With Cameron Rupp, what you see is what you get.
The former University of Texas catcher returned to the Lone Star State this season, signing a minor league deal with the Rangers before joining the Express a couple days before the first game of the Triple-A season.
“This is a new start and a new organization and a new opportunity,” Rupp said. “I’m just going to come in here, play as much as I can, have some fun and hopefully get back up to the big leagues.”
Originally a third-round pick by the Philadelphia Phillies in 2010, Rupp made his major league debut in 2013, appearing in four games.
He was in the big leagues a little longer in 2014 but spent most of the year in Triple-A with the Lehigh Valley IronPigs. Rupp spent the next three seasons on the Phillies roster full time, hitting 16 home runs with 54 RBIs in his best season in 2016.
He said there were other opportunities for him after Philadelphia released him in March, but Round Rock made sense because it was the best and most familiar fit for him and his family.
“You’ve got to prove yourself every day and opportunities aren’t given to you,” Rupp said. “When you’ve got to go to a different place, it’s not just about who’s been in the big leagues for the longest. It’s not where you want to be, but it’s one phone call away.”
He was named a Freshman All-American after playing 54 games with the Longhorns in 2009, blasting four home runs with 32 RBIs and boasting a .990 fielding percentage. Texas was the College World Series runner-up during his sophomore year and he led the team with 11 homers and 46 RBIs and was named to the All-College World Series team.
All three years of Rupp’s Longhorn career were under legendary coach Augie Garrido, who coached at Texas from 1997 until 2017 and passed away in March as the all-time winningest college baseball coach.
“It’s hard to talk about,” Rupp said. “It was one of the toughest messages I’ve gotten when I found out. He taught me more than baseball. He taught me how to be a man and be professional on and off the field. That guy was the best.”
Since joining Round Rock, Rupp is tied for the team lead with seven home runs and 22 RBIs and has a .991 fielding percentage in 27 games this year.
He’s had a quick learning curve, having started the most games of any player on the roster this season after Isiah Kiner-Falefa’s early call-up to the Rangers. There are plenty of other players on the roster that have big league experience, but Rupp is happy to help in any way he can, but is still focused on improving his game.
“I’d like to think it’s gotten a lot better in every way,” Rupp said. “Learning how to call a game, working with pitchers. It’s cliché, but improving every year and getting better in every aspect of the game is something I strive for.”