Why the Rangers shouldn’t follow Orioles’ lead with Wyatt Langford just yet

Wyatt Langford's tough start requires patience, not another stint in the minors.
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Seattle Mariners v Texas Rangers / Ron Jenkins/GettyImages

Wyatt Langford's first look at the big leagues with the Texas Rangers hasn't been what anyone has hoped for. After taking the world by storm and essentially forcing the Rangers to carry him on their Opening Day roster, Langford has looked much more pedestrian in the games that actually count.

Through his first 29 games in the majors, Langford sports a .239/.312/.312 line with only a fantastically entertaining inside-the-park homer as his lone "long ball" this season. With Langford not living up to expectations after being fast-tracked to the majors, some have begun to wonder if Texas needs to follow the Orioles' example and send their top prospect back down to the minor leagues for more seasoning.

Wyatt Langford is still learning on the job and the Rangers need to let him

Over in Baltimore, the Orioles were faced with a very similar situation to Langford when their top prospect and former No. 1 overall pick Jackson Holliday had an impressive spring. The Orioles sort of split the difference and let Holliday play a few games down in the minor leagues before calling him up. Fans know the rest of the story as Holliday couldn't hit, well, anything upon his call-up, and got sent back down to the minors in short order.

There are some key differences between Holliday and Langford, though. Both had very limited experience in the minors, but Langford was a college bat that had been seasoned in the hellfire of the SEC while Holliday was picked right out of high school. As with most things, experience does matter, and Langford already has more of it against high levels of competition.

Moreover, Langford and Holliday's struggles aren't comparable. Holliday recorded just two singles in his 10-game cameo appearance in the big leagues and struck out 50% of the time. While Langford hasn't been awesome, his batted ball profile is orders of magnitude better than Holliday's, and his strikeout and walk rates have been a very reasonable 21.3% and 9%, respectively.

Could the time come when Langford is struggling enough that the Rangers entertain sending him back down? Sure, they would be stupid to not consider it if his development was in danger. However, Langford seems more like a guy that is just a little bit off than one who simply can't cut it against big league pitchers. The same definitely couldn't be said for Holliday, at least for now.

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