Monday, June 4, 2012

Rays 1st Round Pick - 25th Overall - Richie Shaffer

BaseballAmerica says:
Shaffer was a candidate for the first two rounds of the 2009 coming out of high school in Charlotte, and he dazzled scouts with his batting practice sessions because of his leveraged swing and plus raw power. But a broken hamate bone dropped him to the 25th round, and he declined to sign with the Dodgers and headed to Clemson. Three years later he was leading Clemson's offense with a .351/.481/.600 line and nine home runs, and more walks (47) than strikeouts (39), so his bat should get him into the first round. From a lean, 6-foot-3, 210-pound frame, Shaffer has big-time power that hasn't been affected by college baseball's less-potent bats. He also hits for average, succeeding even against premium velocity, and can use the whole field. He has a 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.
Rated #21 overall.

2/17/12: As a power-hitting corner infielder from Clemson, Shaffer is acknowledged as one of the top prospects in this year’s college draft class, and he’s been down this path before. Shaffer, a former PG/Aflac All-American, held essentially the same lofty draft position three years ago, heading into his senior year at a Charlotte, N.C., high school, only to tumble all the way to the 25th round when a series of hand- and hamstring-related injuries adversely impacted his season. That series of events conveniently paved the way for the 6-foot-3, 205-pound Shaffer to attend college at Clemson, and while he has enjoyed two productive seasons to date, he will face a new set of challenges as a junior as he seeks to land in the first round in June. Shaffer topped Clemson in every key power category as a sophomore—homers (13), RBIs (55), total bases (128) and slugging (.577), while also hitting .315 and drawing a team-high 44 walks—and did so with plenty of support in the middle of the Tigers batting order. With the departure of four of the team’s top hitters from a year ago, Shaffer is the only established returning bat and could be afforded much less protection this spring. He could conceivably end up being pitched around extensively. He has also been moved across the diamond to third base, after establishing himself as a superior first baseman defensively in his first two years, when he committed just three errors at the position.

 The hot corner is hardly new to Shaffer, however, as he played that position extensively in high school and filled in there briefly a year ago as an injury replacement. According to scouts who saw him in the fall and pre-season, he has made a smooth transition to third, displaying easy, fluid, balanced actions as he moved to the ball, along with good range and surprising ability to reach balls going to his left with his unusually long reach. It’s unclear yet whether he’ll have the footwork needed to play the position on an everyday basis at the next level. He lacks the foot speed needed to play in the middle infield. The obvious advantage that Shaffer has in moving from first to third is an opportunity to take full advantage of his superior arm strength, which was essentially wasted at first base. He was a significant pitching prospect while in high school, with a 90-plus fastball, but has not taken a turn on the mound in two years at Clemson. Not only has Shaffer impressed scouts with his velocity across the diamond, but he has greatly improved his ability to throw from different angles. The one tool that sets Shaffer aside as a prospect, though, is his raw power potential. He has homered 20 times in his two seasons at Clemson, while hitting .318 overall, and his power ranked among the very best in the Cape Cod League last summer, when he hit .263-6-22 and was second in homers. Shaffer’s power is most evident in batting practice, where he can drive balls out of the park with an easy pull/lift approach. He hits from a tall, relaxed, pro-style stance with high hands and an easy flow into the ball. Appropriately, he won the Cape League Home Run Derby against a strong field with six blasts over Fenway Park’s Green Monster. He has impressive bat speed in his athletic frame and his ceiling as a power hitter may end up becoming as great as any slugger in the 2012 college draft class, once he fully matures physically. 

Shaffer’s basic hitting tools are also considered some of the most polished and advanced in the college ranks. His swing tended to get a little long as a sophomore, and he would often struggle with breaking balls and spin off pitches, resulting in 53 strikeouts in 65 games. But his athleticism and exceptional hands have normally enabled him to make easy adjustments at the plate, and he has made significant strides since in tightening his swing. Everything appeared to click for him at the plate in the second half of the Cape season, and he will only enhance his chances of being drafted in the first round in June with continued improvement at the plate this spring—providing he can avoid some of the pitfalls that derailed his 2009 season in his last go-around in the draft.

*** SIGNED JULY 13TH. ***


  1. From Clemson site:

    Shaffer, a two-time First-Team All-ACC selection, batted .336 with 10 homers, 21 doubles, two triples, 46 RBIs, 49 runs, 63 walks, a .480 on-base percentage, and eight steals in starting all 63 games in 2012. He either led Clemson or tied for the team lead in batting average, runs, hits, doubles, homers, slugging percentage (.573), walks, and on-base percentage. In his three-year career, Shaffer is hitting .325 with 30 home runs, 47 doubles, four triples, 137 RBIs, 156 runs, 125 walks, a .448 on-base percentage, and 18 stolen bases in 174 games (170 starts).

