Q&A with Nats 13th Rd Pick, Steve Shepard

We sat down with Nationals' thirteenth round pick, Steve Shepard, for a Draft Day Q&A session. Find out who the right-handed pitcher from Franklin Pierce College approaches his game, how he feels being drafted by the Nationals, if he's looking to sign soon, and more.

CapitolDugout: You've got to be excited right now. How do you feel at this moment and what was your reaction to being picked by the Nationals?

Steve Shepard: I was very excited when I found out. I'm excited about heading to an organization such as the Nationals because from what I have learned they have a really good minor league system. Players have the ability to move up the ranks and also get the coaching they need.

CapitolDugout: Did it come as a surprise to you what team you were picked by and when you were picked? What did you expect coming into the draft?

Steve Shepard: It really wasn't that surprising because the Nationals had shown a lot of interest in me all season long. I expected to be taken between rounds 8 and 15 and the 13th falls right into that range.

CapitolDugout: So you mentioned about the Nationals being a team on the rebound so to speak. In your mind, is it encouraging to be part of a team that is really building towards a better future?

Steve Shepard: It really is because you know that you have a chance to move up to the next level.

CapitolDugout: If you would, talk about your stuff a little bit. What type of pitches do you have, what is your velocity on your fastball, etc.

Steve Shepard: I throw a four-seam fastball, a slider, and a curve. My fastball has been my best pitch, which sits between 90-93 MPH and has been as high as 96. My curveball has been my most consistent off-speed pitch. When it's on it can be an out pitch for me. My slider is a bit inconsistent at times; it needs work but I think it will be a good pitch in the future. I can throw it about 80-83. I'm working on a changeup by the way.

CapitolDugout: Coming from a school in the northeast and going in the 13th round, do you see yourself as someone that could really surprise a lot of people?

Steve Shepard: I feel like that if I put it all together, I could really surprise people. I didn't get a lot of time in college, so I feel that if given the chance to develop and pitch on a regular basis, I could become a player with a lot of potential.

CapitolDugout: How would you describe your approach on the mound? And, what do you think separates you or makes you unique from other pitchers?

Steve Shepard: My approach on the mound is to keep a level head and try to pound the strike zone with all of my pitches. I know if I can do that I will be successful. I feel what sets me apart is my fastball I guess. Not a lot of guys can throw as hard as I do.

CapitolDugout: Did you have a favorite team or player growing up? Is there someone maybe you modeled yourself after also?

Steve Shepard: My favorite team growing up was the Red Sox. Everyone in New England is crazy about them. I always looked up to players like Roger Clemens and Pedro Martinez. I've always wanted to be able to throw the ball like Pedro. He has incredible command, and a variety of off-speed pitches.

CapitolDugout: Looking back, what would you say is your best baseball moment and why?

Steve Shepard: I think today (draft day) is my best baseball moment. Playing pro ball has always been a goal of mine and it feels great to have finally accomplished that.

CapitolDugout: Are you looking to sign and begin your professional career right away? If so, where do you figure you'll start out?

Steve Shepard: I am definitely looking to sign. The sooner I get started the sooner I will be able to work my way up. I figure I'll start out in Rookie ball. I'm a little raw right now, so I figure they will want to spend time developing my pitches and working on my mechanics.

CapitolDugout: For Nationals fans who want to know what to expect from you on the way up, what is one thing you'd tell them about you?

Steve Shepard: One thing I'll say is that I have an extremely good work ethic. I'll do whatever it takes to make myself better and give myself the best chance to pitch at the big league level.

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