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      Ciuffo selected 21st overall by Tampa Bay

      ST. PETERSBURG -- Mt. Pleasant native and former Wando High School catcher Nick Ciuffo was the selected in the first round of Thursday's First-Year Player Draft, the 21st selection overall.

      Ciuffo went into the Draft feeling a good about the Rays.

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      Ciuffo, 18, is 6-foot-1 and 205 pounds, and bats left-handed. The product of Lexington High School has made a commitment to play at South Carolina.

      "I'm pretty good friends with my area scout, Brian Hickman," said Ciuffo when asked about his conversations with the Rays. "He was a catcher, and so we talk catching all the time. We talked a lot during the season."

      According to scouting reports, Ciuffo is impressive on both at the plate and behind it, and he projects to be able to hit at the next level for both average and power.

      His arm is considered his best defensive tool, and though he need to continue to work on his catching, he is projected to remain at the position.

      Ciuffo is excited about the prospect of quickly reaching the Major Leagues and perhaps having an opportunity to catch reigning American League Cy Young Award winner David Price.

      "It's a lot of fun to catch real good pitchers, and I've watched David Price over and over again, even when he was in college," Ciuffo said. "He's one of the best pitchers in the game. I want to get there as fast as possible and see if I can catch him."

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