A.J. Puk
23-Year-Old PitcherRP
Oakland Athletics AA
Out
Injury Elbow
Est. Return 5/1/2019
2018 Fantasy Outlook
Puk's 184 strikeouts ranked third in the minors last season, and he logged almost 20 fewer innings than the two pitchers ahead of him (Alec Hansen and Triston McKenzie). The big 6-foot-7 lefty, who was the first college pitcher to come off the board in 2016, dominated hitters while splitting time evenly at High-A and Double-A. His upper-90s fastball and wipeout slider both have the potential to be 70-grade offerings by the time he reaches the majors. His command and control were seen as fringe average when he was coming out of the University of Florida, and while he has made strides, Puk still struggles at times to locate his pitches, as do most young pitchers. His changeup and curveball are not in the same class as his fastball and slider, which is why he can struggle the third time through the lineup. His 2.35 FIP at Double-A was the worst mark of his career, and he has given up just three home runs in 157.2 innings, so he may not get a true challenge until he reaches the big leagues, perhaps as early as this summer. Read Past Outlooks
RANKSFrom Preseason
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$Signed a contract with the Athletics in June of 2016 that includes a $4.07 million signing bonus.
Undergoes successful surgery
POakland Athletics  AA
Elbow
April 11, 2018
Puk (elbow) underwent successful Tommy John surgery Tuesday, Jane Lee of MLB.com reports.
ANALYSIS
The club announced that Dr. Neal ElAttrache did the procedure in Los Angeles and that Puk will begin his lengthy rehabilitation Thursday. The 22-year-old had been dealing with a ligament issue in his elbow during the final week of spring training and will be forced to miss the entirety of this season, and the beginning of the 2019 campaign.
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2017 Fantasy Outlook
Puk has everything the scouts look for in a pitching prospect: tremendous raw stuff with tons of projectability on a big frame. It doesn't hurt that he's a southpaw. Indeed, Puk was rumored to be in the mix to go No. 1 overall in June but ended up falling to the A's with the sixth pick. His initial run in short-season ball was impressive, with his 3.31 BB/9 rate representing perhaps the most encouraging stat as a lack of command and control was his biggest knock coming out of the University of Florida. Of course, given his age and level, we won't truly know if he has made significant strides in that department until he receives a couple promotions. His fastball was sitting in the mid-90s and continues to grade as a borderline plus-plus pitch, while his slider and changeup will both need to jump a grade for him to profile atop a rotation. Turning 22 in April, Puk likely will receive a full-season assignment early on in 2017, and it would not be a surprise if the A's took an aggressive, sink-or-swim approach to his development in the coming seasons.
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Recommended for Tommy John surgery
POakland Athletics  AA
Elbow
March 27, 2018
The A's announced Tuesday that Puk (elbow) has been recommended to undergo Tommy John surgery on his left arm, Julian McWilliams of The Athletic Bay Area reports.
ANALYSIS
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Potential elbow ligament issue
POakland Athletics  AA
Biceps
March 27, 2018
Puk (biceps) is seeing doctors about a potential issue with the ligament in his elbow, Jon Heyman of FanRagSports.com reports.
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Shut down with biceps soreness
POakland Athletics  AA
Biceps
March 21, 2018
Puk was shut down with biceps soreness Wednesday, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
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Reassigned to minors
POakland Athletics  AA
March 18, 2018
The Athletics reassigned Puk to their minor-league camp Sunday, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
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Rotation hopes slipping
POakland Athletics  AA
March 16, 2018
Puk (1-1), who allowed four earned runs on three hits and three walks while recording one strikeout in a 6-2 Cactus League loss to the Mariners on Thursday, may have seen his already slim Opening Day roster chances take a hit with the performance, Jane Lee of MLB.com reports.
ANALYSIS
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