Earlier this season, I posted some info on Devin Shepherd's failed attempt at Major League Baseball. At the same time, Ed at TV Fishbowl dug up some of his legal issues from that same time period.
There were still some holes in the story, so I have continued to investigate. Earlier this week, I contacted one of his early advisors, baseball agent Joshua Kusnick (@joshuakusnick), who provided some interesting insight into this time period. "I met Devin at the age of 14 at a Perfect Game Showcase at Tropicana Field by sheer dumb luck. I stayed in touch with the family, and after he fell to the 5th round back in 2006 he blamed his first advisor and fired him. I then took over."
Kusnick agrees with my original post that the team that drafted him, the Minnesota Twins, were more than generous with their original offer. They "offered below 300k but more than 250k, and he basically spit in their faces". He moved on to college at Oklahoma, which was "the worst decision of his life. He complained he was being treated unfairly, thought the school was racist, claimed he was treated like a slave, and tried to befriend Adrian Peterson just to hang with someone famous." Kushnick adds that he doesn't believe Shephered was actually kicked off the team. "It was more of a mutual thing."
At this point, Kushnick says things got "insanely stupid. He had a full offer to the best junior college in the country, Chipola in Florida. He spurned that offer because it was too far away from his mom! That school could have made him millions. He decided to go to (Southern Nevada) where I spent the entire first week of the season there watching over him. He was coming into the season the #1 ranked junior college player in the nation. He couldn't have picked a worse program to go to (as) it was a bad fit for him as a player. They used wood bats and the field is huge. All his flaws were exposed. and hilariously the only home run he hit on the season was on the road AT Chipola, the school I told him to go to in order to get paid."
Despite his lack of success, Shepherd's confidence continued to grow. "After the first week, he went to eat with me and literally started asking me about Nike deals, baseball cards, etc., and he had not finished a week of Junior College baseball yet. I couldn't believe this kid's focus was on endorsements and fame and not baseball!"
Shepherd eventually fired Kushnick after a Vegas trip where he also scouted another player who is a current major leaguer. "I didn't spend a 100% attention on him." While Kushnick doesn't know exactly why he was suspended in 2009, he does agree there were drug issues ("not steroids") surrounding him. "He told me so directly". Kushnick adds that out of respect for his mother, he continued to keep in contact with Shepherd for awhile, but eventually he "burned countless bridges along the way. Scouts, teammates, agents, (and) teams all knew of his attitude, and his talent simply didn't match the persona. He was a BP (batting practice) hitter who thought he was the second coming of Barry Bonds."
Besides baseball, Shepherd also had other fame-related aspirations. "His first love was modeling. (He) even wanted a modeling agent as a player."
Kushnick concludes by saying Shepherd's life could have been completely different had he not made that fateful decision to turn down the Twins' offer. "He would have had a better life, a better shot at baseball, and would still be playing today in my opinion had he just signed. I hope for his daughter's sake he makes a good living off of this new found fame."