SS, C Draft picks ready to get to work

July 21st, 2021

Texas third-rounder Cameron Cauley jokes that he basically grew up going to baseball school. The 18-year-old shortstop isn’t exactly wrong either. He grew up around the game, with his father Chris coaching him and his brothers for as long as he can remember.

Chris Cauley is currently an assistant coach at Barbers Hill High School in Mont Belvieu, Texas, where Cameron graduated in May. It was there that Cameron led the Eagles to their first state championship in his senior season while batting .450, with six home runs, 35 RBIs and 52 stolen bases.

The Rangers ultimately took Cauley at No. 73 overall in the 2021 Draft, agreeing to an over-slot signing bonus of $1 million on Tuesday night in Arlington. The Rangers were able to lure Cauley away from a Texas Tech commitment, which he said was a difficult decision to make. He felt like starting his professional career as soon as possible was the best fit for himself as a player.

“It's been a long process, but I'm just happy and grateful,” Cauley said. “It’s something I've dreamed of my whole life. It's been my dream since I was a little kid. I told my whole family I've wanted to be an MLB baseball player, and I think this is the start of it. I'm just ready to see where it takes me.”

Cauley was also a two-sport athlete who didn’t choose to focus on baseball until his senior season, when he was named the 2021 All-Greater Houston Baseball Hitter of the Year by the Houston Chronicle. He was also a second-team All-America selection by MaxPreps.

He said that playing football helped him in all facets of baseball.

“I think just being a baseball player, I suppose it’s a very hard sport,” Cauley said. “So I think just being a little bit more athletic and having that athleticism helps tremendously. I think you can look at a guy and see if he is a more tactical athlete. You can just tell just by the way they play the game, with their movements, and just how their mannerisms are even off the field, but especially on the field.”

And while he grew up outside of Houston, Cauley admits to never being an Astros fan, instead opting to root for individual players. Specifically, he likes to model his game after guys like Nationals shortstop Trea Turner and Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson.

Cauley is quick, both on the basepaths and with his hands at the plate and has the ability to impact the game on both sides of the field.

“The speed is a good tool but also the way I hit,” Cauley said of his best tools. “I can drive the ball to any part of the field. I can also do some damage, whether it's for triples, doubles and even some home runs. Then, of course on the defensive side, I make the routine plays, but I can also make the spectacular plays that can change the game and change the momentum.”

Cauley’s agent Scott Lonergan emphasized the work ethic of Cauley, especially coming from a family such as his own. Lonergan said immediately after a celebratory dinner in Arlington on Tuesday that Cauley wanted to go back to the gym and cage to continue working.

“I respect the heck out of the kid,” Lonergan said. “He's like, ‘I want to get back in that stadium.’ Two and a half hours removed from signing your pro contract, anybody else will be out celebrating and doing whatever. This kid is getting back in the gym because he wants to get back in Globe Life Field as quickly as possible.”

Fourth-round pick also signs

The Rangers also announced the signing of fourth-rounder Ian Moller, a catcher from Wahlert Catholic High School in Dubuque, Iowa. Moller, also 18, did not play on the baseball team at Wahlert, instead dedicating himself to the showcase circuit. Moller, who had committed to LSU, signed for an over-slot $700,000 signing bonus to be lured away from the commitment.

Cauley and Moller signed together and were able to meet each other on Tuesday night in Arlington. Both were assigned to the Rangers complex in Arizona.

“We were just talking and saying we're ready to get to work,” Cauley said of their conversation. “We're ready to see how far we can go because we're gonna be able to move up the system together. We're excited. We're gonna try our best to eventually one day make it up to the show and help the Rangers win a World Series championship.”

The Rangers have now signed seven of their top 10 picks from the 2021 Draft. President of baseball operations Jon Daniels said he is optimistic that the remaining three picks will sign before the Aug. 1 deadline.