Should the LA Angels limit Griffin Canning’s innings in 2020?

Griffin Canning, Los Angeles Angels, (Photo by Lindsey Wasson/Getty Images)
Griffin Canning, Los Angeles Angels, (Photo by Lindsey Wasson/Getty Images) /

One of the many LA Angels players whose season ended early, Griffin Canning is going to need to be dynamic in Year Two. However, the Halos might be better off if they decide to keep the reigns tight with their young pitcher.

When the LA Angels drafted Griffin Canning in the second round of the 2017 MLB Draft, they were drafting a player with the talent to have been picked a full round earlier. Many teams were concerned over Canning’s workload at UCLA and his accompanying medicals.

The Angels promptly shut him down for the 2017 minor league season. Then in 2018, Canning worked through the minor leagues quickly, and injury free. He finally made the major leagues last season, where he went through highs and lows, but had an overall successful rookie season.

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That is, until he was shut down on August 22nd. While there was no structural damage in his throwing arm, the Angels (wisely) decided that elbow inflammation was enough to end Canning’s season short. Being so far out of the playoff picture gave them that easy option.

However, in 2020, the team might not (and hopefully won’t) have that luxury. If the Halos are going to contend in 2020, they’re going to need Canning to pitch to his best abilities. And as they say, the best ability is availability.

Shohei Ohtani is a near-guarantee for an innings limit as he gets set to break out in 2020. For a younger player coming off of Tommy John surgery, inning limits are commonplace. To limit Canning’s innings would be somewhat out of the ordinary, considering elbow inflammation isn’t something that lingers over an entire offseason.

But in Canning’s case, it is the total circumstances of his career thus far that make me hope the Halos limit him in 2020. And I don’t mean a strict “75 pitches and you’re done for the day” plan, either. What I recommend is simply what we see in the NBA with star players such as Kawhi Leonard and Joel Embiid. Skipping one, maybe two starts every month of the season will lighten Canning’s overall workload considerably over the course of the entire season, keeping him healthier and more effective in the process.

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As Angels fans, we all know how valuable durable pitching is. Griffin Canning hasn’t proven to be that yet. Easing him into a full season of MLB pitching by limiting him throughout could do tons for his development, and keep one of the Angels’ most promising young pitchers on the mound consistently.