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2021 Angels Player Review: Griffin Canning

A Gold Glove in 2020 filled the new season with high hopes for Griffin Canning, but the doom of the IL struck again, leaving fans with dreams of what could have been.

Los Angeles Angels v Oakland Athletics Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

Coming off of his 2020 American League Gold Glove season, the stage was set for Griffin Canning in 2021, but after experiencing a lower back strain in the summer, the right-handed pitcher’s season came to an abrupt end on July 15, leaving his 2021 season ticket with 14 games and a 5.60 ERA.

It’s no secret that the Angels bullpen lacked power in 2021, and that fallibility of the defense was only widened by Canning’s shortened season on the hill. He started off the season in April, but it was a slow start. He kept his record solid at 5-4 before he was sent back down to the Triple-A Salt Lake Bees. On July 15, he was placed on the 7-day IL for a lower back injury after he pitched two innings and gave up six runs.

The organization announced shortly after that he would miss the rest of the season due to the seriousness of the injury. With his season cut shorter than expected, it feels like Canning’s potential never hit its mark. He pitched 62.2 innings, where he allowed 65 hits, 41 runs and 14 home runs. His season also afforded 62 strikeouts – six more than he recorded in 2020.

Unfortunately, little has been said about Canning’s 2022 return, and it’s still unknown if he will be ready by opening day to fill a spot in the pitching rotation. It’s also unclear if Canning’s rough season was a product of his injury, but if it was, his recovery will be the most important step in getting back to the talent and potential that won him a Gold Glove last year.

Canning first joined the Halos in 2017 after pitching for the UCLA Bruins. From there, he worked his way through the Angels farm system before being invited to spring training in 2019.

By 2020, the UCLA graduate had found his stride as an Angel, winning his first AL Gold Glove Award. He tied among pitchers in the American League with three runs saved, and he finished last season with a 2-3 record alongside a 3.99 ERA. He was the first Angels pitcher to win the award since left-handed pitcher Mark Langston earned the honor in 1995.

2021 Stats:

5 Wins / 4 Losses / 5.60 ERA / 14 Games / 13 Games Started / 62.2 Innings Pitched / 62 Strikeouts / 28 Walks / 1.484 WHIP / .1 WAR / 65 Hits Allowed / 41 Runs Allowed / 14 Home Runs Allowed

Best Performance of the Year

May 1 vs. Seattle Mariners

Early in the season, Canning hit his stride on the mound, throwing the most strikeouts during a game this season with 9. He threw 61 strikes and helped the team secure a 10-5 win in Seattle, his second win of the season.

What To Expect in 2022:

Little has been said about when Canning will make a reappearance in 2022. It’s likely that the young starter will eventually make it back into the Angels rotation following a successful recovery, but it’s unknown if he will be ready by spring training to open the season. For now, Canning’s 2022 season will be pending further notices from the organization about the state of his injury and the road to recovery.

2021 OVERALL GRADE: D