2017 MLB.com Top Prospects: Sheldon Neuse will need to hit to be a regular, though the Athletics are confident he will
"I'm excited to be out here," Neuse said. "I'm blessed that they chose me to come out here. It's a really good group of guys and coaches."
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With a short and simple swing from the right side of the plate, Neuse recorded his first hit of the Arizona Fall League in the second inning. On a 2-1 pitch from Scottsdale starter Albert Abreu -- the Yankees' No. 7 prospect -- Neuse shot a sharp line drive into left field for Mesa's first hit of the game.
Trailing 4-2 in the sixth, Neuse singled once more and was part of a three-run inning for the Solar Sox. David Bote connected on the first pitch he saw from Adam Hofacket to give Mesa a 5-4 lead.
Then, in the seventh, Neuse got his pitch. The result broke the game open for good.
"Bases loaded and one out, I was just looking for something I could drive, something that I could get extended through," Neuse said. "I saw the gaps and got a pitch and just didn't miss it."
Neuse displayed his power in his first full season in the Minor Leagues. He hit 16 home runs to go along with 40 RBIs across 119 games with Class A Hagerstown (Nationals), Class A Advanced Stockton and Double-A Midland.
Top Prospects: Neuse, OAK Top Prospects: Sheldon Neuse, 3B, Athletics2017 MLB.com Top Prospects: Sheldon Neuse will need to hit to be a regular, though the Athletics are confident he will
His Mesa teammate Daniel Johnson Jr. -- the Nats' No. 10 prospect -- also had a good day at the plate. He went 2-for-4 with two runs scored and was one of three runners on base when Neuse put the game out of reach in the seventh.
Johnson also made a nice diving catch in center field early in the game to keep a run off the board.
Athletics prospect Nolan Blackwood pitched in the ninth with two strikeouts to give Mesa its first win of the Arizona Fall League season.
"It's exciting to be able to play again," Neuse said. "I'm just looking forward to the rest of the season."
Eddie Poe is a graduate journalism student at Arizona State University. This story is part of a partnership between MLB.com and ASU's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
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