Let’s take a quick snap shot of some of the infielders that are on the early camp roster. Sheldon Neuse is a third baseman who has made his way up the Nats prospect list last season. The 22-year-old was a second round selection in 2016 and hit .230 in 36 games at short-season Single-A Auburn.
“Neuse is at third base,” said Nationals director of player development Mark Scialabba. “He’s swinging that the bat really well right now. He’s moving well at third. We are really impressed with the results of his off-season work.”
We mentioned shortstop Carter Kieboom, 19, early in our previews and Scialabba said the youngster continues to show big time potential. He was the Nationals’ top selection in 2016. Carter played 36 games for the Gulf Coast Nationals, hitting eight doubles, four triples, four homers and 25 RBIs, for a .244 average.
“Carter came back and he is in terrific shape as well,” Scialabba said. “He is really doing a nice job at shortstop for us.”
Another infielder is third baseman Kelvin Gutierrez. The 22-year-old has a power-hitting frame to fill out in at 6-foot-3 and 185 lbs. Gutierrez had 19 doubles, six triples, three homers and 48 RBIs for low Single-A Hagerstown.
“He was in Hagerstown last year and then finished in Potomac,” Scialabba said. “I think that is where he picks up where he left off. He continues to work on his approach offensively. He’s got good bat to ball instincts. He keeps his hands inside the baseball very well. Bat stays in the zone for a long time. Tremendous makeup. Can really pick it, has a plus arm. He is an exciting young player with a high upside.”
Shortstop Osvaldo Abreu had a good run for Glendale in the Arizona Fall League. He played a full season for high Single-A Potomac, hitting .247 in 126 games, with 23 doubles, six triples, four homers and 52 RBIs. He also has 96 stolen bases in five seasons with the Nats.
“He is doing great,” Scialabba noted. “He finished up in the Fall league really well. He had an exciting year. A leader out there at shortstop and showed he that he can man the position well. He’s someone that needs to work on a consistent approach using all fields offensively. His approach is evolving. We like the tools. He has the bat speed and the body strength to be a solid (batting) average hitter down the road. We like the upside there. He certainly play short and have the arm strength and the agility and hands to play at that position.”