GRIFFIN Alexander CANNING
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Nickname:   N/A Position:   RHP
Home: N/A Team:   ANGELS
Height: 6' 2" Bats:   R
Weight: 180 Throws:   R
DOB: 5/11/1996 Agent: N/A
Uniform #: 47  
Birth City: Mission Viejo, CA
Draft: Angels #2 - 2017 - Out of UCLA
YR LEA TEAM SAL(K) G IP H SO BB GS CG SHO SV W L OBA ERA
2017 - did not play                            
2018 PCL SALT LAKE   13 59 68 64 22 13 0 0 0 3 3   5.49
2018 SL MOBILE   10 45.2 27 49 19 10 0 0 0 1 0   1.97
2018 CAL INLAND EMPIRE   2 8.2 4 12 3 2 0 0 0 0 0   0.00
2019 PCL SALT LAKE   3 16 13 17 2 3 0 0 0 1 0   0.56
2019 AL ANGELS $555.00 18 90.1 80 96 30 17 0 0 0 5 6 0.235 4.58
2020 AL ANGELS $211.00 11 56.1 54 56 23 11 0 0 0 2 3 0.257 3.99
2021 AL ANGELS   14 63 65 62 28 13 0 0 0 5 4 0.264 5.60
2023 CAL INLAND EMPIRE   1 5 6 10 2 1 0 0 0 0 1   1.80
2023 AL ANGELS $850.00 24 127 121 139 36 22 0 0 0 7 8 0.245 4.32
Personal
  • Griffin's parents are Kevin and Julie Canning. He has an older brother (Spencer).

  • Griffin's favorite baseball player is Zack Greinke.

  • Canning's hobbies are hiking, surfing, and photography.

  • Griffin majored in political science at UCLA.

  • In 2015, Canning was drafted by the Rockies in the 38th round, but he did not sign. 

    Canning decided to attend UCLA because he felt it would give him the best chance to succeed both academically and athletically. 

  •  In three seasons with the UCLA Bruins, Canning went 19-13 with a 2.99 ERA striking out 301batters in 291.1 innings of work and a 1.08 WHIP and a 9.28 strikeouts per 9 inning rate. He was the sixth pitcher in school history to record over 300 career strikeouts. 
  • June 2017: Canning was the Angel's second-round pick, out of UCLA. He signed with the Angels for $1,459,200, via scout Ben Diggins.

  • Griffin spent the summer of 2017 in the Angels Arizona facility, working on strength and conditioning. He didn't pitch for an affiliate in 2017.

  • In 2018, the Baseball America Prospect Handbook rated Canning as the 9th-best prospect in the Angels' organization. He moved up to #2, behind only OF Jo Adell, in the spring of 2019.

  • 2019 Season: Canning reached the Majors quickly after being drafted by the Angels in 2017. He needed only 28 starts in the Minors before being ready for the big leagues. Canning went 5-6 with a 4.58 ERA, 96 strikeouts, 30 walks and 14 homers allowed in 90 innings before being shut down with right elbow inflammation in August.

    His swinging strike rate of 13.8 percent puts him in the same company of starters such as Stephen Strasburg, Patrick Corbin, and Yu Darvish.

    TRANSACTIONS

  • June 2017: Canning was the Angel's second-round pick, out of UCLA. He signed with the Angels for $1,459,200, via scout Ben Diggins.

  • Jan 13, 2023: Canning and the Angels avoided arbitration, agreeing to a one-year deal for $850,000.

  • Jan 11, 2024: Canning and the Angels avoided arbitration, agreeing to a one-year deal for $2.6 million. 
Pitching
  • Canning's Pitching Arsenal. His 4-seam FASTBALL is strong averaging 93-98 mph. He has the potential to increase his fastball velocity even more. His 80-82 mph CURVEBALL with 11-to-5 break is considered his second-best pitch. His CHANGE-UP is a 40, but flashes 50 grade. He also has an 87-90 mph SLIDER with cutter action, running down and away from righthanded batters.

