On a team badly in need of pitching stability, Griffin Canning provided that in 2020.
He allowed three earned runs or less in nine of his 11 starts, and he finished his season with a 3.14 ERA over his final five starts. Canning used his curveball more (22.9% in 2020, up from 16% in 2019) and got great success from the pitch, holding batters to a .182 batting average and .291 slugging percentage in at-bats that ended on that pitch. Canning’s curve was also his best put-away pitch, finishing off 27.1% of at-bats with two strikes with a whiff.
Canning also helped himself on the mound, with his defensive statistics outpacing all other pitchers in the American League, earning a Gold Glove Award. He joined Mark Langston (1991-95) as the only Angels pitchers to win a Gold Glove.
Canning saw his strikeout rate decline (23.5%) from his rookie season, and his walk rate go up (9.7%) but he was still relatively effective, with a 3.99 ERA and 4.33 FIP, both slightly above average.
He was a solid third starter behind Dylan Bundy and Andrew Heaney, but the depth fell off a cliff after that. That trio of Angels posted a 3.91 ERA while averaging 5.55 innings in their 34 starts. The rest of the rotation had a 9.22 ERA in 26 starts.
Stats: 3.99 ERA, 4.33 FIP, 113 ERA+, 56⅓ IP, 1.1 bWAR
Game of the year
In the final week of the season, with the Angels still technically alive in the postseason chase, Canning struck out 10 in a formidable Padres lineup over six innings, winning his second straight start.
Canning has one year, 153 days of major league service time.