The Washington Nationals selected third baseman Sheldon Neuse out of the University of Oklahoma with the 58th-overall selection in the 2016 First-Year Player Draft. Nationals president of baseball operations and general manager Mike Rizzo and assistant general manager & vice president of scouting operations Kris Kline made the joint announcement.
A 6-foot, 195-pound junior, Neuse hit .369 (73-for-198) with 15 doubles, five triples, 10 home runs, 48 RBIs, 39 walks, 12 stolen bases and 42 runs scored in 55 games for the University of Oklahoma. He led the Big 12 Conference in slugging percentage (.646), tied for the conference lead in triples (five) and ranked among league leaders in total bases (T2nd, 128), on-base percentage (4th, .465), home runs (T4th 10), walks (T4th, 39), batting average (5th, .369), RBIs (7th, 48) and stolen bases (T8th, 12).
For his efforts, Neuse was named first team All-Big 12, a Louisville Slugger second team All-American by Collegiate Baseball and is a semifinalist for the National College Baseball Writers Association Dick Howser Trophy and USA Baseball’s Golden Spikes Award, awarded annually to the top collegiate player and top amateur player, respectively. He is also a semifinalist for the John Olerud Award, awarded to the top two-way player in college baseball and the Brooks Wallace Award, given to the top shortstop in college baseball.
On the mound, Neuse went 4-1 with five saves and a 1.40 ERA (3 ER/19.1 IP) in a career-high 14 appearances out of Oklahoma’s bullpen. His five saves were tied for seventh in the Big 12.
The 2014 Big 12 Freshman of the Year, Neuse was one of the top offensive players in the Big 12 the last three seasons, earning three consecutive unanimous first-team All-Big 12 selections while becoming the 40th player in Oklahoma’s program history to score at least 100 runs and record at least 100 RBIs in his career. He is one of just 10 players in Big 12 history to be selected to the first team All-Big 12 three times and just the second player to be unanimously selected three times.
In three collegiate seasons, Neuse hit .313 with 42 doubles, 15 triples, 23 home runs, 138 RBIs, 90 walks, 29 stolen bases and 11 runs scored in 174 games (all starts). He posted a .525 slugging percentage and a .390 on-base percentage. On the mound, he went 6-2 with seven saves and a 1.60 ERA (7 ER/39.1 IP) and 36 strikeouts in 29 appearances out of the bullpen.
Neuse is a native of Fort Worth, Tex., and attended Keller Fossil Ridge High School where he was District MVP as a junior and a senior and hit 30 home runs during his high school career. He was originally selected by the Texas Rangers in the 38th round of the 2013 First-Year Player Draft.