The Angels announced that they’ve designated right-hander John Curtiss for assignment in order to open a spot on the roster for prospect Griffin Canning, whose contract has now formally been selected from Triple-A Salt Lake. It was reported last week that Canning would make his MLB debut today.
Acquired in a minor January swap that sent infielder Daniel Ozoria to the Twins, Curtiss made just one appearance with the Angels, tossing 2 1/3 inning and allowing a run on two hits and three walks with a strikeout. It was only one appearance, but Curtiss averaged 92.1 mph on his heater in that outing — a substantial dip from the 95.2 mph he averaged as a rookie with the Twins in 2017.
Curtiss, long one of the more promising bullpen prospects in Minnesota’s system, has also struggled quite a bit in Triple-A early in the season. Through 8 2/3 innings, the 2014 sixth-rounder has been tagged for nine runs on 11 hits and eight walks with 11 strikeouts. The Angels will have a week to trade Curtiss, release him, or try to pass him through outright waivers. Even with his early 2019 struggles, Curtiss still has a career 3.16 ERA with nearly 11 strikeouts per nine frames at the Triple-A level (88 1/3 innings); given that success and the fact that he still has a minor league option remaining, he could draw interest from other clubs — assuming the velocity drop was a blip on the radar and not part of a larger-scale issue.
As for Canning, he’ll ascend to the Majors less than two years after being the Angels’ second pick in the 2017 draft. The Mission Viejo, Calif. native skyrocketed up three levels in the Angels’ system last season and has torn through Triple-A lineups early in 2019, pitching to a 0.56 ERA with a 17-to-2 K/BB ratio in 16 innings out of the rotation. He entered the year as a consensus Top 100 prospect and is viewed by the organization as a potential mid-rotation piece who could help to stabilize the rotation for years to come.