Texas Rangers get the steal of the draft

A player who was projected to go as high as one falls to the Rangers at pick number 4
Vanderbilt v Florida
Vanderbilt v Florida / James Gilbert/GettyImages

The Texas Rangers came into the MLB draft this season with the fourth pick as the result of the inaugural MLB draft lottery. Mock drafts have been coming out since early spring and it was all over the board who the Rangers would pick. Experts had the Rangers taking Max Clark, Walker Jenkins, orKyle Teel. The top two of the draft went as expected except Paul Skenes went one and Dylan Crews went two. It was expected that Langford would go pick three to Detroit leaving the Rangers to pick from high school outfielders Clark or Jenkins. That is when Detroit went off-script and selected Clark at three. The Rangers were then on the clock and did not waste time deciding to go with another SEC player. They drafted outfielder Langford from the University of Florida. Langford is many things and now can add first-round draft pick to his name.

Langford is the fourth consecutive SEC player Texas has taken in the first round. 2020 was Mississippi State infielder Justin Foscue, 2021 was Vanderbilt pitcher Jack Leiter, 2022 was former Vanderbilt pitcher Kumar Rocker, and now 2023 is Florida outfielder Langford. When top prospects lists are put together in the coming months Langford will join Evan Carter at the top of those lists for the Texas Rangers.

Wyatt Langford and his dynamic bat

Langford is a bat-first outfielder who has hit more than 20 home runs in his sophomore and junior seasons at Florida. He increased his batting average from .356 to .373 this past season. He increased his doubles from nine to 28. His on-base percentage jumped 50 points to .498. He struck out 44 times in each of his two seasons playing at Florida, but he increased his walks from 36 to 56 this past season. There is not an offensive category that he really did not excel in.

Florida made it all the way to the championship series in Omaha at the Men's College World Series to play LSU. It was a matchup of potential top picks. Langford really stood out in Omaha. He had 3 home runs including the longest home run hit at Charles Schwab stadium. That one was a 456-foot shot. His time in Omaha included a five-hit and six RBI night in game two of the championship series. Florida came up short, but it was not because of the play of Langford.

When will Langford reach the majors?

Langford should advance pretty quickly. There will for sure be some adjustment going from an aluminum to a wood bat. The quality of pitching he faces will certainly be better than what he faced in the SEC. The tools are all there for him to move quickly. The power should translate, the ability to draw walks will translate, and the ability to get extra bases will translate. It will be about how does he deal with the variety and quality of pitches he will see? How quick is he to make adjustments to how pitchers attack him? What position does he play?

If Langford signs quickly it is possible we see him at an affiliate by late August. I do not think the Rangers will be hesitant to move him along pretty quickly. If he is able to remain healthy and produce at a high level I am going to say that he makes his Rangers debut by 2025 and no later than 2026. Langford's journey will be interesting to follow over the next few years. The Rangers now will not pick again till the fourth round. They lost their second and third-round picks when they signed Jacob deGrom and Nathan Eovaldi. Stay tuned Monday afternoon on MLB.com to see who the Rangers pick in rounds 4-10. I want to leave you with this highlight video of Wyatt Langford.