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Richie Shaffer Named 8th Best 3B Prospect

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MLB.com's Pipeline ranked the Rays slugging infielder eighth on their prospect third baseman chart

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Richie Shaffer, he of the excellent first career home run celebration, is still an exciting prospect for the Rays and a strong 2015 campaign in which he rose two levels from Double-A to the majors has him among the league's best at his position. Eighth best in fact, according to MLB Pipeline.

The Rays have already been well represented in the Pipeline's top ten rankings at each position thus far with Jake Bauers and Casey Gillaspie being ranked seventh and ninth respectively for first baseman and Blake Snell was ranked second among left-handed pitchers.

Shaffer started the year in Double-A Montgomery but was able to continue his mashing ways from the previous season and was promoted to Triple-A Durham within two months. Upton arriving the Bull's line-up, Shaffer immediately made his presence known as he clubbed three home runs in game during his first two weeks with the team. He would combine with J.P. Arencibia to tear apart the International League.

In August, he would finally be promoted to the majors, however he was begrudgingly used by the club and found himself up-and-down with the team. That didn't stop him from making an impact though as he hit his first career home run during a rout against the White Sox. Upon returning to the dugout, he was met by his teammates huddling together to ignore his achievement, but that didn't deter him as he began to triumphantly high fave his own imaginary buddies leaving an image that will be forever engraved when Shaffer's name is spoken.

Heading in 2016, Shaffer's position with the team is unknown as the 25 man roster seems pretty locked right now with on the outside and looking in. He is currently blocked at third base by Evan Longoria, and although he has seen time at first, James Loney has that held down and is backed up by Logan Morrison and no to mention, Steve Pearce. So, it appears Shaffer will spend at least the first part of the year working out at various positions and trying to cut down on his strikeouts in Durham.

2015 AVG OBP SLG HR K% BB% wRC+ WAR PA Games
AA .262 .362 .470 7 28.0% 13.1% 137 NA 175 39
AAA .270 .355 .582 19 26.2% 11.0% 166 NA 282 69
MLB .189 .307 .392 4 36.4% 11.4% 98 0.2 88 31