In the 2013 draft the Milwaukee Brewers lacked a first round pick, but they got two players with first round quality in the second round. Not only were they able to land pitching prospect Devin Williams with their first selection, but they took Tucker Neuhaus with their second pick. While the young infielder has yet to put up numbers in the minor leagues, Neuhaus has the potential to take over third base in the future.
Neuhaus is still just 19-years-old, but at 6’3” he fits the bill for an elite third baseman. When former scout and now MLB.com columnist Bernie Pleskoff first saw him play, he considered Neuhaus a player who not only has great hands in the field, but also one that has tremendous gap power. Pleskoff also noted that though he is young, he shows maturity on the field that a player much older would show.
So far throughout his professional career, he has had his struggles. In 112 games, all at the Rookie level, Neuhaus has batted just .231 with just three home runs.
One positive note has been his patience. While he has struggled to hit for high average, he has not pressed at the plate. He been able draw his far share of walks and maintain a .303 lifetime on-base percentage. This type of patience could be breath of fresh air on the often free swinging Brewers’ roster.
Before Neuhaus was drafted he faced several challenges. First he lost his 19-year-old brother in a fatal car accident and then as the Brewers were scouting him an errant groundball punctured his eardrum. Through all of these changes he has been able to overcome and I feel that this is the year that he will overcome his challenges on the field as well.
When first drafted he was ranked as the 13-best prospect in the organization by MLB.com, but his two trying seasons have taken him completely off their prospect lists. This year as he is expected to play third base at class A Wisconsin, I fully expect him to reestablish himself as a future star.
Even with his struggles so far as a professional, many around the league see him as a future major leaguer. Well respected minor league baseball writer, Jim Callis sees Neuhaus as a break out candidate and the Brewers remain high on Neuhaus’ talents as well. When talking about his talents, farm director Reid Nichols stated, “He looks like what a big leaguer looks like at this age. He can play shortstop and he’s a solid third baseman. I’m not saying that he’s going to be Chipper Jones, but he reminds me of Chipper Jones with his actions and the way he handles himself. I like his actions at the plate. He realizes he’s at his best when he goes up the middle or the other way.”
With Aramis Ramirez set to retire after the 2015 season, the Brewers will have a gaping hole to fill at third base. While Neuhaus will not be a quick, short term solution, I wouldn’t give up on him as a long term answer for the future. He has all the tools needed to be a potential star in this league and with years of experience behind him he will prove that he should not be overlooked.