    All of his pitches are mature; and he mixes his pitches in well.

    Griffin isn’t particularly big, but he generates a lot of arm speed and torque with wiry strength and limber athleticism.

    His command still needs work. In part due to the effort in his delivery, Canning’s fastball command can be scattered, though he’s effectively wild at times and pushes righthanded hitters back off the plate. His changeup was also below-average; he's developing that as a soft offering to counterbalance his arsenal will be important.

    Canning has a mental edge to rival his stuff. He is fearless on the mound and seems to dial up his velocity and command in big spots. (Spring, 2019)

  • 2019 Season Pitch Usage: 4-seam Fastball 42.2% of the time, his Change 12.7%; Slider 29.1%; and Curve 16% of the time. Average velocity: 4-seam 94.3 mph, Changeup 89.4, Slider 89.3, and Curve 82.4 mph.

    2020 Season Pitch Usage: 4-seam Fastball 40.4% of the time, his Change 15.4%; Slider 20.3%; Curve 23%; and Slow Curve 1.1% of the time. Average velocity: 4-seam 93.1 mph, Changeup 88.2, Slider 88.9, Curve 86.7, and Slow Curve 81.3 mph.


    2023 Season Pitch Usage/Avg. Velo: Fastball 35.5% - 95 mph; Slider 30% - 88 mph; Curve 13.3% - 82 mph; Change 21% - 90 mph.

  • May 2017: Josh Sickels wrote about Griffin on www.minorleagueball.com:

    Although he’s not a dominating hulk on the mound, Canning has no shortage of velocity, featuring a 90-95 mph fastball generated with a quick arm and plenty of athleticism. Some scouts believe his fastball may increase another tick or two, and even if it doesn’t it already plays up due to the contrast with his secondary pitches.

    While Canning throws strikes, his command within the strike zone isn’t always perfect and he doesn’t have the blistering fastball to get away with large numbers of location mistakes at the highest levels. He should breeze through A-ball but may need to make some adjustments in the high minors. His delivery isn’t 100% textbook, though he’s been more consistent repeating it this year compared to 2016.

  • Canning projects as a number three or strong number four starter. He is polished.

  • Canning has the necessary tools to pitch at any part of the rotation. He holds velo until past 100 pitches.

    His fastball sits 92-93 with a ton of action in on righthanders.

    Griffin’s best pitch is likely his changeup, that he uses the same arm speed and release with but spins it in at 83-84 mph with sink.  Canning also has an excellent big bending curve that he throws 78-79 and a tight slider that he throws around 82-83.  The curve he can use against lefties and righties, but the slider looks like it can be death on a righty.

    Canning has a pre-release hitch that can make his motion a little “herky-jerky”, but it serves to throw the timing off hitters.  Possibly what makes Canning the most dangerous of all, he can throw every single pitch for a strike in every count and every situation. (Spring, 2018)

  • May 14, 2018: For a second time this season, Griffin was the driving force in a combined no-hitter. Canning, the Angels' No. 7 prospect, set the tone with 4.1 hitless frames before turning the ball over to a trio of relievers to secure Double-A Mobile's second combined no-hitter in three weeks with a 9-0 win over Birmingham. He issued two walks and recorded 8 of his 13 outs via the strikeout, throwing 49 of his 81 pitches for strikes.

    Canning previously paced the BayBears to a combined no-hitter on April 28, when he and a pair of relievers combined to no-hit Montgomery. Including that performance, the 22-year-old righthander has allowed just one earned run in his past 19.2 innings (four starts), with six hits allowed and 22 strikeouts.

  • He has a nice blend of power and precision, mixing a fastball that averages 94-95 mph with three above-average secondary pitches, which are a slider, curveball and changeup.

    “Going forward, it’s about understanding his game plan and learning how to attack the best hitters in the game,” Angels' farm director Mike LaCassa said in 2018. “He’s making final refinements. He will be an impact starter sooner rather than later.”

