Shoulder issues have prevented Puk from pitching at all this year, which he and the Athletics hoped would be his first full season in the majors. Unfortunately, health woes have stopped the hard-throwing Puk, a highly regarded hurler, from logging much action in the bigs so far. It looked possible that Puk would debut in 2018, but he was unable to do so that season as a result of Tommy John surgery.
Puk made it back from the procedure last year to throw his first 11 1/3 innings from Oakland’s bullpen, averaging 97 mph on his fastball and recording a 3.18 ERA/3.39 FIP with 10.32 K/9 and 3.97 BB/9. A full-time starting role may have been in the cards this season had the 25-year-old stayed healthy, though it continues to look doubtful that he’ll pitch at all in 2020.
Even without Puk, the A’s have jumped out to a 23-14 record and a 3 1/2-game lead in the American League West. They’ve done so despite uninspiring production from their rotation, which ranks 17th in the majors in ERA (4.85) and FIP (4.41). Their bullpen, on the other hand, has been marvelous, as it owns the league’s best ERA (2.20) and FIP (3.22). Perhaps Puk will still be able to help either of those units this year, but time is running out.