Former Buck A.J. Puk Debuts with the Athletics
Puk is the 227th former Northwoods League player to debut in MLB
Rochester, Minn. – Former Waterloo Buck A.J. Puk, made his Major League debut for the Oakland Athletics on Wednesday, August 21, 2019. Puk is the 227th former Northwoods League player to reach the Major League level.
Puk, who played collegiately at the University of Florida, pitched for the Waterloo Bucks in 2014. He was drafted by the Athletics in the 1st round of the 2016 MLB draft.
The Cedar Rapids, Iowa native pitched in two games, starting both, earning a 2.08 ERA with 10 strikeouts in 8.2 innings pitched for the Bucks. At the plate, Puk played in 11 games, hitting .227 with two doubles and three RBI.
Puk began his minor league career in 2017 with the Stockton Ports of the Hi-A California League. After 14 games he was promoted to the Midland RockHounds of the AA Texas League. Between the two clubs he was 6-10 with a 4.03 ERA in 27 games. He struck out an incredible 184 batters in 125 innings while walking 48.
During Spring Training in 2018 it was determined that he needed Tommy John Surgery and he was then out for the entire season.
Prior to being called up by the Athletics, Puk had started the season in Stockton and then moved up again to Midland before another promotion to the Las Vegas Aviators of the AAA Pacific Coast League. With the three clubs he was a combined 4-1 with a 4.97 ERA over 18 games. He had 38 strikeouts in 25.1 innings pitched while walking 10.
In his Major League debut against the New York Yankees, Puk entered the game in relief in the eighth inning. In .1 innings pitched he allowed one hit and one walk and received a hold.
The Northwoods League is the proven leader in the development of elite college baseball players. Currently in its’ 26th season, the Northwoods League is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 22 teams, drawing significantly more fans, in a friendly ballpark experience, than any league of its kind. A valuable training ground for coaches, umpires and front office staff, over 225 Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (WAS), two-time World Series Champions Ben Zobrist (CHC) and Brandon Crawford (SFG), World Series Champion Chris Sale (BOS) and MLB All-Stars Jordan Zimmermann (DET) and Curtis Granderson (MIA). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League website. For more information, visit www.northwoodsleague.com or download the Northwoods League Mobile App on the Apple App Store or on Google Play.