Wyatt Langford’s inside-the-park HR shouldn't distract Rangers fans from reality

It was fun, but it doesn't define the larger picture.
Cincinnati Reds v Texas Rangers
Cincinnati Reds v Texas Rangers / Ron Jenkins/GettyImages

Over the weekend, Texas Rangers fans were treated to Wyatt Langford getting his first home run in the big leagues finally. Even better, his first homer came in the most unlikely fashion as it was an inside-the-parker that he had to race around the bases to earn after a weird carom off the wall. He scored without incident and our long wait for his first homer was finally over.

However, Langford's profile is one that should have yielded a home run by now. He was one of the premier power hitters in the 2023 draft and Langford's performance in spring training this year had many bracing for his first round-tripper to come in the season's first week at minimum.

Obviously that didn't happen and it took until a bounce off a wonky outfield wall at the end of April for Langford to get on the board. While the source of Langford's issues has been explored here previously, the reality is that his biggest one is that he just isn't hitting the ball hard enough.

Wyatt Langford simply has to start impacting the ball more for Rangers

Sometimes, sluggers go through slumps where they hit the ball hard, but it's into the ground or straight up in the air, or they strike out too much to make enough contact to be productive. That's nothing new. We know that Langford has the ability to hit the ball hard and he does have a 111.4 max exit velocity this season, which is good. However, the rest of this batted ball profile doesn't match up with fans' expectations.

Everything from Langford's Statcast page, from his xWOBA, xSLG, average exit velocity, barrel %, and hard hit % in 2024, all range from poor to mediocre. It's one thing to have a hole in a swing or approach exploited by big league pitchers, but his strikeout rate has been more than passable this season, so it isn't like he's being completely fooled up there. The fundamental problem is that he just isn't putting forth good swings.

Some of that could just be hesitancy that comes from nerves or just not having his timing down. Nobody wants to be the guy swinging out of his shoes only to strike out three times a game as a first big league impression. However, if he doesn't start trying to drive the ball with authority, there may be a lot of long waits between homers.

After all, we're still waiting for the first one to go over the fence.

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