It seems as though the Oakland A’s have been waiting on A.J. Puk forever. The 2022 season may be his last chance to show that he can be a part of their future.
A consensus top 100 prospect for four consecutive years, Puk was supposed to be a top of the rotation arm, a future ace for the A’s. While he had command issues, his pure stuff was enough where he had the potential to be a difference maker.
Injuries derailed his development and led to his conversion to the bullpen. Even then, his high octane fastball and power slider from the left side gave him the type of arsenal where he could be an asset. However, he posted a miserable 6.08 ERA and a 1.800 WHiP in his 13.1 innings, being sent back to Triple-A.
There comes a time when potential just is not enough anymore. Puk will be 27 years old shortly after the start of the 2022 season, and needs more than that former top prospect pedigree. He needs to prove that he can stay healthy and actually become a major league asset. If that does not happen, he will end up as yet another failed top prospect.
The Oakland A’s will have several openings in their bullpen. It is time for A.J. Puk to step up and claim one for his own.