Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Dodgers' 2012 MLB Draft prospect profile: Richie Shaffer

Richie Shaffer, 3B/1B
Clemson University
Junior

3B/1B Richie Shaffer, Clemson


Vitals
6'3, 205 pounds
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
DOB: March 15, 1991

Rankings
Baseball America: 21
MLB.com: 17
Minor League Ball: 12

Info
Richie Shaffer was drafted by the Dodgers in the 25th round of the 2009 MLB Draft. He fell that far coming out of high school because of signability issues. But that's not to say the Dodgers didn't make a valiant effort to get him signed. Shaffer ultimately chose college over 25th-round money (more like first-round money, but you get the point).

It's rarely smart to draft for need in the MLB Draft, but if Shaffer were available at No. 18, he'd likely be the best player available and would fill a need in the minors.

Scouting Report
From everything I've read and heard, Shaffer has a legitimate bat that could play at either corner infield position. His glove, however, might limit him to first base -- but that remains to be seen.

From MLB Draft Guide:
"Offensively, Shaffer has plus bat speed and good raw power.  He has a solid approach at the plate, showing patience and a willingness to go the other way.  His swing can get a bit long at times.

Defense is where there are questions and a lack of consensus on Shaffer.  After two years playing first base, Shaffer has moved to third for his junior season.  His footwork is still an area that needs work if he is to remain at the position going forward.  He does have more than enough arm strength for third.  For some, Shaffer projects as close to average at third, while others believe he is destined to play first base.  My money is on him working hard enough to play at least a passable third base."

Either way, the Dodgers could use help at either corner in the minors -- especially third base.

There are options with Shaffer if he doesn't pan out at third base. He can either play first base, where his plus arm would be wasted, or a corner outfield spot (probably right field). If a team is taking him in the first round, though, it's probably banking on him sticking at third base.

Conclusion
If the Dodgers end up with Shaffer at No. 18, it'd be a minor miracle. They tried to sign him out of high school, but the money wasn't right. He's a legitimate Top-20 prospect and would immediately shoot up the Dodger prospect rankings.

If Shaffer is there and no one else has fallen who is better than him, he has to be the pick. There is history with Shaffer, as Logan White sees something in him.

Photo credit: Courtesy of Clemson University Sports Information

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