  • October 2018: Canning was recognized by MLB Pipeline as the club's Pitching Prospect of the Year.

  • Canning drew multiple comparisons with Trevor Bauer for a combination of his UCLA roots, physique, delivery and repertoire. Canning sits at 95 mph with a plus fastball that gets on batters quickly out of a fast-paced delivery, short stride, and loose arm.

    His hammer curveball grades as a plus and peaks in the high 80s. He excels at working north-south with his fastball and curve, while also mixing in a high-80s slider/cutter and a changeup that projects to average.

  • His size and stuff draw frequent comparisons with fellow UCLA product and Indians right hander Trevor Bauer. He is on track to reach the big leagues in 2019 and settle in as a mid-rotation starter.

  • 2018 season: Canning pitched across three levels in 2018, posting a combined 3.65 ERA with 125 strikeouts, 44 walks and eight homers allowed in 113 innings between Class A Advanced Inland Empire, Double-A Mobile and Triple-A Salt Lake. He did scuffle a bit in his first taste of Triple-A, however, as he had a 5.49 ERA with 64 strikeouts, 22 walks, and six homers allowed in 59 innings.

    But it was still an impressive first season to get all the way to Salt Lake for Canning, who is ranked as the No. 72 overall prospect by MLB Pipeline.

  • June 4, 2019: In making just his seventh career start, Canning displayed his ability to generate whiffs, registering 18 swings and misses, including 12 from his slider, four from his fastball and two from his changeup.

    It helped him become the fourth pitcher in AL history to begin a career with at least five strikeouts in the first seven starts of a career, joining Masahiro Tanaka (11 times), Herb Score (10) and Orlando Hernandez (nine). His 42 strikeouts through 7 starts is also the second-highest total in Angels history through that many outings, behind Shohei Ohtani's 52.

  • July 30, 2019: "I was just really aggressive," Canning said. "Not worrying about contact, especially early in the count just kind of letting my stuff play. I was pretty good on first-pitch strikes. That was kind of an emphasis we put on our staff as a whole, just getting ahead of guys and putting guys away, not issuing free passes."

    Canning threw 93 pitches against the Tigers, getting 12 swings-and-misses. His four-seam fastball was crisper, averaging 94.5 mph and topping out at 96.2 mph. His season average on his four-seamer coming in was 93.8, per Statcast.

    "He looked really good tonight,” Angels manager Brad Ausmus said. “The velocity out of the gate was 95, touched 96 a few times, which we haven't seen too much from him. All the off-speed seemed to work, for the most part. He gave up a little hard contact in the fifth, but he settled down and got through the sixth." (R Bollinger - MLB.com - July 31, 2019)

  • 2019 Season: Griffin Canning, RHP, Angels. Key stat: 32.3% whiff-per-swing rate.

    The Angels haven’t made the big-splash acquisitions many expected for their rotation, and so maybe they’re partially banking on Canning’s raw tools. The righty’s whiff rate (misses out of total swings) ranked 8th out of the 152 starters who induced at least 500 swings. That put him behind Justin Verlander and Robbie Ray and in front of Lucas Giolito and Chris Sale. Canning’s slider was the eye-opener of his rookie season, generating whiffs on roughly 46% of opponents’ swings.

    In August, Los Angeles shut Canning down with elbow inflammation, but if he can deliver more big innings in 2020, his club could desperately use them.

  • 2020 Season: On a team badly in need of pitching stability, Griffin Canning provided exactly that.

    He allowed three earned runs or less in nine of his 11 starts, and he finished his season with a 3.14 ERA over his final five starts. Canning used his curveball more (22.9% in 2020, up from 16% in 2019) and got great success from the pitch, holding batters to a .182 batting average and .291 slugging percentage in at-bats that ended on that pitch. Canning’s curve was also his best put-away pitch, finishing off 27.1% of at-bats with two strikes with a whiff.

