“” Dustin Mercer - Driveline Baseball

Dustin Mercer

Outfielder, Murray State

Dustin Mercer showed up to Driveline after his first season at Murray State with a lot of tools already in his hitting tool box.

So what do you get the man who already has everything, then? How about some additional bat speed and the ability to hit for power to the pull side, so that mis-hits turn into doubles?

Best Christmas ever for Mercer.

“I had done some research on the hitting side of Driveline and saw that a bunch of guys had been there, and I decided to take a shot,” Mercer said. “It was the best decision I ever made.”

Mercer knew he was a good hitter. You don’t play Division I baseball straight out of high school if you’re not. He didn’t want to travel from his home in North Carolina all the way out to Seattle because he thought he was broken.

He wanted to train at Driveline because he knew there was a piece missing from his tool box. He wanted to go from good to great.

Senior hitting trainer JP Fasone saw the talent right away with Mercer. He also found the missing tool.

“When he came in, he had really high bat-to-ball skills,” Fasone said. “He made a lot of contact, but it was a bunch of singles. For him, it was about getting the ball to the pull side more consistently.”

Fasone’s diagnosis served as confirmation to what Mercer had already been thinking. He just didn’t know how to make it happen until he started working with Fasone.

“I sort of knew that in the back of my mind, because I had always been really good to the center of the field and backside,” Mercer said. “But that was because my barrel path was set up for that.”

Mercer and Fasone dove in on a lot of offset closed drill work using Smash Factor Balls and long batshort bat drills, all in an effort to make Mercer really feel his barrel path through the zone.

That kind of drill work, partnered with the environment the work was done in, turned out to be a real unlock for Mercer.

“It wasn’t like I was showing up to practice every day,” he said. “It was like I was showing up and competing. Every day, they’d have a setup where I was competing against three other dudes who are also training to be the best they can be…It’s a great environment to get better because it really brings out the competitive edge that every baseball player has.”

He was a totally different hitter by the time he went back to Murray State to play his sophomore season for the Racers.

After starting nine games and earning 34 at-bats during his first year on campus, Mercer started all 59 games for Murray State during his sophomore year and got 249 at-bats hitting out of the two-hole.

His batting average jumped 35 points up to .329 in his sophomore year while at the same time his slugging percentage leapt 210 points (not a typo!) all the way up to .534. One extra-base hit in his freshman year (a double) turned into 26 extra-base hits in his second year – 12 doubles, three triples and 11 home runs.

He led the Missouri Valley in hits and runs scored and was fifth in total bases. The new tools he added at Driveline turned him into a First-Team All-MVC hitter.

“It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made going out to Driveline,” he said. “It was night and day after that month of training in Washington and going back to my school season, my swing felt so much more pure and I could do so much more as a hitter. If I can mis-hit balls for doubles, I’m doing something right.”

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