Nicholas Anthony Ciuffo…his father, Tony was the director of media relations for the College of Charleston (S.C.) athletic department for 20 years…grew up around the Cougars baseball program…served as a batboy for both the College of Charleston and the Charleston RiverDogs of the South Atlantic League while growing up…likes to play golf.
Combined to bat .231 (36-156) with 3 home runs and 20 RBI in 46 minor league games in the TB and CIN systems… threw out 11 of 26 runners attempting to steal (42.3%) with .995 fielding percentage (2 E/390 TC)…opened at Durham (AAA) before recall by TB on 4/19…was 0-for-1 in one game before returning to Durham on 4/22…rejoined the Rays for a 2nd time on 5/8 and was 1-for-5 in 2 games, including start behind the plate on 5/10 vs. NYY…was optioned to Durham on 5/11… injured his left thumb sliding into 2nd base on 5/30 vs. Louisville and underwent surgery on 6/4…hit safely in final 8 games with the Bulls at .452 (14-31) to improve average from .152 to .228… was designated for assignment on 6/28 and released by TB on 7/1…signed by CIN organization on 7/10 and continued rehab from the thumb surgery…was assigned to AZL Reds (Rookie) for rehab assignment on 8/15 and activated at Louisville (AAA) on 8/23…played in 7 games with the Bats the rest of the year… had 3 doubles on 8/26 vs. Columbus.
Selected from Triple-A Durham on Sep 3 and was with the Rays for the remainder of the season, his first career major league action…appeared in 16 games and made 14 starts at catcher...Hit .333/.421/.600 (5-for-15) over his first 6 games (5 starts) in the majors, but hit .091/.130/.091 (2-for-22) in 10 games (9 starts) after that...Made his major league debut on Sep 3 at TOR, going 0-for-4…on Sep 5 at TOR, singled off Aaron Sanchez in the 2nd inning for his first career hit...On Sep 7 vs. BAL, hit a 3-run homer off Dylan Bundy in the 2nd inning and became the fifth Ray to homer in his first plate appearance at Tropicana Field, joining Jake Elmore on April 22, 2015 vs. BOS, Wil Myers on June 24, 2013 vs. TOR, Joe Dillon on May 30, 2009 vs. MIN and Terry Shumpert on March 31, 2003 vs. BOS… was the first homer, RBI and extra-base hit of his career…added a sacrifice fly in the 7th inning and his 4 RBI were the most ever by a Ray within one of the first 4 games of his career...Threw out 43.2 pct. (16 of 37) of attempted base stealers for Durham...Served a 50-game suspension to start the season following a violation of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program...Ranked by Baseball America as the Best Defensive Catcher in the Rays organization for a third consecutive year.
Named Defensive Player of the Year by the Rays Baseball Operations department for a second consecutive year…threw out 38.3 pct. (23 of 60) of attempted base stealers…established career highs in games (102), runs (42), doubles (29), home runs (7), runs batted in (42), walks (42), on-base pct. (.319) and slugging pct. (.385)…named to the Southern League postseason All-Star Team…hit .323/.409/.496 (43-for-133) from July 13 through the end of the regular season…ranked by Baseball America as the No. 21 prospect in the Rays system following the season…the publication also tabbed him as the Best Defensive Catcher in the organization for a second consecutive year.