Top prospects Carter, Langford working in tandem in spring

February 25th, 2024

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- If you’re roaming the backfields at the Rangers’ Surprise facility and you see , likely isn’t too far behind.

The Rangers’ top two prospects -- and the Nos. 5 and 6 prospects in all of baseball -- have been in the same BP groups for all of camp, the same outfield groups and are even batting in the two- and three-holes in two of Texas’ first three Cactus League games.

“It's pretty cool to see these two young men hit second and third,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “And they're going to hit everywhere this spring. They're not locked in. But to have those two there, I think it should excite everybody. They're tremendously talented. To be able to get a firsthand look at those two, back to back and see the future for the Texas Rangers, they're a huge part of it. It’s pretty cool to see for me too.”

In Sunday afternoon's 0-0 tie game at Surprise Stadium, Carter left in the first inning after being hit by a pitch on in the left forearm area, but X-rays were negative and he's considered day to day. Langford went 0-for-3 and started in left field.

Carter and Langford are seen as the future of the organization, but the two hadn’t even met until this Spring Training, despite Langford working out at Globe Life Field throughout the postseason.

“I did [just meet him] at breakfast,” Carter said with a chuckle the day the full squad reported.

“It's been great,” Langford said a few days later. “I mean, most of our conversation we’re not even talking about baseball, we’re just getting to know each other. So yeah, it’s been good. … He's really good, dude. It's definitely good to have someone to lean on.”

Though the two have been practically joined at the hip in Surprise early in camp, they’re not both guaranteed to be in Arlington come Opening Day.

Carter hit .306 with a 1.058 OPS in 23 regular-season games. He then appeared in every game of the Rangers’ World Series run, hitting .300 with a .917 OPS in the postseason. He finished with 75 plate appearances in the regular season, and 72 in the postseason.

He’s a virtual lock to be standing in left field at Globe Life Field on March 28, and for the foreseeable future.

“I just think we're going to just see this kid grow and get better and better every year in the next few years,” Bochy said. “There's just really nothing he can’t do and I think the power, you'll see that even grow. He’s just started to put some weight on and can play anywhere in the outfield and hit anywhere in a batting order. We’ve got a good one here.”

Langford, on the other hand, still has to earn it, even if he’s already made a good case for himself early in his career. The outfielder, who was the No. 4 overall pick in the 2023 MLB Draft out of the University of Florida, hit to a .360/.480/.677 slash line across four levels of the Minors in his debut professional season in 2023.

But with Carter, Leody Taveras and Adolis García in the outfield, the path to consistent playing time for Langford will come at designated hitter. That’s not to say he can’t hit his way to the big leagues, but it’s not a particularly clear path for him at the moment.

“It's been really good,” Langford said of his first big league camp. “I'm super happy with what I've been doing. It's been really good to officially kind of meet all the guys and get to ask them questions and just learn kind of what they do day in and day out.”

Much like Carter when he was called up late last season, Langford is in watch-and-learn mode more than anything. He’s not doing much inquiring of the veterans, opting to just soak up the experience from the guys around him.

As they continue through camp, the two young outfielders just want to continue getting to know each other, both on and off the field.

“Hopefully, we'll be teammates for a long time here,” Langford said with a smile.