Oakland A’s: A.J. Puk should be ready for spring training

OAKLAND, CA - JULY 13: A.J. Puk #31 of the Oakland Athletics pitches during summer workouts at RingCentral Coliseum on July 13, 2020 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Michael Zagaris/Oakland Athletics/Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - JULY 13: A.J. Puk #31 of the Oakland Athletics pitches during summer workouts at RingCentral Coliseum on July 13, 2020 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Michael Zagaris/Oakland Athletics/Getty Images) /
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Oakland A’s pitcher A.J. Puk had some good news after his surgery – he should be ready to go for the start of spring training in 2021.

A.J. Puk‘s season was over before it could ever really begin. The Oakland A’s prospect had been shut down thrice this year due to his balky shoulder, finally resulting in surgery. Considering how long his shoulder had been bothering him, and the numerous recurrences, it was easy to fear the worst.

Instead, Puk’s surgery may have gone better than anyone could have hoped for. It turned out to be a relatively minor cleanup, with Puk expected to be ready to return to the mound in time for spring training.

Nonetheless, this is now the second full season that Puk has missed. He had been sidelined in 2018 due to Tommy John surgery, missing part of the 2019 campaign as well as he worked his way back.

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Puk showed his potential during his time in the minors that year. Although he posted a 4.97 ERA and a 1.224 WHiP, his strikeout rates were impressive. In his 25.1 minor league innings, he struck out 38 batters with just ten walks. That strong showing continued with his brief stint in the majors, as he allowed four runs on ten hits and five walks in 11.1 innings, striking out 13 batters.

If he is healthy, Puk will have a chance to build upon that debut in 2021. The A’s will have numerous holes, both in the rotation and in the bullpen, that Puk could slot into. While Oakland envisions him as a starter, they also need to weigh whether or not his arm can hold up to that type of workload.

Regardless of his eventual role, the sky is seemingly the limit. Puk has the type of arsenal scouts dream of – a high octane fastball and a power slider, with a changeup that flashes as a possible plus offering. With that stuff, he could end up as a top of the rotation arm, or a dominant lefty reliever.

Next. A's injury woes happening at worst possible time. dark

But first, A.J. Puk needs to stay healthy. The good news is that, after his shoulder surgery, he should be ready for the Oakland A’s once spring training roles around.

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