    Shaffer played predominantly at first base during his first two years (2010,11) at Clemson before moving over to third base for the 2012 season. In 2012, Shaffer committed only 11 errors and had a .938 fielding percentage. He became the first Tiger in history to be named First-Team All-ACC at two different infield positions over the course of a career.

  2. Richie Shaffer hit for good power in the Cape Cod League (wood bats). Only a .263 BA, but hitting for power w/ wood is important.

  3. Here is a link to his Cape stats:

  4. I've read that his hitting style is a cross between David Freese and Paul Konerko. Will probably end up either at 1B or a corner OF spot.ESPN had him #11 and #16.

  5. "Shaffer has big-time power that hasn't been affected by college baseball's less-potent bats."

    How are college bats less potent? I thought they use aluminum at Clemson?

    1. Before the 2011 season the NCAA adopted BBCOR standards which basically made aluminum bats perform like wooden bats. It was a big deal in last year's draft because power numbers were down and the thought was it made pitchers look too good compared to prior drafts. It made teams adjust hitters numbers up to compare them to hitters from prior years. Haven't heard about it as much for this year's draft since there have been two seasons with the new bats now.

      Here is a video from ESPN explaining BBCOR if you're interested:

  6. Here is the Rays PR from tonight, I'll have to split it up, part 1:


    With Rays Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman and Scouting Director R.J. Harrison

    On where Shaffer projects defensively:
    RJH: “We’ve seen him at all different positions. He’s been one of those guys who has moved around. He’s played first base quite a bit, he played third base this year; most of the last two years, he’s been a first baseman, and we’ve seen him a little bit in the outfield [in the Cape Cod League]. For us right now, he’s a third baseman.”

    On drafting the best available player:
    RJH: “That’s what we always intend to do. There is a process, and you get ready for all options, because we don’t know what the 24 [teams] ahead of us are going to do. We just want to have the guy that we think is the best guy available and ready to go when our turn comes up, and we were ready.”

    On Shaffer being closer to the Major Leagues as a college prospect:
    RJH: “We just look at him as a good prospect. The process will take care of that. That’s going to be up to Richie [Shaffer] and how he goes out and how the journey goes for him.”

    On Shaffer being selected in the 25th Round by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2009:
    RJH: “We feel fortunate to get a good player. Any time you get a guy that the group is excited about, you feel fortunate. Circumstances are what they are, and he went to school. It worked out well for him.”

    On being a complete hitter:
    RJH: “He brings that. He’s a patient hitter. He’s a real good fastball hitter. [Marcus Stroman] at Duke, who was a good pick in this draft, that was a good match. In fact, I think it’s on YouTube, the good swings that Richie had against Stroman. We’ve seen him against good competition for a long time. We’ve always liked his bat and his power. He’s continued to develop, and we’ve got a good guy.”

    On the other players the Rays could have picked at No. 25:
    RJH: “You always hope that you have options, so that you have to make a decision. We were in a good position when we got to No. 25. It was a really good week and we were well prepared for this situation. There are always [first round] surprises, but that’s just surprises based on what our board looks like. You don’t want other guys picking your pocket. That’s what makes it so much fun is the challenge.”

    On the differences between this year’s draft and last year’s draft:
    AF: “We talked about it before the draft last year. It wasn’t necessarily going to be different in terms of setting up our board and going through the process. What’s different is now we’re able to come in here and talk to [the media], and then go back and regroup and really focus on our board as opposed to the rapid picking that we were doing there for a little while. Last year was certainly more fun in that respect, but we’re happy with the guy we got this year.”

  7. Part 2:


    With Rays Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman and Scouting Director R.J. Harrison

    On Richie Shaffer:
    AF: “It’s one of those things, and R.J. alluded to it, as long as you have a good process, we feel good with the outcome. We lined up our board to make sure we were definitely going to get one of our top 25 guys, and we were really happy to get Richie. You try to not go into the draft with any pre-conceived thoughts, definitely not drafting for need – but also trying to stay open-minded and staying nimble. I think we were able to do that. We were looking at guys with very different profiles. Richie is a guy that adds a significant power bat to our system, which is always something that’s good. We’ve got some athletes, we’ve got some corner bats, but to add someone of this ilk with that power is certainly something that is going to add to the group that we have. Tremendous power, really good decision making in the box, and is a pretty good athlete. You look at a guy with that kind of power and think that he’s a well below average athlete, but he’s not. We’re excited to get him, I feel like if we get him out playing he’s one of those guys that has a chance to get here relatively quickly. We never move guys too quickly, but on a relative scale, pretty quickly.”