    Canning saw his strikeout rate decline (23.5%) from his rookie season, and his walk rate go up (9.7%) but he was still relatively effective, with a 3.99 ERA and 4.33 FIP, both slightly above average.

     He was a solid third starter behind Dylan Bundy and Andrew Heaney, but the depth fell off a cliff after that. That trio of Angels posted a 3.91 ERA while averaging 5.55 innings in their 34 starts. The rest of the rotation had a 9.22 ERA in 26 starts. (Eric Stephen@ericstephen - Dec 14, 2020)

  • 2020 Season:

    First six starts: 0-3, 4.88, 7.5 K/9, 3.9 BB/9

    Last five starts: 2-0, 3.14, 10.4 K/9, 3.5 BB/9

    Canning struggled with his command early and completed five innings only once in his first six starts. He figured it out by the end of the season and pitched at least five innings in four of his final five outings, including a career-high eight innings against the Mariners on Aug. 30. He capped his surge with a career-high 10 strikeouts against the Padres in his final start of the year. (Kyle Glaser - Baseball America - April, 2021)

  • 2021 Season: Coming off of his 2020 American League Gold Glove season, the stage was set for Griffin Canning in 2021. But after experiencing a lower back strain in the summer, the right-handed pitcher’s season came to an abrupt end on July 15, leaving his 2021 season ticket with 14 games and a 5.60 ERA.

     It’s no secret that the Angels bullpen lacked power in 2021, and that fallibility of the defense was only widened by Canning’s shortened season on the hill. He started off the season in April, but it was a slow start. He kept his record solid at 5-4 before he was sent back down to the Triple-A Salt Lake Bees. On July 15, he was placed on the 7-day IL for a lower back injury after he pitched two innings and gave up six runs.

    The organization announced shortly after that he would miss the rest of the season due to the seriousness of the injury. With his season cut shorter than expected, it feels like Canning’s potential never hit its mark. He pitched 62.2 innings, where he allowed 65 hits, 41 runs and 14 home runs. His season also afforded 62 strikeouts – six more than he recorded in 2020.

    Unfortunately, little has been said about Canning’s 2022 return, and it’s still unknown if he will be ready by opening day to fill a spot in the pitching rotation. It’s also unclear if Canning’s rough season was a product of his injury, but if it was, his recovery will be the most important step in getting back to the talent and potential that won him a Gold Glove last year.

    Canning first joined the Halos in 2017 after pitching for the UCLA Bruins. From there, he worked his way through the Angels farm system before being invited to spring training in 2019.

    By 2020, the UCLA graduate had found his stride as an Angel, winning his first AL Gold Glove Award. He tied among pitchers in the American League with three runs saved, and he finished the season with a 2-3 record and a 3.99 ERA. 

  • 2021 - 22 Seasons: Canning only managed to throw 62.2 innings with a 5.60 ERA, 5.48 FIP, and 1.48 WHIP. He then missed the remainder of the 2021 season, and all of 2022 with back injuries.

  • 2023 Season: Canning didn’t skip a beat, posting near identical numbers from his 2019-2020 seasons. In 127 frames, Canning owned a 4.32 ERA, 4.29 FIP, and 1.24 WHIP. The right-hander upped his strikeout rate to 25.9% while cutting his walk rate down to 6.7%. But his home run rate took a step backward, upping to 1.56. 

    Sure, Canning is solid, but is a low-4s ERA pitcher. That doesn’t seem like someone worth heavily pursuing, does it? Well ERA estimators love Canning’s body of work from 2023. Canning clocks in with a 3.82 xFIP, 3.80 SIERA, 4.01 xERA, and 88 DRA- (compared to an ERA- of 99). Canning is less of a 4.30 ERA pitch, and more closely like a 3.80-4.00 ERA pitcher. Canning underperformed his numbers, and isn’t known to be one to do that, so it’s possible he posts a sub-4.00 ERA next season.

    Canning also ended the year on an extremely high note. After the All-Star break, he had a 3.91 ERA, a 3.24 FIP, and 1.28 WHIP. Canning fanned 30.1% of batters he faced, while having an outstanding 6.1% walk rate. He also cut his HR/9 down from 1.82 in the first half to just 1.19.

