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Rays pick Clemson 3B Richie Shaffer in first round (No. 25 overall)

Update 10:22 p.m. Rays executive VP Andrew Friedman said 3B Richie Shaffer was the "best value" at their pick, raving about his power, makeup and defensive versatility.

Scouting director R.J. Harrison said Shaffer brings real power - "and power now, not power that we're projecting." They've liked him since high school, and saw him develop into the player they thought he could be.

As far as signability, it doesn't sound like it'd be a stretch, as Harrison said Shaffer was "tickled to death." Friedman said while Shaffer has played first base and outfield, they're going to start with him at third base, and he could move through the system "relatively quickly."

Developing: Tampa Bay Rays selected Clemson third baseman Richie Shaffer with their first round pick tonight, No. 25 overall.

Shaffer, a right-handed hitter, had 13 homers and 55 RBI this season for the Tigers, considered one of the better power hitters in college baseball, according to MLB Network analyst Harold Reynolds.

He was one of the best defensive first basemen in Clemson history before making the switch to third base.

"He's one of the best hitters I've seen in college baseball in a long time," South Carolina coach Ray Tanner told the Charleston Post & Courier.

According to Baseball America, Shaffer was a candidate for the top two rounds in 2009 out of high school, but broken hamate bone dropped him to the 25th round and he chose not to sign with the Dodgers. In BA's scouting report, they say he has "big time power that hasn't been affected by college baseball's less potent bats...hits for average, succeeding even against premium velocity and can use the whole field...chance to stay at third and has the arm strength for the position, but most teams see him moving to first base...his arm and power would also profile in right field, and some teams like him better there.' 

Scouting director R.J. Harrison had said going in they planned on taking the best-player available, pointing out that there were a lot of good high school pitchers and position players in the draft.

It was up in the air who Tampa Bay would pick, with mock drafts differing between Nevada high school third baseman Joey Gallo and prep pitcher Ty Hensley.

Jesuit star pitcher Lance McCullers Jr., one of the draft's top high school pitchers, fell to them too, and while the Rays liked him, they didn't go in that direction.

Teams have until July 13 at 5 p.m. to sign their picks.

[Last modified: Wednesday, July 4, 2012 12:39am]

    

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