St. Louis Cardinals selected Devin Shepherd in the 11th round of the 2008 MLB
First-Year Player Draft. A native
A highly-touted prep player, the then soon-to-be senior was named the Most Valuable Player of the 2006 AFLAC All-American Game. Shepherd paced the victors, reaching base four times with two singles and two walks. He drove in a run and scored twice. Among others who played in the game were highly-drafted prospects Brett Anderson, Billy Rowell, and Kyle Drabek.
Even prior to then, Shepherd stood out. During the 2005 Cape Cod High School Classic, Devin outslugged Twins' first round pick Chris Parmelee to win the game's home run derby championship. He was also named a 2006 Playstation All-American after posting a career .485 slugging percentage in high school.
After his illustrious prep career, the Minnesota Twins drafted Shepherd in the fifth round of the 2006 MLB First-Year Player Draft. The 6-foot-4 outfielder did not come to terms with the Twins and would take his game to the college level.
Californian would enroll in the
After Shepherd signed with the Cardinals, the organization assigned him to the Gulf Coast League, where he has yet to find his power stroke. For the struggling GCL team, the 20-year-old is hitting .266/.343/.330 in 94 at bats.
A common theme among the scouting reports I have read on Shepherd are remarks about his character, a young man with an outstanding personality and a contagious smile.
had a chance to catch up with Shepherd to talk about his love of baseball,
professional coaching and the
Dustin Mattison: Tell us about Devin Shepherd the baseball player.
Shepard: Well, I've got all five tools but I'm still learning how to put them
all in the same box at the same time. I've been playing the game since I was
four years old when I first learned to play on the CBC Naval base in
I pray every day and night that God will bless me with a career in baseball that will follow in the footsteps of some of the greatest. I try to play the game hard every time I take the field because it doesn't take ability to hustle and you never know if it will be someone's first time or last time watching you play.
DM: What players did you follow when you were growing up?
DM: To what player do you compare your game?
DS: The player I would compare my game to would have to be a mix between Derek Jeter and Jermaine Dye.
know you are from
Even being from SoCal, I wasn't a real big team guy. I just really enjoyed
watching all the big league games. I followed the
Braves because I liked watching Chipper Jones but
I don't think I had a favorite.
DM: In 2006 you were drafted in the fifth round by
DS: With the Twins it was a fun and interesting experience. I remember I was very disappointed on draft day but I didn't really understand how lucky I really was. This time around, I had an idea of where I would go because of the type of season I had. I think a few teams knew I really wanted to sign so that helped me go a little higher in the draft.
DM: Tell me about draft day 2008. Were you picked about where you expected? When did the Cardinals first come into contact with you?
DS: On draft day I wasn't expecting anything special. I didn't have a good season and I felt teams where afraid I wanted too much (to sign). I spoke to a scout within the organization the night before the draft and they said based on the pre-draft workout I had with the club that they had a very strong interest.
DM: What did you know about the Cardinals organization before they drafted you?
DS: I played for the Cardinals scout team coached by former Cardinals' cross checker Chuck Fick all through high school, so I was very familiar with the Cardinals.
How close were you to choosing
was signed to go to
DM: You were MVP of the
DS: It was a wonderful experience that you wish you could repeat over and over again. Being around so many great players and being able to act like big league All-Star for just a few days was a crazy feeling. And the event was set up and put on first class all the way.
DM: How did going to
Making the change to CSN helped mature me for a professional style of baseball,
on and off the field. Our Junior College conference was spread out from Vegas to
How does the East Coast of
be honest my friends and family would call me a liar if I said anything
different, but they don't compare at all. But seriously Jupiter is a great place
to be for spring training. The city is great, the malls are great, and you have
an ocean close by. The only thing I wish is that
DM: Who on the team do you hang out with?
DS: I hang out the most with teammates Chris Notti, Adam Prange, Mike Swinson and Anthony Ferrara because we are all neighbors in the hotel. Miguel Flores was with us, too, but he was called up last week so that was half the fun gone right there.
DM: How is the professional coaching different than the college coaching you received?
DS: The professional coaching is a lot more laid back. Everyday is like a progression and we come to work with a plan to continue to improve one day at a time with a relaxed professional outlook. The seasons are so long that our manager and coaches teach us that you have to enjoy the moments, work hard but realize the seasons are long so you can't burn your battery out in week one.
DM: What are your off-season plans?
DS: Well, hopefully I will be invited to instructional league for a month during the off season. Other than that I will be on a strict diet and workout plan to help me prepare my body for my first full 100-plus game season.
DM: What do Cardinals fans need to know about you that they probably don't already know?
DS: I'm a good kid; I love the game of baseball with all my heart. I want to be one of the greatest players to ever put on a Cardinals uniform. I am truly blessed to be in professional baseball with an organization like the St. Louis Cardinals.
I thank Devin for taking the time to do this interview. He seems like a genuine guy and a player I feel Cardinals fans will get excited about in the coming years.
Dustin Mattison can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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