A.J. Puk Is On A Fast Track To Be Baseball's Next Big Star

A.J. Puk Is On A Fast Track To Be Baseball's Next Big Star

The 22-year-old lefty is already making waves in Oakland.

Nearly two years ago, the A's selected LHP A.J. Puk with the sixth overall pick in the 2016 Draft. And now, 22 year-old Puk is already on the rise in Oakland, as the young lefty dominated the Padres this past weekend, solidifying himself as a key cornerstone for the future of the Athletics organization.

Puk spent last season in High A ball, later moving up to AA after the All-Star Break, and although the fireballer struggles with command from time to time, his four pitch arsenal has been enough for a clean 0.00 ERA through 5.0 IP so far this Spring. His lethal combination of a fastball, changeup, curveball, and now a hard slider is a classic example of a new-wave pitcher’s lineup of pitches. His pitching style is incredibly reminiscent of Mets RHP Noah Syndergaard, and even Astros’ World Series hero Justin Verlander, and if Puk can make the transition from minor to major leagues, his personal pitching style could emulate the two aforementioned starters. So far, if this Spring’s sample size is of any merit, Puk is having no trouble making the transition towards the major leagues.

The aspiring ace has already earned a K/9 of 7.2 through 2 games this Spring, as he's pitched 2.0 innings during his first start, and 3.0 innings during a relief appearance on Saturday. In comparison, only two other Athletics pitchers has thrown more than 5.0 innings thus far, showing exactly how much the A's organization trusts Puk and his bright future. Still, while Puk is currently slated to start the season in Triple-A Nashville, the confidence that the organization has instilled in their young prospect might be a sign that the A’s would be willing to advance him through the system at a faster rate than usual.

His raw talent and incredible promise should be enough to thrust Puk through the A’s system, as the major league club is lacking depth in their rotation, especially with veteran Sonny Gray leaving the organization last summer at the trade deadline to join the New York Yankees. Although Kendall Graveman may currently be the “ace” of a young Athletics team, it’s only a matter of time until Puk takes over as the main event in Oakland. The team could promote Puk to the majors as early as this Summer, according to manager Bob Melvin, as the team could definitely use a “bonafide starter” like him in the rotation. The future of A’s pitching is now, and with Puk already facing off against major league batters, Oakland could be an immediate threat to an AL West division that is already stacked to the brim with talented contenders.

Needless to say, the season is still young, and the A's have a lot of ground to make up if they're going to be contenders as soon as this year. With the foundations in place, execution is the next step for the Athletics. Nonetheless, the future is bright, and Puk is at the center.

Cover Image Credit: Wikicommons

Popular Right Now

When You Give A Girl A Dad

You give her everything

They say that any male can be a father, but it takes a special person to be a dad. That dads are just the people that created the child, so to speak, but rather, dads raise their children to be the best they can be. Further, when you give a little girl a dad, you give her much more than a father; you give her the world in one man.

When you give a girl a dad, you give her a rock.

Life is tough, and life is constantly changing directions and route. In a world that's never not moving, a girl needs something stable. She needs something that won't let her be alone; someone that's going to be there when life is going great, and someone who is going to be there for her when life is everything but ideal. Dads don't give up on this daughters, they never will.

When you give a girl a dad, you give her a role model.

If we never had someone to look up to, we would never have someone to strive to be. When you give a little girl someone to look up to, you give her someone to be. We copy their mannerisms, we copy their habits, and we copy their work ethic. Little girls need someone to show them the world, so that they can create their own.

When you give a girl a dad, you give her the first boy she will ever love.

And I'm not really sure someone will ever be better than him either. He's the first guy to take your heart, and every person you love after him is just a comparison to his endless, unmatchable love. He shows you your worth, and he shows you what your should be treated like: a princess.

When you give a girl a dad, you give her someone to make proud.

After every softball game, soccer tournament, cheerleading competition, etc., you can find every little girl looking up to their dads for their approval. Later in life, they look to their dad with their grades, internships, and little accomplishments. Dads are the reason we try so hard to be the best we can be. Dads raised us to be the very best at whatever we chose to do, and they were there to support you through everything. They are the hardest critics, but they are always your biggest fans.

When you give a girl a dad, you give her a credit card.

