Braves sign Georgia shortstop Cam Shepherd as undrafted free agent

Georgia shortstop Cam Shepherd is among the Braves’ undrafted free-agent signings, Shepherd announced Wednesday.

Shepherd was considered one of the better players available, ranking as Baseball America’s No. 298 overall player and top undrafted senior. The Peachtree Ridge native started 198 games at UGA, owning the school’s career record for fielding by a shortstop (.970).

His .987 fielding percentage in 2019 earned him SEC All-Defensive team honors and a Gold Glove award from ABCA/Rawlings as the best shortstop in Division 1.

“I am excited to say that I have signed and will be continuing my baseball career with the Atlanta Braves,” Shepherd said via a UGA news release. “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!”

While better known for his defense, Shepherd hit .261 with 45 doubles, 22 homers and 119 RBIs across his college career. He also stole 21 bases. He was hitting .268 with four homers and 21 RBIs in 18 games this season before the pandemic stopped the season.

In 2019, the 6-foot-1, 181-pound Shepherd became the first SEC shortstop to complete a 30-game league schedule without making an error since the conference started an All-Defensive team in 2008.

Shepherd was Baseball America’s No. 97 overall prospect entering last year’s draft, but he opted to return to UGA after the Rays selected him in the 20th round. The Red Sox previously drafted him before his Bulldogs career (29th round, 2016).

After MLB’s five-round draft concluded last week, undrafted free agents were eligible to sign with teams beginning Sunday morning. Shepherd was among the most notable undrafted players.

“These past four years at the University of Georgia wearing the ‘G’ on my chest has been nothing short of a dream,” Shepherd wrote on Twitter. “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.”

The Braves have signed four other players thus far, according to Baseball America’s tracker: utilityman Landon Stephens, Miami (Ohio); first baseman Bryson Horne, Columbus State; right-hander Carter Linton, Tusculum, Tenn.; outfielder Ethan Workinger, San Diego City JC.