Originally written on Baseball News Source  |  Last updated 11/14/14
The Tampa Bay Rays drafted high school catcher Nick Ciuffo with the 21st pick in the 2013 MLB Draft in hopes infilling a long-standing void  in the organization. Tampa Bay seemingly able to develop pitching at will have not had success at developing a catcher and that’s where Ciuffo comes in.With their second pick in the first round that was compensation for losing B.J. Upton to the Atlanta Braves the Rays selected  starting pitcher Ryne Stanek from the University of Arkansas and later added high school shortstop Riley Unroe with the 60th pick overall.Ciuffo were fortunate to not only fill a need at catcher,  but to fill that need with a premier prospect. Ciuffio hit .468  in his final season at the high school level, has power from the left side and a strong throwing arm.“He looks like a catcher,” scouting director R.J. Harrison said. “I don’t know how to explain it any better than that.”“I really wasn’t expecting much in the earlier part of the round, and I kind of had a feeling Tampa Bay]was where I was going to go,” Ciuffo said.Ciuffo has a scholarship offer from the University of South Carolina, but seems ready to take his game to the professional level an said, “I can promise you there won’t be another catcher coming out of this draft that’s going to work harder than me to get to the big leagues.”Stanek may turn out to  the best value pick of the 2013 draft.  Ranked as high  as number 11 by Baseball America,  Tampa Bay was more than happy to choose him with the number 29 overall pick.The junior finished 10-2 with a 1.39 ERA in 16 starts pitching for the No. 4 Arkansas Razorbacks this year.Before choosing Stanek scouting director R.J. Harrison made one final call to Arkansas pitching coach Dave Jorn.“I said, ‘Any reason we wouldn’t want to take Ryne?’ and he said, ‘Absolutely not, I think his best days are ahead of him,’” Harrison said.  and with that the Rays made their selection.Stanek features four pictches with his fastball and slider being the primary weapons of choice,  and can touch the high 90s. Initially disappointed, Stanek was grateful for the opportunity.I would have liked to have gone a little earlier, but I’m not too disappointed, because I got taken in the first round,” Stanek said. “And Tampa’s a great place and a good place for right-handed pitchers and pitchers in general to go and develop. It’s really a good fit for me.”
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