Wyatt Langford

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Wyatt Michael Langford

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Biographical Information[edit]

OF Wyatt Langford was the fourth overall pick of the 2023 amateur draft, by the Texas Rangers out of the University of Florida. He had been one of four players being talked about as a potential first overall pick, alongside Paul Skenes, Dylan Crews and high schooler Max Clark. He and Crews were clearly the two best college hitters available, and many scouts said it was a toss-up between the two as who was better. They ended up facing one another in the final game of the 2023 College World Series, which Crews' Louisiana State University won over Florida, but the talent gap between the two was minimal.

Langford first emerged as a top prospect in his sophomore season with the Gators in 2022, when he hit .356 in 66 games, with 26 homers and 63 RBIs. In 2023, he batted .373 with 21 homers and 57 RBIs in 64 games, also scoring an incredible 83 runs. He had been a three-sport star in high school, also playing football and basketball, but his time there was disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. He hardly played during his freshman year at Florida, which was basically his hometown college as his residence of Trenton, FL was located only a few miles from there. Many had already seen him as a potential first-rounder in the 2020 amateur draft, before the pandemic completely upended that draft and pushed many top high schoolers to go to college, whereas they would have been motivated to turn pro under normal circumstances. While he was a left fielder in college, having converted from catcher, he was seen as a potential major league centerfielder given his outstanding speed.

After signing with the Rangers, he played at four different levels in 2023, starting with the ACL Rangers and moving all the way to the AAA Round Rock Express in the span of 44 games. His slash line was .360/.480/.677 with 17 doubles and 10 homers as it was made immediately clear that there would be little point leaving him in the minors for an extended period. Indeed, when he arrived in spring training in 2024, the Rangers made it clear that he was in the running for a regular job with the defending World Series champions and emphasized that point by having him start the team's first Cactus League game. On March 22nd, the Rangers announced that he had made the team's Opening Day roster. He started at DH that day, batting fifth at home against the Chicago Cubs on March 28th and went 1 for 3 with a walk in a 4-3 win; that walk was an intentional one with two outs in the bottom of the 8th inning and the score tied, a sign that he was already a feared hitter in spite of his lack of big league experience. His first hit was a single off Yency Almonte in the 6th inning. He was the second player from the 2023 draft to make his debut, following #11 pick Nolan Schanuel who had done so the previous August. His first major league homer came on April 28th off Andrew Abbott of the Cincinnati Reds; unusually, it was an inside-the-park homer. On June 30th, in a game broadcast nationally on ESPN's "Sunday Night Baseball", he became the first major league player to hit for the cycle that season, and in doing so led the Rangers to an 11-2 win over the Baltimore Orioles. He was the first Rangers player to achieve the feat since Carlos Gomez in 2017 after capping his day with a three-run homer off Matt Krook in the 8th. He scored three runs and drove in four in achieving the 11th cycle in franchise history, and just the 8th player to do so within his first 60 career games (former Ranger Oddibe McDowell also appeared on both lists). He was then named the American League Rookie of the Month for June, hitting .309 with a slugging percentage of .526 during the month after missing a good chunk of May with a hamstring injury.

Further Reading[edit]

  • Jim Callis: "Langford's run to The Show nearly unprecedented: Here's what to expect from MLB's No. 6 overall prospect and where he fits in history", mlb.com, March 25, 2024. [1]
  • Kennedi Landry: "Rangers select Florida OF Wyatt Langford at No. 4", mlb.com, July 9, 2023. [2]
  • Kennedi Landry: "Top prospects Carter, Langford working in tandem in spring", mlb.com, February 25, 2024. [3]
  • Kennedi Landry: "Langford, No. 6 overall prospect, makes Rangers' Opening Day roster", mlb.com, March 22, 2024. [4]
  • Kennedi Landry: "Prospect Langford's 1st big league homer a wild one", mlb.com, April 28, 2024. [5]
  • Micah Pearce (Fort Worth Star-Telegram): "Who is Wyatt Langford, the Texas Rangers’ first-round pick of the MLB Draft?", Yahoo! News, July 9, 2023. [6]
  • Mike Petriello: "Carter, Langford duo makes Texas a unique defending champ: Rookies each projected for more than 500 plate appearances", mlb.com, March 14, 2024. [7]
  • Joe Trezza: "Two HUGE debuts: Get to know Jackson Chourio and Wyatt Langford", mlb.com, March 27, 2024. [8]
  • Joe Trezza: "Langford caps torrid June with 11th cycle in Rangers' history", mlb.com, June 30, 2024. [9]

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