University of Georgia graduate Cam Shepherd will continue his baseball career as a member of the Atlanta Braves organization.
A 6-1, 181-pound right-handed hitter from Peachtree Ridge, Ga., Shepherd signed with the Braves as a free agent this week. A Gold Glove-winning shortstop, he started all 198 games since his arrival on the UGA campus. He owns the Georgia single season and career record for fielding by a shortstop. In 2019, he set the season mark at .987 and was named to the Southeastern Conference All-Defensive Team and received a Gold Glove from the ABCA/Rawlings as the nation’s top shortstop in Division 1. He was the first shortstop to go the entire 30-game league schedule and not make an error since the SEC began an All-Defensive Team in 2008. His career fielding record mark is .970 in 834 total chances. Shepherd, a four-year member of the SEC Academic Honor Roll, graduated last month with a degree in sport management.
In his Bulldog career, Shepherd batted .261 with 45 doubles, five triples, 22 home runs, 119 RBI and 21 stolen bases. In the 18 games that comprised the 2020 season, he hit .268 with four doubles, four home runs and 21 RBI. One of his home runs this past season was a grand slam in a 12-0 rout of No. 17 Georgia Tech in Atlanta. Georgia was 14-4 and ranked as high as No. 2 nationally when the season was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Last week, Major League Baseball (MLB) held its annual draft, which was shortened this year to just five rounds (from 40) in part to the pandemic. Sunday marked the first day that players could sign as a free agent. In his career, Shepherd had been drafted twice. He was a 20th round pick of the Tampa Bay Rays in 2019 but opted to return to UGA for his senior season. Following his senior year at Peachtree Ridge High School, he was the 29thround selection of the Boston Red Sox in the 2016 MLB Draft.
Shepherd shared the news on his Twitter account, writing, “These past four years at the University of Georgia wearing the G on my chest has been nothing short of a dream. The memories and the relationships I have built will last a lifetime. My family, coaches, teammates and friends have not only shaped my baseball career but helped me grow to be the person I am today. Thank you to Dawg Nation and everyone who gave me nothing but support along the way.
“I am excited to say that I have signed and will be continuing my baseball career with the Atlanta Braves. Playing professional baseball has been a goal of mine since I picked up a bat and to have the opportunity to play for my hometown team is a dream come true. Can’t wait to get back on the field and get started!”
Shepherd and Tucker Bradley (Kansas City Royals) are the latest Bulldogs to sign a professional contract. Georgia has had at least one player sign professionally for 48 straight seasons. During last week’s MLB Draft, Georgia junior All-America pitcher Emerson Hancock was selected in the first round, the sixth overall pick, by the Seattle Mariners. Also, sophomore All-America pitcher Cole Wilcox was drafted in the third round, the 80th overall pick, by the San Diego Padres. With that, the Bulldogs have extended their streak to 43 consecutive years with a player being drafted.