Cauley shows out for Rangers in inaugural Spring Breakout game

March 15th, 2024

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Rangers big league manager Bruce Bochy watched from behind a screen on the field at Surprise Stadium, along with pitching coach Mike Maddux and other coaches in the organization.

The group had their eyes on the future of the Rangers’ organization for the first-ever Spring Breakout game, a new four-day event from Major League Baseball, spotlighting the sport's most promising future stars.

The Rangers’ prospect squad fell, 4-1, to the Reds’, though it was about more than just the score for the participants.

“I thought it was a blast,” right-hander said. “I think it was cool coming out here with the atmosphere, and having all the fans and all the support I thought was sweet. It was a really really fun event.”

Here are three big moments from the Rangers’ side:

1. Cauley goes 2-for-2 with RBI
Cam Cauley, the Rangers’ No. 13 prospect, per MLB Pipeline, logged a triple and a double in three innings against the Reds’ prospects, both coming off Cincinnati’s Minor League Pitcher of the Year Julian Aguiar. Cauley drove in Texas’ lone run of the day before he left the game in the fifth inning.

“I was kinda thinking about it [a cycle] in the back of my head a little bit,” Cauley said. “Yeah, I wanted to stay in, but when the coach says come out, you come out.”

The 21-year-old has impressed the big league staff this spring. Cauley has made 11 Cactus League appearances over from Minor League camp, slashing .462/.533/.923 with a double, triple, home run and three RBIs.

Cauley said he made “drastic changes” to his swing and his lower half this offseason so that it would play better at this level.

“What I did in high school is not going to translate to pro ball,” Cauley said. “The pitchers are just better, so I had to fail to understand that it wasn’t working at the time. So I narrowed up a little bit and just really listened to what they're telling me to do to try and help.”

2. Porter’s first inning
The Rangers’ top-ranked pitching prospect, Porter earned the start in the Spring Breakout game, tossing one scoreless inning against the Reds.

The first batter of the game, Carlos Jorge, grounded out to Porter, but the comebacker hit Porter in the hamstring, leading to a short injury timeout. Porter walked the following batter on four pitches, and allowed a two-out single from Carlos Sanchez, but quickly got a swinging strikeout -- his second -- to get out of the inning clean.

“I was fine, with the adrenaline and I didn't feel it, but the trainer just had to come out and make sure I was alright,” Porter said. “I was good to go, it was a lot of fun. It was good to be out there and I was happy to just get the out there.

“I think early on, I couldn't really find the fastball, but as soon as I got the first strikeout, I was able to get in the zone and figure it out from there, and I was able to get a second punchout as well.”

3. Walcott’s first hit
No. 3 prospect led off the bottom of the first with a single off Aguiar. He went 1-for-4 on the day.

“Just play your game,” Walcott said of what he’s learned in his time with the big league club. “Just play your own game and don't try to do too much. As soon as you try to do too much, you make mistakes.”

Walcott, who was just 17 years old during his pro debut season, played nine games in the Rookie-level Dominican Summer League before making his U.S. debut last summer. He slashed .273/.325/.524 in 35 games in the Arizona Complex League before receiving a late-season promotion to High-A Hickory.

“Don't get too high, don't get too low, just try to stay as even-keeled as possible,” Walcott said. “I started off really hot to begin, and then I slowed down at the end and things weren't going so good. I learned you gotta stay even-keeled no matter what. You have to stay happy throughout the good days and happy throughout the bad days as well.”