Lexington's Ciuffo picked in first round of MLB draft

NEW YORK, NY (WACH) - Gamecock baseball signee and former Lexington High School standout Nick Ciuffo was chosen 21st overall by Tampa Bay in the Major League Baseball draft on Thursday night.

The Rays chose a player who is widely considered to be one of the best young catching prospects in the game and was projected as a first-round choice.

At this point, it isn't clear if this year's South Carolina Class AAAA player of the year is ready to give up his amateur status to sign on the dotted line with the pros.

Leading up to draft day, Ciuffo said it was not a certainty he would go pro even if he were drafted in the first round.

"I have a win-win situation," he said. "I either go play pro ball, which is what I've wanted to do my entire life, or I go play at South Carolina and win a couple national championships."

The Lowcountry native, Ciuffo transferred to Lexington two years ago, hit .468 with five home runs and 33 RBI as part of the state champion Lexington Wildcats this past season.