Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 6/5/12
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The Rays selected Clemson third baseman Richie Shaffer with the 25th pick in the draft Monday.

Tampa Bay hopes he'll turns out to be as good as the only other third baseman the organization has chosen in the first round, Evan Longoria.

As a junior this spring, Shaffer, a 6-foot-3, 205-pound left-handed hitter, posted a .336 batting average with 10 home runs and 46 RBI. He walked 63 times and had a .573 percentage and a .480 on-base percentage.

Rays vice president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said Shaffer, 21, was the best available player at that spot. His power, defense and makeup made him an attractive pick. If that sounds familiar, it's because Friedman said the same thing about Longoria when the Rays used the third overall pick in 2006 on the three-time All-Star and two-time Gold Glove-winner.

Rays scouting director R.J. Harrison said Shaffer's power will be evident once he starts playing.

"(It's) power now, not power that we're projecting," Harrison said.

Friedman said Shaffer could rise through the system rather quickly, perhaps following the path of Longoria, who reached the big leagues in 2008 and helped the Rays reach the World Series that year, earning AL Rookie of the Year honors along the way.

Longoria's injury this season proved the organization is woefully short of a backup plan at third base. While Shaffer likely won't surface as a third baseman, he could be moved across the diamond, where he could replace Carlos Pena, or he could be groomed for one of the corner outfield spots.

Center fielder B.J. Upton expected to leave as a free agent after this season, which means left fielder Desmond Jennings could move to center field. That would leave an opening for a left fielder with some pop.

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