This one pitch is giving Wyatt Langford fits to start his career and that's a problem

If Wyatt Langford is going to reach his lofty ceiling, this can't be a reality.
Houston Astros v Texas Rangers
Houston Astros v Texas Rangers / Ron Jenkins/GettyImages

All things considered, the Texas Rangers have done the most they could given the circumstances. They started the season with Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer on the shelf. Certainly not great, but not insurmountable. However, Josh Jung then suffered a fluke injury that derailed his promising start and the guy that was promoted to replace him (kinda), Justin Foscue, also got hurt. The one true silver lining for Texas was that they were starting the season with Evan Carter and Wyatt Langford on their roster.

After a slow start, it looks like Carter is right back on track to be one of the best hitters in the Rangers' lineup. However, 51 plate appearances into Langford's big league career has yielded a .261/.314/.326 slash line. Is that actually bad? No, that is going way too far.

However, it isn't what fans were hoping/expecting out of him, with his power output being particularly concerning.

Adjusting to big league pitching is hard for any hitter including ones as talented as Langford, and there is a real possibility that this is just small sample weirdness at the beginning of his career that we will all forget about in a couple months. However, one statistic that has stuck out from the start of Langford's career has been his struggles with fastballs.

Wyatt Langford needs to learn how to do damage against major league heat

Every hitter has their strengths and weaknesses, and if Langford's struggles against fastballs weren't super far below what he does against other pitch types, it wouldn't warrant much of a mention. However, a quick look at Langford's Statcast profile points to some real issues against major league heaters.

So far, Langford has seen 108 fastballs in his (very) young big league career. He is hitting just .192 against them with an expected batting average of .171. All five of his hits off of fastballs have been singles. A deeper look shows that four-seamers have been particularly troublesome, as he's hitting just .077 off the higher end of the velo spectrum.

Conversely, Langford is hitting .357 off of breaking pitches and .333 on off-speed stuff. That is a pretty huge difference. We are still only talking about a sample of less than a dozen games, but the stark difference begs some interesting questions, including whether or not Texas may have pushed Langford too quickly and added him to the big league roster before he was ready.

The truth probably lies within a number of factors. Yes, it is true that the Rangers blasted Langford through the minor leagues and there is just no way that he saw enough elite velocity to test him, even when you account for spring training. However, Langford played in a top college conference without any concerns about handling velocity and absolutely has the bat speed to turn on heaters.

Right now, this just feels like growing pains for a rookie that has yet to get his timing down. Opposing teams are throwing the kitchen sink at him from the get-go, and again, this is just his first 11 games. Experts don't seem to be too worried as Langford is still a strong AL Rookie of the Year favorite and everyone seems to agree that he has all the physical tools needed.

That said, if we get into the summer and Langford is still getting heaters blown by him, that could be a genuine concern. It is one thing for a guy to just struggle with his timing early. If a hitter can't beat real velocity, big league pitchers are going to eat him up.

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