MESA, Ariz. -- Since the start of the A’s recent three-year run of postseason appearances in 2018, Marcus Semien has been entrenched as the club’s leadoff hitter. With the shortstop now gone after signing with the Blue Jays this offseason, several players are in contention to fill that top spot in the order.
“I’m just now having these conversations with these guys to alert them that it’s something I’m looking at,” Melvin said. “We do like to get guys at the top of the order who have the best chance of getting on base.”
If getting on base is the main qualification, Canha certainly fits the bill. Since the start of the 2019 season, the outfielder’s .393 on-base percentage ranks eighth among all Major League hitters. In that same timeframe, Canha’s 14.1 percent walk rate is tied for 14th highest in the Majors.
“Even though he has some power, he can make a pitcher work,” Melvin said of Canha. “He gets on base. There are some variables there that suggest he might be a candidate for it. When I did talk to him about it, as he normally does, he took a day to think about it and came back to me. He was pretty excited about it. We’ll see.”
There is no clear frontrunner to be the leadoff hitter, and that decision will likely be determined next month during Cactus League play, which gets underway for the A’s on Sunday against the Dodgers at Hohokam Stadium.
“Frankie is in the building today,” Melvin said. “I’ll take the lead from trainers as far as what his schedule is.”
Montas -- Oakland’s Opening Day starter last year -- is part of an entire A’s starting rotation that will be eased into Cactus League action. Melvin said the club’s starting pitchers -- Montas, Jesús Luzardo, Chris Bassitt, Sean Manaea and Mike Fiers -- will not pitch in at least the first five or six games of spring.