Wyatt Langford's monster spring putting Opening Day roster pressure on veteran Rangers

Wyatt Langford's very loud spring has him firmly in the hunt for a big league roster spot.

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San Francisco Giants v Texas Rangers / Norm Hall/GettyImages

Prospects are generally not supposed to push for big league playing time as quickly as the Texas Rangers' Wyatt Langford. Generally speaking, guys need at least a full year (or more likely two) to get acclimated to facing pro pitching and get their feet under them. However, the usual rules dont apply to this fourth pick in the 2023 MLB Draft, as he is forcing himself into the Opening Day roster conversation this spring.

It did not take long for Langford to reward the Rangers' faith in picking him so highly, as he posted a 1.157 OPS in his first 44 games as a pro and mashed his way all the way to Triple-A in 2023. He has continued his warpath this spring, as Langford hit three home runs in two days, which is only increasing the calls to get him on the Rangers' big league roster as soon as humanly possible.

Obviously Langford is certainly doing his part to convince Texas to give him a shot on the Opening Day roster. However, if the team does decide that he is ready to take that leap, that means someone is going to be out of a job. Parsing who that should be is easier said than done.

Jankowski, Foscue's roster spots in jeopardy if Texas Rangers add Wyatt Langford to roster

The problem with adding Langford is that the Rangers are pretty stacked in the outfield at the moment. Evan Carter isn't going anywhere, as he is a highly touted prospect and emerging star in his own right. Adolis Garcia is obviously going to be in the lineup, although there is an argument to let him DH a good bit given the injury issues Garcia has been dealing with. The worst hitter of the three Rangers' outfielders is Leody Taveras, but he also plays center field and does so well, so moving him off the roster would be difficult.

The best solution may be rotating outfielders and the Rangers' DH spot. Doing so would get Langford's bat in the lineup regularly while allowing Texas to rest guys as needed, especially Garcia. That means the Rangers' projected fourth outfielder, Travis Jankowski, as well as DH candidate Justin Foscue could be out of luck.

If given the choice, losing Jankowski is the correct decision. While Jankowski has value as a pinch runner and as a defensive replacement, his production pales in comparison to what Langford would be able to provide. The Rangers would essentially be wasting the $1.7 million they used to sign him, but that is a drop in the bucket when it comes to payroll.

As for Foscue, adding Langford would definitely complicate his path to an Opening Day roster spot, as his natural position is VERY occupied by Marcus Semien for the foreseeable future. Foscue is already on the 40-man roster, though, which is an argument to let him handle DH responsibilities, then wait on promoting Langford until later in the season.

Regardless of how this all shakes out, it is clear that Langford's future is very bright and Rangers fans should see him in the big leagues very soon. At the end of the day, there is no such thing as having too many good players. However, if he keeps raking this spring, Langford could debut even sooner than anyone originally thought.

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