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Griffin Canning poised for breakout season in 2021

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He was great to close out the 2020 season

Los Angeles Angels v San Diego Padres Photo by Rob Leiter/MLB Photos via Getty Images

After a solid sophomore campaign in 2020, Griffin Canning is looking forward to building off of his strong finish to last season and take that into this year.

“I feel more prepared coming into camp,” Canning said to the media on Thursday. “I threw a couple more bullpens.”

Canning overall had a pretty solid season last year for the Angels, but he really began to hit a stride near the end of the season. Over his final five starts, Canning went 2-0 with a 3.14 ERA with 33 strikeouts in 28 23 innings. Prior to that five-game stretch, his ERA on the season was just below five and he was 0-3.

“I like the way he gradually got better,” Angels manager Joe Maddon said when asked about his takeaways from Canning’s 2020 season. “He’s a young player with a fine arm and great athleticism. Last year his confidence continued to rise. He believes he belongs here now. He’s on the verde of understanding all of his weapons.”

When speaking with reporters, Canning said that something he’s been trying to work on this offseason was trying to find his sights and where he wants to be looking for his pitches. He said he was able to find some stuff for his fastball and wants to continue to stay aggressive with it.

On Wednesday, Canning faced Justin Upton, Dexter Fowler and Albert Pujols. He said he commanded his fastball well and continued to work on those off-speed pitches to them. Canning said it was a great session and he’s liking where he’s at so far through the first week of camp.

As Canning began to hit his stride near the end of the season, he was going deeper into games. Through his first six games, he only threw at least five innings once. Over his final five games, he did it four times.

“I think he’s developing that mindset of not wanting to come out, which I love,” Maddon said. “If he stays healthy, his future is pretty bright. He’s going to keep getting better.”