After selecting a pitcher and a shortstop with their first two picks in the 2016 First-Year Player Draft, the Washington Nationals selected third baseman Sheldon Neuse with their second round pick.
Over the course of their 11-year history in the nation’s capital, the Washington Nationals have made several memorable draft picks.
The most memorable, of course are Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper. Others, like Anthony Rendon and Ryan Zimmerman, have also helped shape the Nationals into the team they are today. But sometimes, it’s the draft picks you don’t always remember that come back to bear fruit — players whose names aren’t all that well known, and whose place in the future of the organization is impossible to predict.
For the Nationals, one of those players may very well be Sheldon Neuse — the Nationals’ second round pick and the 58th pick overall in this year’s MLB Draft.
Neuse was the Nationals’ third selection of Day 1 of the Draft last night, with the team claiming him after selecting Carter Kieboom and Dane Dunning with the 28th and 29th overall picks, respectively.
A junior out of Oklahoma University, Neuse is 6-foot tall and weighs 195 lbs. His profile on the Sooner’s website lists him as an infielder and right-handed pitcher, and he had plenty of success both in the batters box and on the mound during his college career.
During his three-years in collegiate ball, Neuse batted .313 with 23 home runs, 29 stolen bases, 138 RBIs, a .525 slugging percentage and a .390 on-base percentage. Neuse made 29 appearances as a pitcher in his collegiate career, going 6-2 while boasting an impressive 1.60 ERA.
Neuse, 21, is coming off the best season of his career, in which he slashed .365/.646/.465 with 10 home runs, 48 RBIs, 15 doubles and five triples. He stole 12 bases, and was caught twice. 2016 was also Neuse’s best defensive season, with the junior from Fort Worth, Texas posting a .980 fielding percentage.
The Nationals wouldn’t be where they are now without their ever-impressive farms and player development system. While names like Sheldon Neuse are unknown to almost everyone in the game, they may one day develop into the Harpers and Rendons of the future, so it’s important to track their progress as they make their way into professional ball and grow in their careers.
Of course, nothing is guaranteed. We may never see Neuse at the big league level, or any of the team’s other picks in this year’s draft, for that matter. Careers don’t always pan out as predicted, and draftees don’t always sign with the team that drafted them.
But if Neuse signs, he’ll quickly make his way into the Nationals’ farm system — as will every other pick the team is able to lock up this summer. And given the Nationals’ track record, that alone is reason to be optimistic.
Be sure to stay tuned to District on Deck as we continue to bring you coverage of the 2016 First-Year Player Draft. Day 2 of the Draft, featuring Rounds 3-10, kicks off at 1 p.m. ET today.