Wednesday, November 14, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Tampa Bay Rays pick Clemson third baseman Richie Shaffer in first round

ST. PETERSBURG — Richie Shaffer said he has idolized Rays star third baseman Evan Longoria, modeling his game after him.

"How can you get any better as a third baseman?" Shaffer said. "He's an absolute stud and someone that's going to be a staple in that organization for a long time."

And the Rays hope Shaffer, Clemson's slugging junior third baseman, will also be a big part of their future, selecting him in the first round Monday, No. 25 overall. He joins Longoria as the only third basemen Tampa Bay has drafted in the first round.

Shaffer, 21, arguably the top college hitter in the draft, also played first base and rightfield. The Rays say he'll start at third, and it's his bat that would bring him to the big leagues, with executive vice president Andrew Friedman saying he has a chance to move through the system "relatively quickly."

"He brings real power and power now — not power that we're projecting," scouting director R.J. Harrison said. "He seems like the kind of kid that fits right in with what we're doing."

Shaffer, a right-handed hitter who batted .336 with 13 homers and 46 RBIs as a junior, was at home in Charlotte, N.C., with about 40 friends and family when commissioner Bud Selig called his name.

"It was pretty incredible," Shaffer said. "I honestly actually didn't even hear it. I kind of spaced out, just heard everyone screaming, kind of didn't know what was going on. I realized, looked up and my name was on TV. It was pretty wild, everyone was going crazy at my house. It was a pretty special moment, probably something I'll never forget."

Harrison said the Rays have liked Shaffer since his days at Providence (N.C.) High, and the 6-foot-3, 205-pounder "matured into the kind of player we thought he was going to be."

Shaffer was considered a top-two round pick in 2009, but a broken hamate bone dropped him to the 25th, and he chose not to sign with the Dodgers. He believes he's much more prepared for pro baseball now.

"I feel like I am much more mature, much more physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually ready for this type of environment and this situation," Shaffer said. "And that's something that I don't know if I can honestly say, coming out of high school I was ready for."

Shaffer said he hasn't thought about the logistics of signing yet; the deadline is July 13 at 5 p.m. But Harrison appeared encouraged, saying Shaffer was "tickled to death," and "I expect him to be out playing sooner than later."

Shaffer played first base his first two years at Clemson then switched to third and says he feels comfortable there. Harrison said Shaffer is a patient hitter, tying for first in the ACC in walks and third in on-base percentage.

"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.

With just one pick Monday, Friedman said they explored going in several different directions but felt Shaffer — rated the 21st overall prospect by Baseball America — was the best value. With Jesuit right-hander Lance McCullers Jr. still available when the Rays picked, Harrison was asked if they considered him.

Harrison smiled, "We liked Richie Shaffer."

Comments
10 things about Rays Blake Snellís Cy Young winning season

10 things about Rays Blake Snellís Cy Young winning season

LHP Blake Snell accomplished a lot in his remarkable 2018 breakout season. And wining the American League Cy Young award on Wednesday added to that list:* He became the second Ray win the most prestigious pitching award, joining David Price, who did ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
That Kate Upton tweet youíve been waiting for on Blake Snell winning AL Cy Young award

That Kate Upton tweet youíve been waiting for on Blake Snell winning AL Cy Young award

Model/actress Kate Upton had plenty to say in 2016 when then fiance Justin Verlander missed out on winning the AL Cy Young award due in part to the votes of the two Tampa Bay writers, posting an extraordinarily profane, and extremely memorable, tweet...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Raysí Blake Snell wins AL Cy Young award

Raysí Blake Snell wins AL Cy Young award

ST. PETERSBURG – Blake Snell first started thinking about it at the end of last season, then more as spring training drew near. He shared first with teammate Chris Archer on the phone, then later with Rays pitching coach Kyle Snyder over a Janu...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Rays coaching update: Linares may be in, Sandberg in talks

Rays coaching update: Linares may be in, Sandberg in talks

The Rays are closing in on hiring a third-base coach, with longtime Astros minor-league coach/manager Rodney Linares the leading candidate.Discussions remaining ongoing to fill the other opening on the staff for a major-league field coordinator, with...
Updated: 9 hours ago
What it means if Blake Snell wins Cy Young award

What it means if Blake Snell wins Cy Young award

If Rays LHP Blake Snell wins the Cy Young* He will be the second Ray to do so, matching David Price in 2012, and also join Price as second from an AL East team in the last 15 years.* He will be the youngest, at 25, since Clayton Kershaw (25) in 2013 ...
Updated: 10 hours ago
The interesting past of Justin Verlander, Cy Young and Tampa Bay

The interesting past of Justin Verlander, Cy Young and Tampa Bay

Rays LHP Blake Snell and Astros RHP Justin Verlander are the top candidates for the AL Cy Young award that will be announced Wednesday night.The last intersection between Verlander and Tampa Bay, in 2016, got a little, well, racy.Verlander, then with...
Published: 11/14/18
What experts are saying about Blake Snellís Cy Young chances

What experts are saying about Blake Snellís Cy Young chances

What experts are saying about Blake Snell's Cy Young chances:Jayson Stark, The Athletic, who picked Snell before his last start:This isn't your grandfather's Cy Young debate. Let's explain why.Cy Young debate in 1966: Who won the most games?Cy Young ...
Published: 11/14/18
10 things about Blake Snellís Cy Young worthy season

10 things about Blake Snellís Cy Young worthy season

10 things about Blake Snell's Cy Young worthy season:* His 1.89 ERA in third best among AL pitchers in the DH era (since 1973), trailing unanimous Cy Young award winners Ron Guidry, 1.74 for ' 78 Yankees, and Pedro Martinez, 1.74 for '00 Red Sox.* Hi...
Published: 11/14/18
Why Blake Snell should win the AL Cy Young award

Why Blake Snell should win the AL Cy Young award

ST. PETERSBURG — Blake Snell deserves to win the American League Cy Young award.Really, it's as simple as that.Look at what Snell did this season for the Rays, leading the AL with a 1.89 ERA, 21 wins (vs. five losses), .178 opponents average an...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Time running out for officials to reach stadium deal with Rays

Time running out for officials to reach stadium deal with Rays

With elections in the rearview mirror, focus shifts to efforts to move the Tampa Bay Rays to Ybor City.
Published: 11/13/18
Updated: 11/14/18