Infielders are often known for their defense plays and not their batting averages. Mercer University’s R.J. Yeager is an exception. The sophomore from Panama City led the Bears in assists and had a .995 fielding percentage while batting .324, the third best average on the team over his freshman season. He did all of this while maintaining a 3.8 grade point average in the classroom. Needless to say, we’re honored to feature R.J. as our Press Sports Athlete of the Week.
You could say baseball is in R.J.’s blood. His father was drafted by the Boston Red Sox and played baseball at Gulf State College. As an infielder at Mosley High School, R.J. wasn’t getting many looks from recruiters his freshman and sophomore seasons.
“My junior year, I got bigger and filled out more,” R.J. said. “This led to many schools showing interest in me. Over the summer of my junior year playing for Team Elite, Mercer watched me and offered me a scholarship. It was one of the best decisions I have ever made.”
His favorite sports memory is of a game when he played short and his brother played second base in high school. As the shortstop for Mercer baseball, R.J. started all 60 games his freshman year. He was named a 2018 Collegiate Baseball Freshman All-American, a 2018 NCBWA Freshman All-American and was added to the Brooks Wallace Award Watch List.
R.J. attributes his freshman year success to workouts, his father and his coaches. He advises other athletes to work harder than everyone else.
“You have to remember that there is always somebody out there that is better than you, so you have to work harder,” R.J. said. “There may be people with more talent, but (you have) no excuse for someone to outwork you.”
Outside of baseball, R.J. Yeager enjoys hunting, fishing, playing Fortnite with friends and strumming his ukulele (bet you didn’t see that coming).
His ultimate goal is to get drafted to and make it to the MLB. With his abilities and work ethic, we believe in him to reach that goal.