BLUF: One of the draft’s best power bats, only question is whether he can stick at third.
The Player: Richie Shaffer (3B, Clemson University) – Selected in the 25th round of the 2009 draft by the Los Angeles Dodgers. Hit .323/.409/.525 as a freshman with the old aluminum bats. Actually improved his power production with the new BBCOR bats in 2011, posting a .577 slugging (15 doubles, 2 triples, 13 home runs). Has a .347/.481/.599 line this year through 45 games, while switching to third base most of the time. Pre-season All-American in 2012. Hit .263 with 18 extra-base hits in 36 games on the Cape in 2011. Won the 2011 Cape Cod League home run derby at Fenway Park.
Basis of Report: Personal Observation (Spring 2010, Spring 2011, Cape Cod League 2011, Spring 2012), Industry Contacts
Body (6-3, 205): Big, physical guy with longs arms and legs. Muscular but has good flexibility and not too bulked up. Solid athlete. Can get mechanical in movements at times, but will also flash some fluidity and solid reactions. Very impressive body with pro physicality right now.
Hit: Outstanding raw bat speed. Gets to the zone quietly and consistently, hands work well most of the time. Because of long levers, swing gets a little long. Can get beat inside with hard stuff and is occasionally susceptible to good breaking balls away. Advanced approach at the plate with a clue and a willingness to work counts and find pitches he can drive. Willing to attack early in the count if he’s attacked. Shows ability to work ball the other way without sacrificing strength/power. Question how much average he will show, but should be a solid-average hitter with good on-base skills, possibly .275 average at his peak. Grade – 40/50
Power: One of the most impressive BPs I’ve seen the last couple of years. Big time raw. Can drive it to any part of the park. Really impressive pull power when he gets his arms extended in the swing. Has good elevation on the back half of swing, but comes up short of an uppercut stroke. Plus-plus raw that may not completely play given hitting projection. Needs to trust hands and strength when going the other way. Has strength in swing to have oppo power, but has to let it come. Should learn with time. Potential 25+ home run guy, maybe more if he hits better than expected. Grade (raw power) – 60/60
Arm: Plus arm strength. Gets a little slow on the release at times and will drop his arm angle, allowing throws to sail to the arm side. Has the arm for third base. Footwork needs consistency to improve accuracy. Grade – 60/60
Fielding: Better suited for first base but flashes some ability for third. Has decent reactions and good length, giving him solid reach to both sides. Struggles charging balls and often gets the ball on the wrong hop. Footwork gets sloppy and leaves him out of position to make routine plays. Needs a lot of work to be a fringe-average MLB defender at third base. Shows better footwork at first base and while his arm is wasted, he generally fits better there. Grade – 30/40 (third base)
Speed: Below-average runner, but runs surprisingly well for his size. Can get up to speed quickly and his hustle helps his poor speed play up a tick. Knows what he’s doing on the bases and isn’t a base clogger. Could slow down if he thickens up more in the coming years, but as it stands, he should maintain his below-average speed. Grade – 40/40
Summation: One of the better power prospects in the draft. Really impressive middle-of-the-order power potential. Needs to stay at third base to maintain significant prospect value. Becomes more of “just a guy” if a first baseman. Doesn’t have the elite hitting and power ability to project as an everyday first baseman at the big league level. Could be an All-Star at third base on the back of his bat alone. Defense will need some work and that will decide how quickly he develops. Advanced approach at the plate should ease transition to pro ball and allow power to play quickly. Hard worker with enough raw skill to be an impact player long term. If you believe the third base defense will come, then he’s a potential difference maker.
Relative Risk: Moderate. Hitting approach and enough contact ability for carrying power tool to play. Defensive questions leave some risk, but not a ton.
Draft Projection: Power bat makes him stand out in this draft class. Could go in the top ten picks to a team thirsty for power, but most scouts believe he fits more comfortably in the 11-15 range.