The Athletics have signed lefty A.J. Puk, their top pick from the recent amateur draft, the club announced. Puk was taken with the sixth overall selection, which came with a $4,069,200 pool allocation. He’ll receive exactly that amount with his bonus, per MLB.com’s Jim Callis (via Twitter).
Puk pitched at the University of Florida, where he showed immense talent but also some inconsistency. Still, he drew real consideration with the first overall pick, and was a consensus top-five talent heading into the festivities.
Baseball America ranked Puk as the very best draft talent available on its board, citing his large frame, high-velo fastball, and promising slider and change-up. Despite Puk’s 6’7 height, BA gives him good marks for his ability to work in the zone and locate his heater.
Other outlets were only slightly lower on the big southpaw. MLB.com and ESPN.com each listed him at fourth among draft-eligible prospects. Despite the evident tools, Puk hasn’t been quite as consistently dominant as one might hope. And the secondary offerings aren’t fully functional at present.
Still, it’s all nit-picking at this level of player, and all agree that Puk has immense potential. It was a bit of a surprise that he slid to Oakland, but the A’s were glad to add a player who could be one of the first from the top of the draft to have an impact at the major league level.