The Angels have exercised extreme caution with Griffin Canning throughout his brief Minor League career with an eye toward his eventual promotion to the big leagues.That day arrived Friday. The Angels' second-ranked prospect will make his Major League debut Tuesday against the Blue Jays.
The Angels have exercised extreme caution with Griffin Canning throughout his brief Minor League career with an eye toward his eventual promotion to the big leagues.
That day arrived Friday. The Angels' second-ranked prospect will make his Major League debut Tuesday against the Blue Jays.
The 22-year-old did not pitch in 2017 after the Halos selected him in the second round (47th overall) of the Draft out of UCLA. Canning's first season in the Minors included a dominant first half between Class A Advanced Inland Empire (two starts) and Double-A Mobile (10 starts).
MLB.com's No. 60 overall prospect posted a 1.97 ERA in the Southern League before heading to Triple-A Salt Lake. There, his performance dropped off in his introduction to the Pacific Coast League, with a 5.49 ERA over 59 innings in 13 starts. Opponnents batted .294 against him.
Along the way, Canning never threw more than 89 pitches in a start and never completed six innings as the Angels kept a watchful eye on his usage.
The Coto de Caza, California, native began this season on a brighter note. After participating in big league Spring Training, he went back to Salt Lake and made three starts, going 1-0 and allowing two runs -- one earned -- over 16 frames with 17 punchouts and a 0.94 WHIP.
Scouts assigned control issues as the root of his troubles with the Bees in 2018, but that's not expected to be a long-term problem since he owns a 55-grade grade for control on the 20-80 scouting scale, according to MLB Pipeline. To complement that command, Canning has four plus pitches -- fastball, curveball, slider and changeup -- that have led the Angels to believe he can be a key piece of the rotation.
"He's been the ultimate competitor. He wants to take the ball and go deep into games," Angels director of Minor League operations Mike LaCassa told MiLB.com in March. "That's one of the things you notice about him right away -- his drive to compete -- and currently he has a pretty deep repertoire. He just needs to get more innings under his belt. He's pitched one full professional season, and to be in big league camp and begin in a Triple-A rotation is quite an achievement. We're very pleased with where he is at and his competitiveness is really going to lead to a lot of success for him."
Chris Bumbaca is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @BOOMbaca.