The Oakland A's announced that they had agreed to terms with left-handed pitcher A.J. Puk, the team's first overall selection in the 2016 MLB Draft. Puk signed for slot money, according to sources, which equals roughly $4.07 million.
Puk helped to lead the Florida Gators to this year's College World Series. The Iowa native posted a 3.05 ERA and struck-out 101 in 73.2 innings. His fastball can reach the high 90s and he has a plus slider. Puk is the highest draft selection for the A's since 1999, when the team took Barry Zito ninth overall out of USC.
Puk was in the picture to be the first overall selection in the draft up until draft day. A's Scouting Director Eric Kubota said the team was surprised Puk was still available at pick six.
“At no point during the spring did we think we would have a chance to talk about him at the sixth pick,” Kubota said on a conference call after the A’s completed their first day of selections. “I probably did a little jig. We were really happy.”
Puk told reporters after the draft that he grew up admiring East Bay native C.C. Sabathia. The A's hope Puk's career produces similar results.
The A's also announced on Thursday that reliever Sean Doolittle was placed on the DL with a left shoulder strain. The DL stint was retroactive to Saturday. The A's also optioned Zach Neal to Triple-A and recalled relievers Andrew Triggs and Daniel Coulombe. Oakland is in need of fresh arms in the bullpen after several relievers had to pitch extended stints over the past few days.