It's completely true. Dads are the reason we have the things we have, thank the Lord. He's the best to shop with too, since he usually remains outside the store the entire time till he is summoned in to forge the bill. All seriousness, they always give their little girls more than they give themselves, and that's something we love so much about you.

When you give a girl a dad, you give her a shoulder to cry on.

When you fell down and cut yourself, your mom looked at you and told you to suck it up. But your dad, on the other hand, got down on the ground with you, and he let you cry. Then later on, when you made a mistake, or broke up with a boy, or just got sad, he was there to dry your tears and tell you everything was going to be okay, especially when you thought the world was crashing down. He will always be there to tell you everything is going to be okay, even when they don't know if everything is going to be okay. That's his job.

When you give a girl a dad, you give her a lifelong best friend.

My dad was my first best friend, and he will be my last. He's stood by me when times got tough, he carried me when I just couldn't do it anymore, and he yelled at me when I deserved it; but the one thing he has never done was give up on me. He will always be the first person I tell good news to, and the last person I ever want to disappoint. He's everything I could ever want in a best friend and more.

Dads are something out of a fairytale. They are your prince charming, your knight in shinny amour, and your fairy godfather. Dads are the reasons we are the people we are today; something that a million "thank you"' will never be enough for.

Cover Image Credit: tristen duhon

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

The Oakland Athletics Are Boring, Fun, And Winning!

"Moneyball" is alive and well.

Whenever the Oakland Athletics baseball team is brought up in conversation, it's most likely in the context of "Moneyball", the 2011 film starring Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill.

Pitt assumes a charismatic role as Oakland’s general manager, Billy Beane, while Hill serves as a more robust version of Beane’s assistant, Paul DePodesta. While I believe that "Moneyball" is an extremely flawed interpretation of the 2002 Oakland Athletics season, the film received critical acclaim for its ability to convey the sophistication behind sabermetrics, an empirical analysis of baseball.

I was only three years old when Oakland shocked the baseball world by remarkably winning twenty games in a row and capturing the best record in the Major Leagues. Four years later, I fell in love with the A’s during the 2006 MLB Postseason, most likely due to the team’s vibrant green and gold colors. I can proudly say that I have remained a loyal Oakland supporter ever since.

Despite my unconditional love for Oakland, the team never fails to frustrate me. The A’s play in a small market and do not maintain disposable funds like the Yankees and Red Sox do.

Thus, Oakland is often unable to resign its standout players once their contracts expire. It's difficult to develop a successful franchise with such little money, but the A’s have always found ways to acquire quality talent at bargain prices.

This season is no different. As I write this, Oakland currently sits at 25-22, two games out of a Wildcard Playoff spot. According to Spotrac, the A’s also have the lowest payroll in Major League Baseball at $71 million.

$71 million? Sounds like a lot of money, right? Well, $71 million is essentially chump change for other big league clubs.

The Los Angeles Dodgers payroll for 2018 is $187 MILLION. How many wins do the Dodgers have? 20. The Dodgers have 5 fewer wins than the A’s despite spending $115 million more on their players. Baseball is crazy!

I’ve tried my best to watch as many A’s games as possible this season. 47 games later, I can confidently label this team as BORING. They are so damn boring that it's sometimes difficult to watch them play for nine whole innings without falling asleep.

It seems as though every at-bat ends in either a strikeout or a walk. Not many players on the team are capable of making contact with the ball consistently.

Yet, at the same time, Oakland can be such an exciting team. When they aren’t striking out or drawing bases on balls, the A’s are belting baseballs into the outfield seats. Oakland is fifth in the MLB with 60 home runs and leads the majors in homers on the road.

Pretty impressive for a team whose core pieces are Khris Davis, Matt Olson, and Jed Lowrie.

Most importantly, the Athletics are winning. After missing the postseason three years in a row, Oakland has a legitimate chance to reach the playoffs this season. Beane has cleverly assembled a group of 25 players at minimal cost who are keen on winning.

I’ve always embraced the underdog role. Underdogs are challenged to overcome adversity in their pursuit of success. Oakland is much the same way, and that is why I connect so well with the players and organization as a whole.

Critics claim that the “Moneyball” strategy is dying and that sabermetrics are outdated. The Athletics are here to prove haters wrong. It's still early in the season, but Oakland continues to exceed expectations.

Only time will tell if the boys in green and gold can keep it up for the remainder of the year, but I am optimistic about this team’s future.


Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Related Content

Facebook Comments