From the very start, I’ve been a bit suspicious of Devin Shepherd’s claim that he left a potentially lucrative professional baseball gig for his daughter. It just never made sense. The financial security alone should have potentially made up for time spent on the road with the team. Plus, six months out of the year he would have few obligations but to spend time with her.
Thus it was no surprise that out of the blue on Friday afternoon, Shepherd opened up a little bit about his baseball career. While not completely forthcoming, Shepherd did fess up to having spent multiple stints in rehab, which I talked about on last week’s Big Brother Gossip Show.
I was still curious about what exactly happened with Shepherd, so after the broadcast I hopped on the ol’ Google machine and found his minor league stats. Take a look at the year 2009, as we’ll be discussing that in a bit.
At the same time as I was doing some research, my buddy Ed (@BrophE) at TVFishbowl (@BBTVFB) was doing the same. Notice Ed’s discovery that Devin admitted on the feeds to being convicted of DUI at the age of 22.
I then sought out the advice of a couple of friends in the sports community. Since Shepherd was originally drafted by the Twins, I went to Argus Leader sportswriter Matt Zimmer for comment. “I only remember him because he did not sign with the Twins after they drafted him in the fifth round. That’s pretty high, (and) rarely do guys drafted that high choose not to sign.”
Another friend, who wishes to remain anonymous, is a Big Brother fan who works for one of the national cable sports networks. He says this was a poor decision. Instead of going to the Twins, Shepherd went to college, which cost him “around $300,000” in guaranteed money.
His college days began at Oklahoma University. “He got kicked off the team, and then went to Southern Nevada”, says my source. When he was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in 2008, he dropped all the way down to the 11th round.
But what about that missing year of suspension? According to my source, I jumped the gun when I alluded to steroids on the Big Brother Gossip Show. If it was a PED (performance enhancing drug), “that would be (publicly) listed. In 2009, miior leaguers get 50 games for their first PED detection, and 100 games for their second. It’s kind of unlikely he failed two of these tests in one year.” He believes it could have been a street drug such as coke, particularly due to the fact that it does coincide with a rehab stint. (Other sources list his departure as being for “family reasons”, but Baseball America is considered the best for minor and amateur baseball information.)
After being released by the Cardinals in 2010 while batting .171 in Palm Beach, Shepherd did attempt to continue a pro career in independent leagues. “The independent leagues don’t have any team affiliation”, says my source, “and he was OK but not great. They don’t make a ton of money in those leagues. Most teams have a $70,000 salary cap. Players live with host families and make $600-900 a month.” This is around the time his daughter was born, so he was certainly under some pressure to give up his sports dream. “In his head, he probably thinks he gave up a career for her.” Zimmer is more blunt. “He’s out of baseball because he wasn’t any good.”
As we wrapped up our chat, my buddy had one more reason for not buying the story that his rehab stints were for anxiety. “I can't see him being in rehab in 2010 for social anxiety. The guy has told lie after lie. If you have social anxiety, would you go on Big Brother? I know I wouldn’t.”
I'm still digging into the Shepherd story, and have found a few tidbits.
Apparently, he turned down the Twins because of money. "We are worlds apart on the dollar amount right now", he said after he was drafted. "The Twins are not a big market organization and they dont have a great deal of money for the draft like some teams do. So, what it comes down to from what my advisor tells me is whether the Twins sign some of the college players that they drafted. If they do that, then they are not going to have the money that I am looking for and I will go to OU. If they dont sign those guys, then they are telling me that they will have the money to give me what I want."
That money didn't come, so he ended up at Oklahoma. That stint didn't last a full season, as he was dismissed from the team 37 games into the season. "It became clear that the situation was not going to work for either party," coach Sunny Golloway said in a statement at the time. "We wish him nothing but the best in his future endeavors. At this point, we are focused on finishing the regular season in a strong way." A further search showed this same press release quote in multiple stories.
As stated before, he ended up in the independant leagues, where his highlight was winning $500 in a home run derby. He reportedly used that cash to buy a TV.
And yet another followup. TVFishbow has uncovered an arrest for burlgary in September 2009. This was later reduced to petty theft, and he was eventually sentenced to probation.