The Oakland Athletics are looking for any boost possible as they fight for a playoff spot. In order to try and guarantee they’ll play in October, the team has called up pitching prospect A.J. Puk to push them over the hump, according to Martín Gallegos of MLB.com.
The 24-year-old Puk got off to an impressive start to his career after being selected with the sixth overall pick in the 2016 MLB draft. His rise through the team’s system was halted by Tommy John surgery last April.
Puk worked his way back in 2019, though the numbers haven’t been there just yet. In 25 1/3 innings over three minor-league levels, Puk has a 5.68 ERA. He’s mostly been used as a reliever this season, making just four starts in 18 appearances.
Coming into the year, there was no consensus among prospect analysts on where Puk rated among the game’s most promising youngsters. Baseball America ranked Puk as the No. 18 prospect in baseball. Baseball Prospectus had the lefty down at No. 77. Major League Baseball had him near the middle, ranking Puk as the No. 42 prospect.
At 71-53, the Athletics sit just 1.5 games out of the wild-card spot in the American League. Puk is expected to pitch out the bullpen, where he’ll give the A’s yet another weapon in the late innings. The team’s relievers have combined for a 4.01 ERA this season, good for sixth best in baseball.
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