A.J. Puk getting closer to returning to Oakland A’s

Feb 26, 2021; Mesa, Arizona, USA; Oakland Athletics pitcher A.J. Puk (33) throws during a spring training workout at the Lew Wolff Training Complex. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 26, 2021; Mesa, Arizona, USA; Oakland Athletics pitcher A.J. Puk (33) throws during a spring training workout at the Lew Wolff Training Complex. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports /
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A.J. Puk is slightly more than the Oakland A’s version of the Loch Ness Monster. We do know he exists; he did make an appearance for the A’s earlier this season after all. However, his health would be a mythical entity, as has barely been healthy in any of the last four years.

However, Puk may be getting closer to making his return to the A’s. it is just a matter of his being able to prove that he can pitch out of the bullpen for an extended period of time without hurting himself yet again.

A.J. Puk making his way back to the Oakland A’s

Puk’s overall numbers in Triple-A would not seem to be exciting. He has posted a 6.16 ERA and a 1.684 WHiP over his 38 innings, striking out 47 batters with just 13 walks, but also allowing nine homers. Yet, those numbers are a vast improvement over where they had been just a month ago.

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He has also displayed the potential to be a weapon in a major league bullpen. While he has just 14.2 major league innings over 11 appearances, he has performed relatively well, with a 2.45 ERA and a 1.295 WHiP, striking out 17 batters with eight walks. The A’s could use another power arm for their bullpen, and Puk has the potential to be that.

His arsenal is certainly set up for such a role. Although Puk does have a four pitch mix that makes him an intriguing option as a starter, his high octane fastball and power slider from the left side could make him a dominant arm in the late innings. The A’s are certainly hoping that will be the case this season.

At this point, that is likely to be Puk’s role going forward. The A’s will have several holes in the bullpen again next year, and his injury woes make it unlikely that he will be able to hold up as a starter. However, if he can be a dominant left handed reliever, the A’s can still get plenty of value from the former top prospect.

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A.J. Puk has been pitching much better of late in Triple-A. His return to the Oakland A’s may come soon if he can stay healthy.

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