Leiter, Langford deliver standout performances at Double-A

September 17th, 2023

With the Minor League offseason on the horizon, players are striving to finish the regular season on a positive note. Two prospects who have already checked that box are and , both of whom had standout performances on Saturday night.

Leiter -- the No. 5 Rangers prospect -- fanned nine batters across five innings in Double-A Frisco’s 4-3 win over Amarillo.

“I felt good,” Leiter said. “I’m just keeping it one pitch at a time, locking in on execution, trying to not be results-oriented.”

In the second inning, No. 11 D-backs prospect Kristian Robinson clubbed a two-run homer off Leiter. The righty then went on to retire the next batter, and punched out two batters in the next frame, putting that “next pitch” mentality on display.

The outing was the 2021 second overall pick’s fourth start since returning from the Development List on August 27. In that time, Leiter has held opponents to three or fewer hits in every outing, while racking up 25 strikeouts and posting a 3.31 ERA.

The Development List stint was the second of the season for the former Vanderbilt standout. On June 22, the Rangers placed him on the list to limit his innings and give him rest, while the most recent stint was to work on pitching mechanics.

“It’s just about being under control, staying in control of myself and of the game,” Leiter said. “Not speeding up and trying to do more, because in a lot of ways, less is more.”

Since returning, Leiter’s performance has resembled the numbers that he put up in May, when he posted a 1.67 ERA and 33 strikeouts in five starts.

“Today, the curveball really clicked,” Leiter said. “That’s been something that I’ve been searching for all pro ball. The slider feels good as well, and the heater has always been my bread and butter.”

With no discussion about changing levels, the right-hander is preparing for this start to have been his last of the season. He will now focus on converting his confidence on the mound into offseason progress.

“It’s good to finish strong, but I feel really good, so I’d like to keep going,” Leiter said.

Langford is completing his first taste of professional baseball after being selected fourth overall in the 2023 Draft in July. MLB's No. 13 overall prospect spent 24 games with High-A Hickory where he slashed .333/.453/.654 before earning a promotion to Double-A on Sept. 4.

In 11 games with the RoughRiders, Langford has torn the cover off the ball, swatting three big flies and posting a .447/.551/.842 slash line.

“I’ve been feeling pretty good at the plate,” Langford said. “It’s been a really good transition through all the levels. You get to meet a bunch of different guys that have gone through a bunch of stuff here in the organization and lean on some of their experience.”

The No. 2 Rangers prospect went 3-for-4 with a home run on Saturday. The night marked his seventh consecutive multihit game and eighth since joining Frisco.

“I’m just trying to go out there and hit the ball hard through the middle,” Langford said. “I try to keep it as simple as I can. I feel like that’s what works the best.”

As he heads into the fall and winter, Langford said the Rangers haven’t given him any specific areas to work on. He plans to continue to work on his hitting and get his body ready for next season.