Griffin Canning | RHP
Canning, 21 next week, was selected in the 38th round of the 2014 draft out of a Southern California high school by the Rockies. He didn’t sign and instead followed through on his commitment to UCLA, and he spent part of his freshman season in the rotation alongside James Kaprielian. Canning had a 3.43 ERA with a 161/27 K/BB in 173 innings his first two years in school. This spring he has a 2.56 ERA with 98/23 K/BB in 77.1 innings.
By no means is Canning a big guy. He’s listed at 6-foot-1 and 165 lbs., and he’s more of a pitchability guy than a big stuff guy. His fastball sits 92-93 mph most days and will touch 95 mph, and it has a little run back in on right-handed hitters. Depending who you ask, either the slider or changeup is Canning’s best secondary pitch. They’re both quality offerings, and he also has a curveball to give him a four-pitch mix. Canning supposedly grew up a big Zack Greinke fan and modeled his delivery after Greinke’s. It’s compact and he repeats it well. That said, his walk rate has jumped to 2.68 BB/9 this year after sitting at 1.40 BB/9 his freshman and sophomore years. Kinda weird.
The draft is six weeks away, and in the latest updates Canning was ranked as the 17th (MLB.com), 20th (Keith Law), and 28th (Baseball America) best prospect in the 2017 draft class by the various scouting publications. The Yankees have the 16th pick. Scouting director Damon Oppenheimer loves his SoCal players — it’s not a coincidence my first draft profile is a UCLA kid — and he’s taken several college arms who were considered pitchability over stuff at the time of the draft in the high rounds over the years (Kaprielian, Ian Kennedy, Jeremy Bleich, Drew Finley, etc.) and Canning fits that mold.