    Six of his nine outings resulted in at least a half dozen strikeouts. He did suffer some bad batted ball luck, indicated by his .346 BAbip. (Noah Wright | Oct 13, 2023)

Fielding
  • Griffin does a good job of controlling the running game.

    GOLD GLOVER

  • In 2020, Canning won the Gold Glove for pitchers in the AL. He joined Mark Langston (1991-95) as the only Angels pitchers to win a Gold Glove.
Career Injury Report
  • 2015: Canning suffered a stress fracture in his back late in his freshman year, causing him to miss the NCAA Tournament.

  • Aug 3-13, 2019: Griffin was on the IL with right elbow inflammation.

  • Aug 22-Nov 4, 2019: Canning was on the IL with right forearm strain.

  • Feb 28, 2020: Canning underwent an MRI exam on his right elbow that revealed chronic changes to his ulnar collateral ligament and acute joint irritation, and he will be reevaluated. The MRI results were essentially inconclusive, as Canning will undergo further testing and consult with team doctors. It’s unknown whether Canning has a tear in his UCL that would require Tommy John surgery, but there’s hope he could avoid surgery with treatment.

    "We're still kind of waiting to see,” Canning said. “I'm going to see the doctor again. So we'll see what happens. It's just those chronic changes, which is basically just the normal wear and tear that throwers get. So I'm hoping that it's something that we can just figure out."

    March 6, 2020: Griffin underwent biological injections in Los Angeles to address his right elbow discomfort and will be reassessed in three to four weeks, the club announced.

    March 7, 2020: Canning provided some clarity about the “biological injection” he received in his right elbow, saying it was a platelet-rich plasma injection and he’ll be reevaluated in three weeks.

    Canning, who felt tightness in the elbow after throwing two scoreless innings against the Dodgers on Feb. 26, underwent an MRI exam, and received a second opinion. He flew to Los Angeles to receive the injection and said he felt sore, but he otherwise was optimistic about returning this season. He also explained that surgery was never on the table because his ulnar collateral ligament is not torn.

    April 1, 2020: The Angels received some good news on Canning, as he was cleared to begin a throwing program after a follow-up evaluation, according to GM Billy Eppler.

    Canning, who received a platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injection in his right elbow on March 6, will continue to build up the intensity of his throwing program and could be throwing off a mound by the end of April. It’s a positive sign for Canning, who remains optimistic he’ll be able to avoid surgery.

    May 26, 2020:  Canning, who had an injection in his elbow in March, is throwing off a mound without any issues. 

    July 5, 2020: Canning said he’s healthy and ready for the season after receiving a platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injection in his right elbow in March. Canning’s elbow responded well to the injection, and he’s been throwing without any issues at Angel Stadium. 

  • Aug. 10-end of 2021 season: Canning was on the IL. He originally suffered what was considered a lower back strain but eventually sustained a low back stress fracture that will cause him to miss the rest of the 2021 season. The club announced that more information regarding Canning’s injury will be provided when appropriate. 

    March 16-end of 2022 season: Canning was on the IL. Canning missed most of the 2021 season due to injury but was cleared to start his throwing program in February. In March, Canning suffered a setback while throwing a bullpen session. 

  • March 7-Aprtl 12, 2023: Canning missed the entire 2022 season with a back injury but was able to have a healthy offseason. Canning has been pitching without any restrictions this spring and is competing for the final spot in the rotation. He made his first start of the spring on March 6 and looked sharp against the Guardians, throwing two scoreless innings with two strikeouts. His fastball velocity was in the mid-90s, which was an encouraging sign. 

    But he began the 2023 season on the IL with a lower back stress fracture.

  • July 29-Aug 13, 2023: Canning was on the IL with right calf tightness.  Canning said he felt the general soreness while pushing off the mound but believes it'll be a minor injury.