RJ Austin Jr. shares how he will stand out at Vanderbilt
Reginald “RJ” Austin Jr. began his high school baseball career at Grady High School in Atlanta, GA. After transferring to Pace Academy his sophomore year, Austin’s game has taken off.
The class of 2022 shortstop is now committed to Vanderbilt and is Prep Baseball Report’s 14th ranked SS in the state. Austin caught up with Symone Stanley last weekend to discuss his high school development and long term goals.
Symone Stanley: How did the Pace Academy baseball program help prepare you for the next level?
RJ Austin JR: Last year was my first year and I want to say the best thing it has done for me is get me fundamentally ready for the next level. Like just cleaning up stuff I need to and not trying to rush anything at the plate or on the field. I feel like the coaches do a great job of trying to make sure I don’t do too much and stay within myself. I think that is a big thing for me.
SS: How do you plan to stand out in such a competitive baseball program like Vanderbilt?
RA: I just have to do me and compete. I love competing and having high energy. I think that will separate me. My cleats also. The different cleat colors make me a flashy type.
SS: How do you expect Vanderbilt to prepare you for the next level after college?
RA: Vanderbilt is definitely, if you look at the numbers, one of the best programs at developing college athletes into major league players. They also build great relationships with the players. So if they ever need anything they are there for them. Also the academics. You know things can happen. If baseball doesn’t work out, their education is great so obviously I can get a degree there. Either way it goes, it’s going to be great for me at the next level.
SS: You ran a 6.55 60-yard dash. How has your speed changed your game?
RA: You can use it defensively and offensively. You don’t really have to hit bombs because I can run. I don’t have to concern myself with trying to do too much because I can run. Also, I can get to a hard ball that other people can’t get at. I think that is a really big part of my game.
SS: What part of your game are you looking to develop the most in your last year at Pace?
RA: This year I made a big stride trying to work opposite field instead of pulling everything and it’s been working out really well. That’s the biggest thing for me. I think that will help me on the next level to be even more successful.
SS: The scouts have a lot of great things to say about you but what do you think is the best part of your game?
RA: How I am versatile. I can play any position and make an impact. On the offensive side, defensive side, and also pitching. That’s the best part of my game right there.
SS: What part of your game do you think is the most underrated?
RA: My fielding. A couple of years ago my fielding was kind of off but it definitely got way better.