Sheldon Neuse 3B/SS Hagerstown Suns
Hit (40/50) / Power (50/55) / Run (45/45) / Defense (55/55) / Arm (65/65)
Washington’s 2nd round pick, 58th overall, in the 2016 MLB Draft, signed for $900,000. Born in December 1994, Neuse will spend the entire season as a 22 y/o. Listed at 6-0 195lbs., Neuse looks a bit taller than listed and his body projects to add 7-10 additional pounds as he matures physically. He has average to below-average speed, consistently clocking between 4.32 – 4.38 from home to first. From mere observation, Neuse has quality makeup, constantly hustling in the field and seems popular with his teammates.
Defensively Neuse has spent time at both shortstop and third base this season for Hagerstown. Neuse has a cannon-like arm, actually spending time as a pitcher in college at Oklahoma State. It easily projects as a plus arm and is one of the strongest non-shortstop arms I have seen in many years. Neuse has average to fringe-average speed and mediocre athleticism, making him profile more naturally at third baseman. But the combination of his first-step quickness, soft hands and strong arm make him profile as an above-average defender at the hot corner.
At the plate Neuse is a right-handed hitter with impressive bat speed but struggles to find a consistent length to his swing, as it can get long when he tries to “sell out” for power. He has noticeably attempted to cut down his swing this season, with positive results. Neuse will flash above-average to plus raw power in batting practice and has begun incorporating the long ball into game action. He displays intriguing power to right-center field, including the ability to hit it over the wall. He needs repetitions to get more comfortable with the swing changes he is making, but Neuse projects as an average hitter with above-average raw power.
Neuse has an intriguing package of tools and is the type of prospect you appreciate the more you watch him play. He should be an asset defensively at third base at the big league level due to his strong arm, soft hands and reasonable athleticism. The primary concern in his profile is the hit tool, as he has struggled in the past consistently making contact and is attempting to refine his swing. Not to mention trying to project how he will perform against pitching three levels above him. That said he has quality bat speed, recognizes spin and has a game plan for each at-bat, three key elements for future success as a hitter.
Neuse profiles as an average to above-average 2-way third baseman, with the ceiling of a solid starting third baseman, and the most likely outcome being a versatile bench bat. Neuse is not flashy, but is a quality left side of the infield prospect who should receive more helium in prospect circles. He could see a promotion to High-A Potomac in the next 30-45 days and perhaps be major league ready late in 2019.