Get to know Rangers No. 2 prospect Wyatt Langford

March 22nd, 2024

Following an impressive collegiate career at the University of Florida, Wyatt Langford joined the professional ranks as the Rangers' first-round Draft pick in 2023 and kept right on hitting. Now, after Langford punished plenty more pitches during his first Spring Training, the Rangers have decided that he is ready for The Show.

Here is what you need to know about MLB's No. 6 prospect.

Ht/Wt: 6-foot-1, 225 lbs.
B/T: Right/right
DOB: Nov. 15, 2001
College: Florida
High school: Trenton High School (Trenton, Fla.)
Born: Trenton, Fla.

Mr. 1.000

Langford has gone from leading a team to the College World Series Finals to preparing for his MLB debut within 10 months. It's been a rapid ascent for the right-handed slugger, but he has earned it with consistently elite production.

From the start of his 2022 sophomore season with the Gators through his current run with the Rangers in the Cactus League, Langford has played at seven different levels of baseball and has recorded an OPS of 1.000 or better at each of them. That includes a 1.282 OPS through 303 plate appearances with the Gators last year.

Langford, the No. 4 pick in the 2023 MLB Draft, spent time at four levels of the Rangers' system last season and came away with a .360 average and a 1.157 OPS across 200 plate appearances.

How far did it fly?

MLB Pipeline views Langford as a plus runner (55 grade) and hitter (60), but few prospects can match his 70-grade power. Langford's strength and bat speed were evident to everyone during the 2023 College World Series.

He bashed a 449-foot homer in Game 2 of the finals against LSU. That is the second-longest tracked dinger in the history of Charles Schwab Field in Omaha. The only home run that has traveled a longer distance? Langford is responsible for that, too; he hit a 456-foot dinger against Virginia about one week earlier.

Langford registered 10 homers and 29 extra-base hits through 161 at-bats in the Minors.

What a difference one year makes

Coming out of high school, Langford considered offers from no universities other than Florida as he grew up only about 30 miles from the main campus. However, Langford's 2021 freshman season at his dream school saw him get into just four games and take four at-bats. He spent that offseason improving his game and getting stronger in the weight room. That work paid off immediately.

His 26 homers led the team and tied the program's single-season record, set in 2005 by former top-10 MLB Draft pick Matt LaPorta. Langford also paced the Gators as a sophomore in batting average (.355), on-base percentage (.447), slugging percentage (.719), runs (73), RBIs (63) and total bases (184).

In 2023, Langford hit 21 homers in 64 games with Florida while his slash line -- .373/.498/.784 line -- reached even greater heights.

Defensive value

Along with his transformation at the plate, Langford also handled a position change very smoothly at Florida. He arrived as a catcher and third baseman, but with more experienced players blocking his path at those spots, Langford was moved to left field. He made only one error in his last two years with the Gators and put some highlight catches on film.

Left field will likely be Langford's defensive home in the Majors, although he does have enough speed and athleticism to handle center. He played two Minor League games in center field -- something he never did in college -- but Texas has more capable defenders to put at that position, including the other half of Texas' dynamic prospect duo, Evan Carter.

The worst hitter on his Little League team

Gators head coach Kevin O'Sullivan has called Langford "a self-made player." His drive to succeed can be traced back to a moment when an 8-year-old Langford saw that he had the lowest batting average on his Little League team.

“It killed him to look at the list and see he was the worst one,” Langford's father, Michael, told The Gainesville Sun.

To that point, Langford had never been taught how to hit. But he used that list as fuel to become the best hitter he could be. With help from his father, Langford began to develop his batting eye, stance and overall skills. He ultimately went from the worst hitter on his Little League squad to one of the best players in college and one of the top prospects in Major League Baseball.

“He wants to compete,” Michael said, “and compete fiercely.”

Baseball's Evel Knievel?

Will Langford be a daredevil on a Major League field? As a youngster, he earned the nickname "Evel Knievel," after the famous stunt performer, for his reckless style of play. And it seems to have given him a pretty high pain threshold, as his mother, Maria, explained to WUFT News.

“He was 10 years old. He was playing basketball and went after a loose ball and fractured his right wrist. We took him to the emergency room, and they found that he had a healing fracture on his left wrist. He never complained about it, and it was like three weeks old."

How tough is Langford? During his 2023 season with Florida, he was hit by a pitch in the groin and underwent surgery as a result. He was expected to miss several weeks. He returned to action 14 days later.

Impacting more than baseballs

On Mother's Day this year, Langford smashed a homer that traveled an estimated 450 feet and out of Florida's Condron Family Ballpark. The ball eventually ended up in the hands of 11-year-old Scottie Jamison, who couldn't wait to get the ball signed by Langford, his favorite player.

In the autograph line after the game, Jamison showed the Gators star his piece of work and asked for his signature. But before he signed it, Langford asked Jamison if he could have the ball so that he could give it to Maria. He made the boy an offer: the home run ball for the batting gloves he wore during the at-bat. Scottie gleefully accepted immediately.

"I think he might have slept with those [batting gloves] in his bed last night," said Scottie's father, Scott. "He was so excited about it. He was showing everybody and telling them about it.”

Wyatt Langford has a lot of game and does what he can to grow the game, too.