Rays Notes: Rays Sign First Round Draft Pick Richie Shaffer

By Robbie Knopf

The deadline for 2012 MLB Draft picks to sign was Friday at 5 PM, and the Rays had one important name to check off their list: first round pick Richie Shaffer, a third baseman out of Clemson. A couple hours before the deadline, Shaffer and the Rays agreed to terms. Shaffer was extremely excited.

Shaffer signed to a deal worth $1,712,500, slightly below the slot value assigned by major league baseball. It was a very exciting moment Shaffer and the Rays, and they’re all just as excited for the future. Shaffer features big-time present power to all fields to go along with great plate discipline. He’s a passionate player with great leadership qualities and the Rays can’t wait for him to work his way up through the minors and into the major leagues for both his abilities and his intangibles. Shaffer will start his professional career with the Short Season-A Hudson Valley Renegades.

The Rays also signed one other pick before the deadline, lefty Chris Kirsch out of Luckawanna Community College. Kirsch throws a fastball that reaches 94 MPH to go along with a curveball with sharp break at its best and a slider and a changeup that are still works in progress. Kirsch has a lot of work to do on his arsenal, including dealing with considerable control issues, but he has nice upside is a great get for the Rays in the 14th round.

With Shaffer and Kirsch now in the fold, the Rays signed 37 of their 40 selections, the highest percentage of picks they have ever signed. They found a nice mix of upside and safe picks and getting just about everyone in the organization despite some tough signs is a testament to the Rays’ front office and their draft plan that went so smoothly. For profiles of every Rays draft pick in 2012 including Shaffer and Kirch, please check our 2012 Rays Draft Profiles page here at RCG.

Now to some major league notes. First off, your Evan Longoria tweets of the day.

It has to be very frustrating for Longoria to be on the DL for so long, and we know that he’s trying to do everything he can to help this team. We just have to hope that he will be back in August as is now the plan.

Desmond Jennings has been struggling for a while and the Rays hope moving him farther down in the lineup will get him going. The Rays need all the offense they can get right now, and we saw in 2011 and early this season how good Jennings can be.

We have completely forgotten about Jeff Niemann after he broke a bone in his leg, but he is finally on his way back. Alex Cobb has a 4.92 ERA in 9 starts but his peripherals have been much better and it will be interesting to see what the Rays do when Niemann returns.