The Arizona Fall League held its Fall Stars Game on Saturday, featuring the top prospects and performers from around the six-team circuit. The Oakland A’s lone rep was infielder Sheldon Neuse, who has not stopped hitting since being acquired in July.
Neuse didn’t start the game, but he did help finish it. He entered as a defensive sub in the 6th, playing 3B, and in the bottom of the frame he struck out in his first at-bat. But he came up again in the 8th, and this time he left his mark.
Neuse’s East team trailed the West by a 2-1 score entering the frame, but Nats uber-prospect (and game MVP) Victor Robles singled in the tying run. The next batter walked (Corey Ray, who was drafted one spot ahead of A.J. Puk), bringing up Neuse with two on and one out. He “waited back nicely on a slider from Tyler Jay and laced it back up the middle,” per MLB’s recap, plating Robles for the go-ahead run — and ultimately the game-winner. The East added one more for a final score of 4-2. Click here for full box score.
It was just the latest in a long string of highlights by Neuse. To find the last impressive moment before this weekend, you need only go back to Thursday, when he launched a walk-off homer in the 10th. It was his second straight game with a dinger, and his total of four long balls ranks behind only two other AFL players (who each have five). His 18 RBI are also second (behind Billy McKinney’s 19).
Sheldon Neuse didn't need the placement runner. @Athletics No. 14 prospect launches game-winning 2-run in B10: https://t.co/xUoRmxEkHM pic.twitter.com/RRldlfPD1t— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) November 2, 2017
Meanwhile, outfielder Jaycob Brugman has gotten into a couple games since replacing the injured Tyler Ramirez. Bruggy hasn’t collected a hit yet, but he’s walked four times in nine trips for a .444 OBP (against two strikeouts).
Sheldon Neuse, IF: 62 PAs, .286/.355/.589, 4 HR, 6 BB, 12 Ks, .300 BABIP
Sean Murphy, C: 57 PAs, .286/.386/.347, 6 BB, 5 Ks
Jaycob Brugman, OF: 0-for-5, 4 BB
Unfortunately, starting pitcher Logan Shore was roughed up Thursday for the third time in four outings. This was his worst yet, with four runs scoring on seven hits including a homer (plus a walk). The poor stats are nothing to freak out about, but they’re obviously disappointing — especially the league-leading four dingers allowed.
On the bright side, reliever Nolan Blackwood turned in two dominant innings after Shore’s exit on Thursday (4 Ks on 7 batters), earning the win thanks to Neuse’s walk-off.
Logan Shore: 6.19 ERA, 16 ip, 11 Ks, 2 BB, 4 HR, 24 hits
Nolan Blackwood: 2.45 ERA, 7⅓ ip, 10 Ks, 2 BB, 0 HR, 6 hits
Sam Bragg: 6.00 ERA, 6 ip, 3 Ks, 0 BB, 1 HR, 9 hits
Miguel Romero: 10.80 ERA, 6⅔ ip, 5 Ks, 3 BB, 1 HR, 15 hits
#Athletics Nolan Blackwood's 9th inning. Faced - and struck out - 3 batters. Very little cropping of video. #QuickWork pic.twitter.com/cEXw6UJZMk— Kim (@Cu_As) November 3, 2017
There’s still nothing interesting happening in the int’l winter leagues. Jorge Mateo is up to seven stolen bases without being caught, but the rest of his numbers are subpar.