MLB.com Columnist

Bill Ladson

Nats select Neuse as power-hitting infielder

Oklahoma product also posted impressive stats on mound

Nats select Neuse as power-hitting infielder

WASHINGTON -- While attending the University of Oklahoma, Sheldon Neuse was a two-way player. He could pitch with success and was a power-hitting infielder. But the Nationals see things differently after they selected him as the 58th overall pick in the 2016 MLB Draft on Thursday.

"He has a good bat, power, catches the baseball. He hardly made any errors the last two years," said Nats cross checker Jimmy Gonzales. "He has a really good throwing arm. Super ballplayer, great kid. I really love the makeup on him."

28th overall: Carter Kieboom

The Draft continues on Friday with Rounds 3-10. The MLB.com preview show begins at 12:30 p.m. ET, with exclusive coverage of Rounds 3-10 beginning at 1 p.m. ET.

29th overall: Dane Dunning

Looking at the stats, one could understand, why the Nationals were impressed with Neuse as a hitter. In his last year at Oklahoma, Neuse hit .369 (73-for-198) with 10 home runs, 48 RBIs,12 stolen bases and 42 runs scored in 55 games. He led the Big 12 Conference in slugging percentage (.646).

By having a great year, Neuse was named first-team All-Big 12, a Louisville Slugger second team All-American by Collegiate Baseball, and he 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. Neuse 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 was solid. He went 4-1 with five saves and a 1.40 ERA (three earned runs in 19 1/3 innings) in a career-high 14 appearances out of the 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 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 three times and just the second player to be unanimously selected three times.

Bill Ladson has covered the Nationals/Expos for MLB.com since 2002 and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.