4. A.J. Puk
A.J. Puk has the potential to be one of the best left handed starters in a long time, but he needs to harness his command first.
Puk absolutely looks the part of a left handed power pitcher. Standing at 6’7″ and weighing 238 pounds, he is a fearsome sight on the mound. With his long hair, high octane fastball, and occasional lapses in command, Puk is truly intimidating.
The stuff is there for Puk to be a top of the rotation starter. His fastball sits in the upper 90s, and can reach 100 MPH, even in later innings. He has a devastating slider and a tremendous changeup, both of which generate plenty of swings and misses. Add in a solid curve, and he has an impressive arsenal at his command.
The problem is that command. While it showed improvement prior to his necessitating Tommy Joh surgery, he still had bouts of wildness, with five walks in his 11.1 innings at the major league level. That command could be the difference between Puk living up to his potential and becoming an ace, or a middle of the rotation arm. At worst, that command could force him into being a devastating reliever, but his arsenal makes that highly unlikely.
If A.J. Puk can figure out his command, he could be a star. That will be the key in what the Oakland A’s have in their impressive lefty.