The Rangers made big news in the 2021 draft because they selected Vanderbilt righthander Jack Leiter with the second overall pick.
He shot to the top of their prospect list even though he did not make his professional debut last season.
Two rounds later the Rangers drafted Texas high school shortstop Cam Cauley, who shined on the summer circuit before his senior season. He signed for $1 million rather than go to Texas Tech.
Cauley spent his first time as a professional learning how to grind in the Arizona Complex League. His first offseason was used to prepare for a full-season grind, especially on the mental side.
“Just stay on a level playing field, don’t get too high or too low,” said Cauley, who was drafted from Barbers Hill High, 30 miles east of Houston. “One week you might go 4-for-14 and the next you might go 14-for-14.
“It’s a long season, so just stay level, play the game and compete, and don’t put too much pressure on myself.”
Cauley put on around 10 pounds in the offseason and should continue to add to a lean frame that allowed him to be a star wide receiver as a sophomore and junior.
He didn’t hit a home run in 94 at-bats in the ACL but went deep during instructional league. The Rangers believe he will grow into more power, and his offseason work was geared toward that goal.
“I got to learn a lot from my successes and also my failures,” Cauley said. “I was really honing in on what me and the coaching staff saw from film—just trying to be more simple, just be easy and hit the ball hard.”
The Rangers didn’t tell him to start working at other positions, though that will likely happen as he continues to progress through the system. He’s willing and excited for what 2022 holds in store, perhaps with a full-season affiliate.
“I just want to get in the lineup anyway I can,” Cauley said.
— Leiter said that he touched 99 mph during his first session of live batting practice on Feb. 18, and said that his stuff overall is better than it was a year ago when he was pitching in games at Vanderbilt. The Rangers have not ruled out starting him at Double-A Frisco.
— With No. 2 prospect Josh Jung out until at least August after surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder, Rangers general manager Chris Young said that none of the organization’s minor league prospects at third base are ready to join the team on Opening Day. The two closest to the majors are Davis Wendzel and Sherten Apostel.