38,797 lucky people where in attendance to watch LA Angels top prospect Griffin Canning make his first big league start on Tuesday night.
The 22-year-old Mission Viejo native gave the LA Angels big crowd on hand (including a reported 300 people in his own personal rooting section) a look at just how high his ceiling could be. Canning started the game with three perfect innings, striking out the side in the second inning, and struck out six in a row at one point.
Some initial impressions:
Canning throws four pitches: fastball, slider, curve, and change. The fastball sat around 95 MPH, and he was consistently in that zone until the top of the 5th inning.
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Canning is much better with a full windup. In the fourth inning, pitching from the stretch he skipped several sliders, with one getting past
to allow a run. With men on, he looked like he was trying to get swings and misses with the slider, but wasn’t throwing them for strikes.
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That said, the two hits he allowed in the 4th inning weren’t hit hard: a grounder up the middle and a short flyball to left-center that found grass were all he gave up. The hardest ball hit in the 4th was by Vladimir Guerrero Jr., who smoked a one-hopper to shortstop with two men on that was hit too hard to score the runner on third base.
By his 82nd pitch, Canning was clearly gassed. He gave a homer, a double, and a deep flyball out before getting pulled with one out in the top of the 5th. His last fastball of the night hit just 91 on the stadium speed gun.
By the time Brian Goodwin homered to provide the winning margin in the Angels’ 4-3 win, Canning was long finished. However, there was no question that it was his night. The final numbers (4.1 innings, 4 hits, 3 runs, 6 strikeouts) are less important than what Canning showed during the outing: that he is a quality big league prospect.
Time will tell how well Canning improves from his first game, but the first impression is that he’s validating the Angels’ decision to skip the free agent market, and instead focus on the farm system. For one night, at least, the decision looked good.