In a long-expected move, the Oakland Athletics will call up left-hander A.J. Puk this Tuesday, in time to face the New York Yankees.
According to a report by MLB.com, Puk, one of the A’s top two prospects will get his first big-league call up, having spent the last 18 months recovering from Tommy John surgery.
Though projected as a starter, Puk — the No. 6 pick in the 2016 draft — has been working out of the bullpen during his rehab because of the post-surgery innings limit. He was an early favorite to make the A’s rotation last spring before his injury, and will be a major part of their starting pitching plans going forward.
In 18 appearances over three levels this season, Puk has thrown 25 1/3 innings, striking out 38 and walking 10, allowing 14 earned runs and 21 hits.
The A’s will need to purchase Puk’s contract, and a space will need to be created for Puk to join the active 25-man roster. Left-hander Wei-Chung Wang is likely to be the odd man out.
Rated as the No. 21 prospect in all of basebal by Fangraphs and the No. 43 prospect in baseball by MLB.com, the 6-foot-7 lefty has a fastball in the upper 90s, complemented by a curveball and a changeup. Because of the pronation of his arm, the changeup was taken away from him early in the rehab process. He’s been living off fastballs and sliders during his rehab, but has started to mix in the occasional curveball.
In his only full season in the minors in 2017, he went 6-10 with a 4.03 ERA, striking out 184 in 125 innings, and walking 48 while allowing a .227 batting average against. He allowed only three home runs.