With Khris Davis headed to the paternity list for the next three days, the Athletics are set to select the contract of infield prospect Sheldon Neuse, reports Martin Gallegos of MLB.com (via Twitter). It’ll be the first call to the big leagues for the 2016 second-rounder, who is widely considered to be among the organization’s top 10 prospects. Oakland will need to make a 40-man roster move to create room for Neuse’s promotion.
Neuse, 24, was originally drafted by the Nationals, who traded him to Oakland alongside Blake Treinen and Jesus Luzardo in the 2017 deadline deal that netted them Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson. He’s had a strong season in Triple-A Las Vegas, hitting .317/.389/.550 with 27 home runs, 31 doubles, two triples and three steals in 550 plate appearances. While he struggled to make contact in his first run at Triple-A in 2018, Neuse has slashed his strikeout rate and upped his walk rate in 2019. He currently ranks eighth among Oakland farmhands according to both MLB.com and Baseball America, while Fangraphs tabs him ninth in the organization.
Third base is Neuse’s natural position, and that’s currently a rather occupied position in Oakland thanks to Matt Chapman. As such, he’s spent some time playing second base, shortstop and left field this season in an effort to build his versatility and carve out a path to a role on the big league roster. A two-way star in college at Oklahoma, there’s been some previous speculation about utilizing Neuse as a two-way player, but he’s yet to throw a pitch in a game setting since being drafted. As things currently stand, a utility role looks like the best path to playing time for him in the Oakland organization.
As a 2016 draftee who was selected out of college, Neuse would’ve required protection from the Rule 5 Draft this winter anyhow. That would’ve made him a candidate for a September call-up when rosters expand on Sunday, but he’ll get his first crack at the big leagues a few days earlier.