Sitting down with recently promoted Los Angeles Angels 2nd round pick Griffin Canning

ANAHEIM, CA - MAY 30: A baseball sits on the pitching mound prior to the game between the Detroit Tigers and the Los Angeles Angels at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on May 30, 2015 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images)
ANAHEIM, CA - MAY 30: A baseball sits on the pitching mound prior to the game between the Detroit Tigers and the Los Angeles Angels at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on May 30, 2015 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images) /

When the Los Angeles Angels drafted UCLA star pitcher Griffin Canning they knew they had a pitcher with great potential.  Canning, a So Cal native pitched in the two games for the Inland Empire 66’ers & the results were phenomenal.

Canning Los Angeles Angels 2nd round draft pick Griffin Canning took the mound on Thursday, April 5th it was the first start of his professional career.  Canning did not disappoint as he was lights out pitching going four innings giving up only one hit and no runs in his professional debut for the 66’ers.  Canning walked two batters, but struck out six reaching the high 90’s a few times in the game.

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Canning followed it up with a 4.2 inning performance giving up three hits and no runs once again.  Canning walked one batter this time and again struck out six batters.  So in two Single-A starts Canning pitched 8.2 innings allowing four hits no runs with three walks and 12 strikeouts.  Not bad for a debut and the Angels front office took notice today as they promoted Canning to Double-A Mobile.

“It’s been fun to get out there and pitch enjoy the game with the guys and everything,” Canning said of his first start. “It’s been cool definitely (to be close to home). My family was able to come out to my first professional start. It was awesome to be able to have them in the stands for that.”

Despite the great numbers so far, Canning knows that he can do even better.

“I felt good out there. It was exciting definitely. But once you get out there it just baseball. I didn’t try to hype it up anymore than what it was,” Canning added. “I thought I threw the ball pretty well. I definitely wish I didn’t walk those two guys. I have some stuff to improve on, but overall I was pretty happy with my start.”

Canning is used to success as he was one of the best pitchers at UCLA in his three years there with head coach John Savage.  He gives a lot of credit for his success to Savage and his staff at UCLA.

“I can’t say enough about what I learned there at UCLA.  I was really lucky to be recruited and end up going there,” Canning said. “Coach Savage does an awesome job with the pitchers. I really can’t say enough about how much he helped me and all the pitchers that go there.”

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When Canning was drafted last June he knew he was going to an organization that was on the rise and had some star power with Mike Trout, Justin Upton, and Albert Pujols.  Then Shohei Ohtani was added this off-season as well.

Canning is pleased to be able to be a part of the Angels organization.

“It’s awesome to be a part of this organization with so many good guys to look up to and learn from,” Canning said.  “They give us a model to follow to get up to the big leagues.”

The night after Canning’s professional debut, he got a chance to watch one of the Angels current pitchers, Andrew Heaney take the mound for an injury rehab assignment.  For Canning this has to be an invaluable experience to get a front row seat to watch a major league pitcher for a day and he was grateful for the opportunity.

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“I didn’t talk to him (Heaney) much while he was here, but it was definitely fun to watch him from the dugout and see him go about his process.  He looked very good,” Canning said. “What I learned the most from it was how professional he was with everything. He didn’t treat it any differently than he would a major league start.  He kept his same routine and that was beneficial to watch.”

What struck me the most is the way that Canning is taking everything in and not trying to get too caught up with being in professional baseball.  He has a tremendous upside and I’m sure he will be successful in Double-A with the Mobile Bay Bears.

When I asked him if he had any goals that he wanted to reach this season he said he just wanted to get better.

“I’m just focusing on trying to go out every week and pitch the best that I can and try to stay healthy,” Canning said. “It would be cool to make it to the majors, but I’m just trying to stay in the moment and not try to get too much ahead of myself.”

Next: Griffin Canning is a name to remember for Angel fans

How long will the boy wonder be in Mobile is anyone’s guess.  If he continues to pitch like he did for the 66’ers he may not be there long, so enjoy watching him now Mobile fans as he could be gone in the blink of an eye.