After a very strong junior season at Oklahoma as a shortstop (and relief pitcher), Neuse began his pro career as a second-round pick of the Nationals in 2016. He was having a solid first full season in Class A ball when he was dealt to the A’s as part of the Sean Doolittle/Ryan Madson trade, then hit his way across two more levels to reach Double-A in his new organization. He lost his way in Triple-A over the first half of 2018, but turned it around there, then saw his confidence soar in Las Vegas in 2019, slugging his way up to the big leagues for the first time.
Neuse’s future as a big leaguer lies largely in how much he’ll hit. After losing his way in terms of his game plan at the plate in 2018, he regained his footing late that year and then saw his strikeout rate drop considerably in Triple-A last year while his walk rate went back up. That allowed him to hit for average again and tap into his considerable raw power more consistently, though hitting in Las Vegas, and the Pacific Coast League in general, no doubt helped. He’s a below-average runner, but he’s a better athlete than people think when they see him.
That athleticism allows him to be an effective defender at a number of positions. Blocked by Matt Chapman at third, his best position, he showed he could handle second base during his time up with Oakland, can still play an acceptable shortstop in a pinch and even is an adequate left fielder. Neuse could be a big league regular in another organization, but for now looks like a very solid super-utility type whose bat will force its way into the lineup more often than not.
Scouting grades: Hit: 50 | Power: 45 | Run: 40 | Arm: 60 | Field: 50 | Overall: 50
A two-way talent throughout his amateur career, Neuse was Oklahoma's shortstop and a reliever for three years. He parlayed a big junior season with the bat into being ranked No. 50 on MLB Pipeline's Top 200 Draft prospects list and landed with the Nationals as their second-round pick. He was having a solid first full season in A ball when he was sent to the A's along with lefty Jesus Luzardo and reliever Blake Treinin in return for Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson. Neuse made it to Double-A before that 2017 season was over and performed very well in the Arizona Fall League. He stumbled when he moved to Triple-A in 2018, but after hitting .224 in the first half, he righted the ship with a .321 second half.
When at his best, Neuse utilizes a compact and simple right-handed swing while also showing an ability to drive the ball to all fields. He came out of his gameplan in Triple-A at the start of the year, not seeing as many pitches and swinging and missing at an alarming rate. When he got back on track, his strikeout rate plummeted and he drew more walks. The power he showed in 2017 didn't completely return, but he was driving the ball a bit more.
A below-average runner, Neuse still has plenty of range to play third to go with a plus arm that fires mid-90s fastball from the mound, allowing him to stay at the hot corner long-term. There's a Matt Chapman-sized roadblock for Neuse in Oakland, so he might need to find work around the field and has seen time at his college position as well as a little time at second base in 2018.
Scouting grades: Hit: 50 | Power: 50 | Run: 45 | Arm: 60 | Field: 50 | Overall: 50
Neuse improved his Draft stock in 2016 as an Oklahoma junior by hitting .360/.465/.646 with a career-best 10 home runs before the Nationals made him their second-round pick. After he continued to swing the bat well early in his first full season, the A's landed Neuse, left-hander Jesus Luzardo and reliever Blake Treinen in the July deal that sent Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson to D.C. Neuse posted a .380 average in 40 games while reaching Double-A after joining the A's system, and then he continued to elevate his stock in the Arizona Fall League, where he finished in the top three in the circuit in RBIs, doubles, extra-base hits, runs scored, total bases, slugging and home runs.
Neuse's right-handed swing is short and simple, but he also keeps his barrel in the hitting zone for an extended period of time and drives the ball across the whole field. He has above-average raw power and already knows how to get to it in games, a notion supported by his 16 home runs and 26 doubles across three levels in 2017. Some scouts still question how it will translate at higher levels because his game does have some swing-and-miss tendencies, albeit with sound overall plate discipline.
Neuse is a fringe-average runner who shows good instincts on the bases and in the field. A shortstop in college, Neuse saw time there as well as third base prior to being dealt, but he handled the hot corner exclusively after joining the A's. He profiles as an average defender there, with soft hands, good range and a plus arm that produced 94 mph off the mound in college. Regardless of his position, Neuse has the hitting ability to profile as a big league regular.
After two solid if unspectacular seasons as a shortstop and reliever at Oklahoma, followed by a similar turn in the Cape Cod League, Neuse entered his junior year as potential top-five-round Draft pick. He broke out that spring, hitting .360/.465/.646 with a career-best 10 home runs for the Sooners, and the Nationals made him their second-round pick in June. After a strong start to his full-season debut in early 2017, Neuse was dealt with Blake Treinen and Jesus Luzardo to the A's for Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson.
Neuse employs a short and simple swing from the right side of the plate. He keeps his barrel in the hitting zone for an extended period of time, allowing him to drive the ball across the whole field. He has above-average raw power and got to it more consistently last season after improving his approach and plate discipline, although some scouts still question how it will translate at higher levels. He's an average runner who shows good instincts on the bases and in the field.
Shifted from shortstop to third base upon signing, Neuse profiles as an average defender at the hot corner, with soft hands, good range and a plus arm that produced 94 mph off the mound in college, and he's shown that he can still handle shortstop in a pinch. Regardless of his position, Neuse will need to hit to be a regular, though so far that hasn't been a problem.
Scouting grades: Hit: 50 | Power: 50 | Run: 50 | Arm: 60 | Field: 45 | Overall: 50
Neuse was one of the better two-way talents in the 2013 Draft, but he slid all the way to the 38th round because of his strong commitment to Oklahoma. After two solid if unspectacular seasons as a shortstop and reliever for the Sooners and a similar turn in the Cape Cod League last summer, he entered this season as a top-five-rounds candidate. He resuscitated his draft stock as a junior by hitting .360/.465/.646 with a career-best 10 home runs for the Sooners, prompting the Nationals to draft him in the second round. After signing for $900,000 Neuse began his pro career in the Class A Short Season New York-Penn League.
Scouts long have admired Neuse's right-handed swing, and he upped his production this year by improving his approach and plate discipline. A three-time first-team all-Big 12 selection, he's keeping his bat in the hitting zone longer and staying on pitches better, allowing him to tap into what should be average power. He's an average runner who shows good instincts on the bases and in the field.
While Neuse is a sure-handed defender who can make the routine play at shortstop, he lacks the quickness to play the middle infield and projects as a third baseman in pro ball. Having been clocked up to 94 mph on the mound, he has more than enough arm strength for any position on the field.