The Los Angeles Angels minor league system is well documented as being one of the thinnest when it comes to potential impact minor league prospects. With the MLB Amateur Draft less than two weeks away, we look at a player who is likely to be available to the Angels and one they are in need of.
For the Los Angeles Angels, the need for a younger nucleus to put around Mike Trout is glaring. While the team does have a few pieces that can compliment him well, all four of their best major league starters are currently out. They are either recovering from Tommy John surgery (Andrew Heaney and Nick Tropeano) or are out for long stretches this season after having missed significant time over the last 2-3 seasons (Tyler Skaggs and Garrett Richards.)
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All of that brings us to UCLA pitcher Griffin Canning. The Angels have some mid to back end of the rotation types working their way through the minors with success. However, the team needs a college pitcher who is more likely to work quickly through the minors. Simply put, the time is not there to draft a high school pitcher and wait. That wait is typically 3 to 5 years for them to arrive in Anaheim.
To that end, Canning profiles as one of the pitchers likely to be available when the Los Angeles Angels pick at number ten in the first round of the draft. Canning is not a towering type like another college pitcher likely available at # 10, Alex Fadeo. However, Canning uses three pitches with success – a curve, slider, and change-up. While he does not posses a lights out fastball, he still has a low-mid 90’s velocity.
Canning is a Southern California product who has experienced success in both high school (Rancho Santa Margarita) and at the college level.
While he has turned a sparkling 2017 campaign for the Bruins going 7-3 with a 2.34 ERA, 4 CG and 3 SHO, he did have some struggles in 2016. With an increased workload in his sophomore season, Griffin saw his ERA rise from 2.97 in 2015, to 3.70 in 2016. Still, the young pitcher had a strong season, posting 95 K / 22 BB with a 1.12 WHIP.
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Griffin has shown that he can excel as he advances against competition. He did so while going from high school to college. More importantly, he showed that he could handle a season with struggles and rebound even better.
The Los Angeles Angels find themselves in a prime position to make a strong and impactful pick in the Amateur Draft. While nothing is ever a “sure thing”, now is not the time for a reach. The current front office has shown a willingness to mix and match. They have found buy low candidates to add in with long term players. However, the team needs to build a steady stream of incoming young talent. Canning offers as good a shot as will be available to the Angels in the first round. Canning is also one of the best as far as college talent goes in this draft.