The Texas Rangers may have just hit on a future superstar in this year's MLB Draft. Wyatt Langford surprisingly slid to number four last month when the Detroit Tigers chose to pick Max Clark at number three. Texas happily drafted Langford and then gave him one of the biggest bonuses in the history of the draft. The former Florida Gator did his tour of the stadium and took batting practice shortly after signing his contract. Texas' plans for him for the rest of this season were not quite known. Langford was sent to Arizona for the onboarding process into the Texas Rangers organization. The question became how long would Langford be in Arizona and then where would he go from there. I want to look at what he has done in four games, three in Arizona and then his first game in Hickory, and what that could tell us about his arrival timeline to Arlington.
Langford loudly announces his presence into professional baseball
Langford was drafted on July 9th and by July 28th he was making his debut with the Arizona Complex League Texas Rangers. He was playing amongst players much younger than him and other recent draft picks. He made quick work of that league. He went 2-5 in his first game, 0-4 in the second game, and then 3-4 in the third game. He had three doubles and a home run in those three games. It was expected even with the success that Langford would spend more time in Arizona, but Texas had other plans for their prized prospect.
Tuesday afternoon word got out that Langford would be sent to one of the affiliates. Speculation had been that Texas would slowly play it with Langford and send him to Down East for the rest of the season and let him gradually work his way up with maybe an end-of-the-season promotion to Hickory. Texas shocked everyone when they decided to have Langford completely skip Low-A Down East and move directly to High-A Hickory. It is definitely a challenge for one of the now top prospects in all of baseball.
Langford made his Hickory debut on Wednesday night and this is how he got his career started.
Langford made his presence known not only by being placed in the number three spot in the lineup in his first High-A game, but by coming through in his first at-bat with an RBI triple. He really turned the jets on when he was rounding second and calmly slid into third with that opposite-field triple. It was a show of what kind of player he can be.
Langford did not follow it up the rest of the night. He went 1-4 on the night. He had two strikeouts and a groundout in his final three at-bats. The fact that it was his first game and he hit a triple in his first at-bat was great. He still has things to work on and the final three at-bats show that he is miles away from a finished product, but that when he does get there he has a chance to be a very special player for the Texas Rangers. Immediately fans were on social media calling for him to be in Arlington in September. That is not going to happen, but this aggressive promotion does raise some questions about what his timeline might actually be.
Could Langford be in Arlington by the All-Star break in 2024?
Langford earlier this summer was starring in the Men's College World Series in Omaha and now is at High-A Hickory six weeks later. Langford will likely spend the majority of the rest of this season at Hickory. I also could see Texas doing with Langford what they did with Evan Carter last season and that is send him to Frisco the last two weeks of the season and get his feet wet at that level. Carter excelled in helping Frisco win the Texas League Championship and has followed that up with a great season with Frisco in 2023.
Langford if he remains healthy and productive will be in Arlington no later than 2025. Here is a scenario where he is in Texas by the All-Star break in 2024. Langford is promoted to Frisco at the end of this season and then started again at Frisco in 2024. He has a great spring training having been a non-roster invitee and is one of the last demotions. He takes that momentum to Frisco and has a great first two months and is promoted to Round Rock. The now 22-year old continues producing at Round Rock in June and into July. Seager is injured moving Duran from left field to shortstop and opening up a spot in left field. Texas decides to promote the hot bat in Langford and now he is in left field in July one year after being drafted.
Texas has shown the willingness to aggressively promote Langford having him skip Down East. The timeline of his MLB debut is now in his hands because if he plays to his potential Texas will continue promoting him. They drafted him because they loved his bat and his athleticism and they know it will play well at the major league level. Lets hope he can stay away from injuries and continue on the path to his MLB debut.