    On taking a college player with the first round selection:
    AF: “There are certainly tradeoffs. I think, developmentally, when a guy is 18 years old, you can project a little bit more in certain things. In theory, there is more upside, but with 21 and 22 years old, there is also upside and there’s a little bit more certainty. Again, it just gets back to the overall packages. We looked at a lot of different high school guys. We’ve talked about a lot of different high school pitchers, high school position players, college pitchers and college position players. Obviously, the outtake on different risk factors, but I think the biggest thing is having a good enough process where you can compare all of those different distinct groups and put them in order that reflects what our group thinks of him. As it shook out, Richie was our guy and we’re really happy to have him.”

    On the new draft rules affecting selections:
    AF: “It doesn’t, really. I’m sure in two or three years there’s going to be some trends that going to pop up that hopefully we stayed in front of. At No. 25, we’re taking the best player available and someone who we think provides the most value. I would imagine and expect that will be our mindset going forward. It just really gets to our area scouts and the relationships that they have with guys to ensure that they want to go out and play. That’s a big factor, and our guys do a really good job of it.”

    On Shaffer being the first third baseman or first baseman off the board:
    AF: “Again, it’s one of those things that we felt like at the end of the day he was the best value. The fact that he has significant power, it’s always a good thing to add someone like that to your system, but we certainly didn’t come into the day thinking that we need to add no matter what.”

    On his defensive versatility:
    AF: “His hands work well. It’s one of those things that is new for him. We also value flexibility, to the extent that he can move around and play first and third and corner outfield is only going to make him that much more valuable. For now, we’re anxious to get him signed, get him out there playing, and at the end of the day his bat is going to be the reason he’s called up to the big leagues and not necessarily his defense, but having that flexibility will only help.”

  8. Quotes from Shaffer, part 1:


    With Rays First Round Selection Richie Shaffer

    On hearing his name being called by Bud Selig:
    RS: “It was pretty incredible. I honestly, actually, didn’t even hear it. I kind of spaced out and then heard everyone screaming and I didn’t really know what was going on. I looked up and I saw my name on TV—I didn’t even hear [Bud Selig] say it. It was pretty wild and everyone was going crazy at my house. It was a very special moment and it’s something I will remember for a long time.”

    On if he wants to sign quickly:
    RS: “Right now I’m just really excited about this opportunity and this moment. I haven’t even started to begin to think about the logistics of everything—it’s something I’m going to have to sit down and think about. I’m excited for this opportunity and I’m excited to start playing. It’s something that with all the excitement and emotion going on right now that I honestly haven’t really thought about.”

    On what position he favors playing:
    RS: “That has all to do with what the [Tampa Bay Rays] feel I have the best chance of progressing through the organization with. If I had to choose, I’d pick third base, but obviously you have an All-Star caliber third baseman there and he’s an absolute stud and someone that is going to be a staple in that organization for a long time. I’m just excited to be part of the organization and wherever they feel is the best for me, I’m happy with.”

    On his time at Clemson:
    RS: “It is a tremendous, tremendous difference between when I was an 18-year-old kid coming out of high school as opposed to where I am right now. I feel like I am much more mature and much more physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually ready for this type of environment and this type of situation. That’s something that I can honestly say that I’m not sure that I was ready for right out of high school. I think going to college and playing at a top-tier conference for three years like I did is something that you deal with a lot of adversity and a lot of stuff that maybe you don’t deal with in high school as much, but it’s a bit more of a controlled environment so it’s a little easier to adapt and a little bit easier to handle those situations. I think it really helps someone progress as a player and a person and that is a key example of why I think I’ve grown so much as a player.”

    On his power:
    RS: “It’s a combination of a lot of things. It’s a combination of God-given ability and a lot of hard work. It’s something that I’ve worked on and I saw as an asset as a young kid and I worked and worked and worked at it to try to be the best player I can and it happened to be the tool that started to really stand out for me. It’s a big part of my game and it’s a big thing that I work hard at and I think it’s something that’s been with me my whole life. It’s not something that just kind of appeared.”

