

In a recent spring practice game, Buck Showalter said, the Mets forced the opposing pitcher to throw 24 pitches in one frame.

They didn’t score a run, but “We wrote it down in the dugout,” the manager said. “We won the inning.”

Working on pitchers and waiting for the right pitch to swing has become a bigger focus for the Mets. Brandon Nimmo, who is one of the team’s best in this area – he even averaged four pitches per plate last season – said the team’s philosophy was “hit the ball hard or go.” .

He characterized the ideal trait as “controlled aggression”—being willing to hit the best pitch and block or fire others.

Markus Canha

“Buck has approached me a few times,” Nimmo said, “and said, ‘Hey, I like how you count, I like how you don’t give up, I like how you fight, I like how you fight there above with two strikes.’ ”

There are few better in practice than canha. The longtime Oakland A doesn’t necessarily see pitch building in a count as the goal — if a good offer comes early, he’ll want to pounce — but a byproduct of a solid approach that ignores pitches he can’t hit.

The likes of Jeff McNeil and Starling Marte are less picky and there is hope that Canha’s approach will be noticed in the dugout.

“It can really hurt an opposing pitching staff not just in a game but over the course of a streak against them,” said Canha, who posted a .746 OPS with 17 home runs in 625 plate appearances last season. “You get to that bullpen early and you really see a few pitches, that really helps.” Mets hope Mark Canha’s approach “rubs off” on teammates.


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