The argument for and against Griffin Canning being the Angels sixth starter

Los Angeles Angels v Oakland Athletics
Los Angeles Angels v Oakland Athletics / Lachlan Cunningham/GettyImages

The Los Angeles Angels added Tyler Anderson to their rotation this offseason. This was a good signing as he's a veteran who can give the Angels quality innings as the number-two starter behind Shohei Ohtani. The Angels have five of their six starter spots locked up right now, but the sixth spot is very up for grabs.

The Angels could sign that sixth starter in free agency but the longer this drags on the less likely it feels like it'll happen. Michael Wacha is still out there, but there hasn't been anything to suggest the Angels are going to land him. It feels like the Angels will go internally with the sixth starter spot.

If the Angels do go internal for that spot, Griffin Canning is a prime candidate to end up as the sixth starter. Here are reasons why he should and should not be in that position.

Why LA Angels starting pitcher Griffin Canning should be the sixth starter

Out of the sixth starter candidates the Angels have on their 40-man roster, Griffin Canning is the pitcher with the most experience starting games. Canning has made 41 starts in his three seasons including 17 in 2019 and 13 when last seen in 2021.

Canning looked like a competent starting pitcher in the shortened 2020 season, posting a 3.99 ERA and a 114 ERA+ in 11 starts. He allowed three earned runs or fewer in nine of his 11 starts and looked like a real piece in the future of the Angels rotation.

Despite his poor performance in 2021 and not pitching at all in 2022, Canning's experience and success (albeit in a small sample) puts him a leg above the competition for that spot.

Why LA Angels starting pitcher Griffin Canning should not be the sixth starter

Canning looked good in 2020 but other than that has been extremely shaky. He had a 5.60 ERA in 14 appearances (13 starts) in 2021. He allowed 14 home runs in just 62.2 innings pitched. That's 2.0 HR/9 which is way too many.

Angels starting pitchers were 22nd in ERA yet Canning was so underwhelming he was demoted to the minors. Once he got there he suffered a stress fracture in his back that knocked him out for the season. Canning did not pitch at all in 2022 because of that same back issue.

The Angels would be asking a lot of a guy to come back and pitch well enough for the team to win after not pitching in a big league game since July of 2021. Shohei Ohtani taking some of those starts since he's pitching every sixth day instead of game will help, but is it enough?

The Angels have a lot to lose by Canning getting his feet wet in the bigs. When last seen he was horrible and now he missed an entire season. They at the very least could start him in the minors and bring him up when he proves he can be effective.

What do you think? Should the Angels use Canning as the sixth starter?

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