  9. Part 2:


    With Rays First Round Selection Richie Shaffer

    On the transition to third base:
    RS: “It wasn’t too bad, because I always played on the left side of the infield in high school. I was a shortstop and a third baseman out of high school so I was familiar with the position. All I really had to do was knock off a little rust and I felt really good. I made a couple errors early in the season, but I felt the more games I played, the better I felt and the more comfortable I felt over there. If that’s where they plan on working me, I plan on working as hard as I possibly can every single day to try and improve and try to help the organization out as much as I can.”

    On if he had any previous contact with the Rays:
    RS: “I had a little bit of contact with them, about as much as I did with any other team. You hear rumors here and there and you’re never sure what to expect. I really didn’t know too much going into the draft about what to expect so all I can say is that I’m extremely honored and extremely excited to be part of the Rays organization. They are one of the most fun and most exciting teams to watch in the MLB. I’m very excited to be in the organization and start learning right away and start growing and start fitting the mold of a Rays player.”

    On what player he modeled his game after:
    RS: “Throughout my days playing in high school and college, I loved watching Evan Longoria. How can you be any better as a third baseman? He hits, he has Gold Glove caliber defense and is the type of player you love to model your game after. I looked up to him and I love players like Ryan Zimmerman and Chipper Jones. Big time third basemen who can pick it at third and swing the bat well. Those are the guys I idolized growing up, for sure.”

    On how he is going to prepare heading to the minors:
    RS: “I haven’t really thought that far ahead yet. I’m going to take a short, quick rest between the college season and whenever I ship off. I’m probably going to hang out with a couple of my best friends from my college team, maybe have a couple last hoo-rahs and kind of just close the book there. Whenever it is necessary for me to leave, I will leave and see what happens from there. I’m going to continue working like the season never ended. I’m just excited to see what is going to happen next.”

  10. 1B/OFer with pop and a good arm.May be able to fill in some at 3rd,but NOT a MLB caliber starting 3rd baseman.

  11. 1 (25) SHAFFER, Richie – 3B
    School: Providence (N.C.) High School
    Born: 3/15/1991
    B/T: R/R
    HT/WT: 6-3/220
     Was ranked by Baseball America as the No. 21 overall prospect in the draft, No. 2 third baseman, No. 1 out of the state of South Carolina and No. 13 among college juniors.
     As a junior at Clemson University, he finished with a .336 batting average (78-for-232), 10 home runs, 46 RBI, 63 walks, a .573 slugging percentage and a .480 on-base percentage.
     Ranked 11th in the ACC in batting average, fifth in slugging percentage, tied for first in walks, third in on-base percentage and tied for seventh in home runs.
     Joins Evan Longoria as the only third basemen drafted in the first round by the Rays.
     Becomes the 15th first-round draft pick out of Clemson and the first ever taken by the Rays.
     Played predominantly first base during his first two years at Clemson (2010-11) before moving to third base for the 2012 season and was the first in Tigers history to be named First-Team All-ACC at two different infield positions during his career.
     In 2011, was named Second Team All-Atlantic Region by the American Baseball Coaches Association and a First Team All-ACC selection.
     The Flemington, N.J., native becomes the eighth New Jersey-born player drafted by the Rays.
     Was previously drafted in the 25th round (No. 757 overall) by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2009.
     Three-time All-State selection at Providence Senior High School (N.C.) was named an AFLAC All-American as a junior in 2008 and played for the USA National team in 2007.
     Was the co-captain of the Tigers this season.
     Majors in Marketing at Clemson and is a two-time All-ACC Academic selection (2010-11).

  12. Here is Matt Garrioch's ( take on Shaffer:

    "Shaffer is 6'3", 205 LBS and currently playing 3B for the Clemson Tigers. He looks like a power hitter at the plate. The arm plays well at the hot corner but his reactions there are a little slow. He makes the plays that he gets to but he will not be anything better than average unless he puts in a ton of work. He isn't bad and he's light enough feet that it is possible. I believe he is the kind of guy who will do the work. I'm not saying he will be relegated to 1B but it could happen but he would be given a shot in RF would happen before that.

    At the plate, the bat speed is obvious. He has major league bat speed, takes good AB's and works counts. He hits the ball the other way and ropes line drives and could turn into a middle of the order bat, potentially. It's more likely that he ends up as a .270 guy with 18-20 HR's with a good share of doubles.

    I expect Shaffer to go earlier than many have thought due to the lack of college bats available. A solid average 3B is a very good player. I wouldn't be stunned to see him going in the 8-15 range but I think 12-
    20 is more likely."

    Also, pre-draft rankings had Shaffer from 8 (Garrioch) to 21 (BA), with Jonathan Mayo (16) and PerfectGame (15) in the middle. I don't know where Keith Law had him, though. Does anyone else know where Law had him ranked?