With the injury to A.J. Puk, another member of the Oakland A’s will need to step up this season. The door is open for Daulton Jefferies to make an impact.
Selected with the 37th overall selection in the 2016 MLB Draft, Daulton Jefferies was considered the type of pitcher that could progress through the Oakland A’s system quickly. Although the A’s were cautious with him out of college in 2016, injuries ruined his 2017 and 2018 campaigns.
With 2020 set to begin, Jefferies was expected to be a part of the A’s rotation already. However, those injuries have set back his ascension, as he has just 64 innings above A-ball in his career. While his time was likely to come at some point in 2020, it was to be later than the A’s anticipated when he was drafted.
But the door may now be open. Another injury plagues prospect, A.J. Puk, is headed to the Injured List with shoulder issues and is headed to see Dr. Neil ElAttrache. For now, Daniel Mengden is slated to take his spot in the rotation, as Chris Bassitt is already replacing Jesus Luzardo.
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Mengden is hardly a given at this point in his career. He has served as valuable rotation depth over the past four years, but has also racked up plenty of frequent flyer miles between the A’s and AAA. He has also been a below average pitcher during his time in the majors, posting 17-19 record with a 4.68 ERA and a 1.295 WHiP over his 290.1 innings.
While the A’s know when Mengden is, Jefferies has a great deal of upside. He posted a 3.42 ERA and a 1.038 WHiP in his 79 innings last season, striking out 93 batters with just nine walks. Armed with impressive command, an excellent changeup, and the ability to hit his spots with his fastball, Jefferies has a chance to develop into an excellent starter.
The A’s will likely take it slow with Jefferies. Mengden will get the first couple of turns in the rotation, at least for as long as Puk is sidelined. But if Mengden struggles, the A’s will need to move quickly, especially given the short season. With Jefferies’ potential, he could get that chance sooner than later.
The door is open for Daulton Jefferies to make an impact upon the Oakland A’s this year. He just needs to take advantage should the opportunity present itself.