The Atlanta Braves continued to sign undrafted players on Wednesday by signing an infielder out of their own backyard.
When I saw the announcement of this signing I lit up because I’ve always been a big fan of Cam.
The Peachtree Ridge graduate was a top 100 prospect coming out of high school and was taken in the 29th round by the Boston Red Sox but was pretty firm on his commitment to play for the Bulldogs.
He was Georgia’s shortstop from the time he stepped on campus and he had a really solid freshman season hitting .307 with a .354 OBP.
However, the next two seasons he didn’t hit for a great average — .244 and .231 respectively.
He did show some more power potential in 2019 by belting 8 home runs compared to the five he hit in each of his first two seasons.
After his junior season he was taken in the 20th round by the Tampa Bay Rays but decided to come back to Georgia for his senior season.
Unfortunately, that senior season was cut short and he was off to a solid start hitting .264 with 4 home runs in just 18 games.
I think the Braves got really lucky here because had he finished his senior season and hit .270 with double-digit home runs like he was on pace for he likely goes in the first three rounds of the draft.
And a big reason for that is because he’s already an elite defender at shortstop.
Shepherd owns the career record in fielding percentage at UGA with a .970 mark in 834 total chances, and he received the ABCA/Rawlings Gold Glove Award for being the best defensive shortstop in Division I baseball.
Here is just one example of what he can do on the diamond.
And I don’t have the stats to back this up, but I feel like he had a lot of clutch moments in his time at Georgia.
I’m really excited that the Braves were able to sign him. I feel a little bad that he’s only getting $20,000 as he probably would have gotten a lot more in a normal draft.
But teams had a lot of leverage over him as he was a senior, and while he likely could have been granted another year of eligibility, he wasn’t going to do that and turn down a shot to go pro for a third time.
It’s really exciting when teams take hometown players, but it’s even more exciting when they pan out and help out at the big league level.
Hopefully Shepherd continues to develop and reaches his full potential because I think he could be a really solid Major League player someday for the Braves.