Newbie A.J. Puk makes the Top 100 list at No. 69.
A.J. Puk was the number one, sixth overall, pick in last June’s 2016 draft out of the University of Florida.
Puk had, prior to his sophomore season in college, been talked about as potentially going number one overall. However, after some control problems and injuries he was taken sixth overall by the Athletics.
Control problems and injuries may have scared off the first five clubs to pick in the draft but not the A’s. They had seen what Puk could do when healthy and went after him anyway. The 6’7″, 220lb left-hander was signed to an franchise record $4,069,200 contract
This turned out to be a very, very good move on the part of the Athletics. Puk definitely impressed in his first professional season with the Class-A short season Vermont Lake Monsters of the New York-Penn League.
Despite going 0-4 in four starts, the big lefty struck out 40 batters in just 32.2 innings pitched. He held batters to a .183 batting average against him and posted a 3.03 ERA.
Puk has what could develop into three plus pitches in his 96-97 MPH plus-fastball which he can maintain throughout his starts, a plus-slider that sits at 88-90 MPH and a changeup that should eventually develop into an effective big league pitch. He has the makings of a front of the rotation starter should he continue along this path.
His downfall is still gaining better control and command of the baseball. Still, being that he’s made just four professional starts in his life, it’s unlikely that he won’t get the ball a bit more under control by the time he reaches the big leagues.
His estimated time of arrival in the majors? It could be as soon as 2018 or 2019 for the 21-year-old who turns 22 this April.