Mercer stood out locally for Taloga High School before staying in-state to play collegiate baseball for Oklahoma State University. He played both ways for the Cowboys, moonlighting as their closer. The shortstop left the program after three seasons with the all-time school record in saves (18).
Before being selected by the Pirates in the third round of the 2008 First-Year Player Draft, Mercer also appeared for the United States team at the Pan American Games in Brazil in 2007.
In the offseason, Mercer resides in Edmond, Okla., a city north of Oklahoma City. He said he still goes back to the family farm in the offseason, as well, and views it as an escape.
Stephen Pianovich is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.