A.J. Puk is still a bit of a mystery for the Oakland A’s. The one time top 100 prospect has fallen from grace due to his ongoing injury issues which have kept him from realizing his potential. His projected status as a top of the rotation arm has long since faded into the past.
But the potential is still there with Puk. His fastball is still explosive and he still has that devasting slider. Add in his status as a former top prospect, and the fact that he is left handed, and Puk will continue to get chances to prove himself.
A.J. Puk could make difference in Oakland A’s bullpen
That chance is likely to come in the A’s bullpen. While the front office had stated that they were still envisioning Puk as a starter at some point down the line, that time has passed. His inability to stay healthy and his command issues have caused that ship to sail.
Meanwhile, the A’s once again need to revamp their bullpen. With numerous defections expected via free agency, the A’s may have at least four openings in their relief corps. While they will need to dip into free agency to fill out the roster, most of the A’s openings will need to be filled from within.
This makes Puk an extremely important piece for the upcoming season. He has the potential to be a power lefty in the A’s bullpen, someone that could handle a high leverage situation based on his pure stuff. Considering the questions surrounding the closer spot, it may not be a surprise if Puk received a look in that role as well.
Puk is going to keep getting chances in Oakland. If the fire sale goes through as expected, the A’s will not have a choice but to see if he can live up to that potential. If he can, Puk could prove to be a key part of the A’s bullpen in 2022, and a major part of the solution moving forward.
The Oakland A’s are going to be looking for internal options that can be a part of their future. A.J. Puk still has a chance to be exactly that.