Rangers sign No. 4 overall pick Langford

July 19th, 2023

ARLINGTON -- The possibility of playing professional baseball didn’t truly become real for until midway through his sophomore season at the University of Florida.

A Trenton, Fla., native, Langford went undrafted out of high school and played just four games for the Gators during his freshman season. It was during that sophomore year in 2022 that Langford transitioned from catcher to outfield and recorded a 1.166 OPS, tying the single-season record at Florida with 26 home runs.

Langford followed that sophomore season with an even better 2023 campaign, in which he ranked among the top SEC hitters in runs (second, 83), walks (second, 56), on-base percentage (second, .498), slugging percentage (second, .784), total bases (third, 185), hits (sixth, 88) and batting average (seventh, .373) en route to earning first-team All-SEC and second-team All-America honors and being selected No. 4 overall by the Rangers in the MLB Draft.

The Rangers officially announced the signing of Langford on Tuesday at Globe Life Field. According to a source, Langford signed for an overslot $8 million bonus (pick 4 value = $7,698,000).

“Obviously, going through my freshman year, I really didn't have any expectations because I was like, ‘I just want to play on the college stage first,’” the 21-year-old Langford said Tuesday. “I'd say probably about halfway through my sophomore year when I was playing really well and people started talking and stuff like that, I kind of realized that, hey, I have a really good shot at this.”

Langford, the No. 3 Draft prospect according to MLB Pipeline, posted a .373/.498/.784 slash line this spring with more walks (56) than strikeouts (44) as well as 21 homers among 52 extra-base hits in 64 games. In three College World Series games against LSU, Langford went 7-for-13 (.538) with two home runs, three doubles and eight RBIs.

Langford’s journey at Florida is what made him into the top prospect the Rangers saw and drafted.

From almost not playing at all during his freshman year to a position change his sophomore year to a top-four Draft pick, the outfielder is ready to hit the ground running with the Rangers and make it back to Arlington as quickly as possible.

“It all went by so fast, I feel like I was first stepping on the campus in the fall just a few days ago,” Langford said. “I couldn’t have had a better college experience. Even though I didn't play in my freshman year, that kind of made me who I was. I mean, if I don't have to go through that, I don’t have that ability to go out there and play for two years. It was my dream and is a dream come true. And it's gotten me to where I am today.

“It's a little surreal right now, but super exciting.”

Ask anybody about Langford and a few things will consistently come up. He’s a “self-made” player. He has a “championship-caliber pedigree.” Those are all phrases that would be used to describe any quality Major Leaguer if you ask Rangers general manager Chris Young, but Langford set himself apart as the type of player that Texas is always looking for.

“We think he's the perfect fit for what we're building here, who he is as a person, his winning pedigree and certainly the talent as a player,” Young said. “I think it's not often you have the opportunity to draft a player as accomplished as Wyatt, and certainly our goal is not to be picking at the top of the Draft ever again. But that said, this was a great year to be picking at the top of the Draft.

“Some things fell our way to be able to land Wyatt. His pedigree as a baseball player and what he did at Florida is tremendous. I think as we got to know the person, the character, why he's a successful player, it's all the intangibles, the things that we love, the things that you see with our big league team. He's the perfect fit for our organization, and I just couldn't be happier that he's a Texas Ranger.”