Texas Rangers mock draft: Trio of outfielders to keep an eye on
By West Jones
With the NFL draft taking place two weeks ago, it seems like a good time to dive into some MLB draft predictions. The MLB draft will take place in Seattle, in July during the All-Star week festivities. The Texas Rangers are owners of the No. 4 overall selection thanks to some fortunate luck within the new draft lottery system.
In previous years the Rangers would be selecting No. 7 overall, but in an effort to curb tanking within the league, MLB instituted a draft lottery system for the top selections. This year the Rangers were able to move up three spots and will look to parlay that good fortune into a future impact player.
Previously I have written about Tennessee fireballer, Chase Dollander as a possible college arm that the Rangers might take at No. 4. That still isn't out of the question, but over the last month or so, there has been a trio of outfielders that seem to be getting linked to the Rangers more and more.
Texas Rangers looking at 3 outfielders as possible No. 4 draft selection
Out of the three outfielders that appear could end up in the Rangers' organization, one is a college bat while the other two are prep stars. Hailing from the Gainsville, Fla., area and leading the Baseball America No. 7 ranked Florida Gators, Wyatt Langford looks to be a near lock to be selected early in the MLB draft. Some experts have Langford going as high as second, while some others have him going in the four or five range. One thing is for sure, Langford has the track record and skill set to be one of the top selections.
Listed at 6-foot-1 and 220 pounds, the 21-year-old has the frame to excel in pro ball. Coming out of high school, Langford wasn't highly touted. He played catcher in high school and went to Florida originally listed as a catcher and first baseman. His freshman year of 2021, he only pinch hit in four games and just worked on developing his craft. Last season, as a sophomore, Langford busted onto the national stage in a big way. After moving to the outfield, he found his way into the everyday lineup and really produced. In 66 games and across 256 at bats, Langford slashed .355/.447/.719, scored 73 runs, had 63 runs batted in, and mashed 26 homeruns.
In case anyone was wondering if Langford was a one-year wonder, he has backed up his 2022 performance nicely this season. In 42 games and 148 at bats, he is hitting .399/.538/.784, scored 57 runs, has 30 runs batted in, and has hit 12 homeruns. While his power numbers are down from last year, his overall bat to ball skills have shined. Langford has also increased his run ability over the last few seasons and some project that he could potentially patrol centerfield and not be religated to a corner outfield postion. That is to be determined, as Langford has predominately been playing in left field over the last two seasons for Florida.
It remains to be seen if Langford will still be available when the Rangers select at No.4, but if he is, he is a solid choice. A proven college bat out of a top baseball conference is an asset that will help build any organization.