Rays sign first-round draft pick

ST. PETERSBURG, FL—The Tampa Bay Rays have signed third baseman Richie Shaffer, their first round selection from the 2012 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft and the No. 25 pick overall.  He will report to Short-Season A Hudson Valley.

Shaffer, 21, 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 this season, 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.  He 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.

He becomes the 15th first-round draft pick out of Clemson and the first ever taken by the Rays.  He played predominantly first base during his first two years at Clemson (2010-11) before moving to third base for the 2012 season.  He was the first in Tigers history to be named First-Team All-ACC at two different infield positions during his career.  In 2011, he 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.  He was previously drafted in the 25th round (No. 757 overall) by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2009.  The 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.

The Rays have signed 37 of their 40 picks from this year’s First-Year Player Draft including the top 28.