Obtained just 12 days earlier in a deal involving Major Leaguers, Sheldon Neuse decided it was time to show his new employers just what they can expect from him.
The A's are more than happy to see it, especially Class A Advanced Ports hitting coach Tommy Everidge.
Neuse homered twice and equaled career highs with three hits and five RBIs as Stockton rolled past Modesto, 11-5, on Friday night at John Thurman Field.
The No. 13 A's prospect was obtained from the Nationals along with fifth-ranked Jesus Luzardo in exchange for former Major League All-Stars Ryan Madson and Sean Doolittle on July 16. The first two-homer game of his career pleased Everidge to no end.
Gameday box score
"He's getting more comfortable now that the trade is in the rear-view mirror a bit," the Ports coach said. "You see his bat speed in batting practice, and tonight was a game where he was completely relaxed. It's always tough when you're involved in a trade no matter how long you've been around the game, but tonight he was more comfortable at the plate and it showed in the results."
Neuse opened the scoring with a three-run homer to left field in the opening frame, his first long ball with his new organization. The 22-year-old flied out to lead off the fourth, singled to right and scored in the sixth and grounded out in the seventh. With Stockton holding a 9-4 lead in the ninth, the Fort Worth, Texas native launched his second dinger over the left-field fence for a two-run shot. It marked the second five-RBI game of the season for Neuse, who also amassed five on April 8 with Hagerstown.
"He's got really quick hands and the ball just jumps off his bat," Everidge said. "The first day we had him and watched him in batting practice, we said, 'Whoa, we've got something here.' Anyone with that type of bat speed and who can get on in the inside of the ball like that is a special talent."
The Nationals' second-round pick in last year's Draft, Neuse batted .230/.305/.341 in his professional debut for Class A Short Season Auburn. Promoted to Class A Hagerstown to begin the season, Neuse compiled a .291/.346/.469 slash line along with 31 extra-base hits and 51 RBIs in 77 games. He was assigned to the Ports after the deal and has hit .323 with two homers and eight RBIs in his first eight games in the California League.
"He's a really confident guy who goes about his business like a veteran," the former big leaguer said. "But no matter what age you are, getting traded is a shock. So we just let him adjust to it and let him know that we traded for him for a reason. He doesn't need to show off or prove to us that he's a good player. What we saw tonight is what we expected to see out of him. This is who he is."
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Mikey White doubled among his three hits while Seth Brown and Brett Siddall drove in two runs apiece for Stockton.
Mariners No. 17 prospect Luis Liberato collected two hits, including a two-run triple for the Nuts. Willie Argo finished a homer short of the cycle.