From a real-life standpoint, Jesus Luzardo may have been the top prospect the A's received from Washington in last summer's multi-reliever deal, but for our purposes, Sheldon Neuse is the most intriguing. He is built like a tank and has raked at every level above rookie ball -- reaching Double-A last year after less than 100 combined games at Low-A and High-A. The sky-high batting averages on balls in play at High-A and Double-A (.490 and .532, respectively) make it difficult to read much into his gaudy numbers. However, he continued to make consistent, loud contact in the Arizona Fall League (.935 OPS), so it seems pretty clear at this point that Neuse can hit, and hit for power. At least 34 percent of his hits as a pro have gone to the opposite field, which bodes well for his ability to hit for a relatively high average. His strikeout rates have been high, but not unreasonable given his plus power and aggressive promotions. Defensively, he can handle third base but may profile at DH for the A's in late 2018 or early 2019.
Neuse has been granted a non-roster invitation to the Athletics' spring training, Jane Lee of MLB.com reports. Neuse was acquired from the Nationals in 2017 as part of the return for relievers Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson. The young third baseman immediately flashed his hit tool with the A's, posting a gaudy wRC+ of 203 with High-A Stockton and a wRC+ of 143 with Double-A Midland. Neuse is a relatively attractive dynasty asset and could potentially make his big-league debut this upcoming season.
Neuse was traded Sunday from the Nationals to the Athletics along with reliever Blake Treinen and prospect Jesus Luzardo in exchange for relievers Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson, Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reports. The 22-year-old Neuse, the 58th overall pick in the 2016 first-year player draft, had been seeing time at third base and shortstop in the South Atlantic League this season and was batting .291/.349/.469 over 321 plate appearances. Regarded as a polished college bat coming out of Oklahoma, Neuse could move up the minor-league ladder relatively quickly with his new organization, with an assignment to the California League not out of the question before the end of 2017. He may end up being groomed as a third baseman for the Athletics with Franklin Barreto profiling as the team's top long-term option at shortstop.
Neuse went 5-for-7 with a double for Low-A Hagerstown as it split a doubleheader with Delmarva on Wednesday. The 2016 second-round pick is putting together a solid campaign in his first exposure to full-season ball, slashing .290/.353/.426 with four homers, 24 RBI and nine steals in 43 games. Neuse is already 22 years old though, and might need a tougher challenge before it's clear how much progress he's made with his bat. The Nats have kept him at shortstop this season, his position in college (when he wasn't closing for Oklahoma), but his long-term future still seems likely to be at third base.
Last 7 Games