Mariners of the Future: Right-Handed Pitcher Griffin Canning
As we inch ever closer to the 2017 Major League Baseball draft, teams are starting to leak some information. One of the most common players linked to the Seattle Mariners is UCLA Bruin pitcher Griffin Canning.
Canning doesn’t fit the mold of a prototypical first round right handed pitcher. Simply put, he looks small. Standing at 6’1″, 170 lbs, Canning’s physique can charitably be described as “wiry”. But what he lacks in size, the Mariners could think he more than makes up for with his ability.
Canning’s fastball will sit in the low 90’s, but has been clocked at 95 MPH on occasion. He can work comfortably sitting at 90-92 MPH thanks to his impressive command. Canning poses a curveball and slider, both of which project to be MLB average offerings.
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It is the changeup that separates Canning from other pitchers in this class. A true plus pitch, Canning can throw the devastating change in any count for a strike. He throws the pitch with great arm action, selling it to the hitter to induce weak contact and strikeouts.
Scouts rave about his smooth, athletic, and repeatable delivery, giving Canning the ability to harness is great command without putting unnecessary stress on his arm. Some compare the ease of his delivery to Zack Greinke.
The biggest downside to Canning as a prospect is his perceived lack of upside. You won’t find many who believe the UCLA product can be an ace in professional baseball. While a solid #3 starter is always valuable, it often makes teams think twice about spending its first pick on said player.
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However; the history of Mariners General Manager Jerry Dipoto’s drafts show that he values a prospects floor and ceiling equally. Canning might never be more than a middle of the rotation arm, but Dipoto knows he will be a big league pitcher.