Wyatt Langford's turnaround could be key to Rangers' resurgence

New York Mets v Texas Rangers
New York Mets v Texas Rangers / Sam Hodde/GettyImages

Coming off their improbable run to a World Series title just one season ago, the Texas Rangers had another trick up their sleeve — 2023 first-round pick (fourth overall) Wyatt Langford, who was slugging outfielder with elite speed and a strong track record.

It seemed like a perfect pick for the Rangers, but they would have to see good play in the minor leagues before even considering him for the MLB roster.

In 44 minor league games in 2023, Langford hit .360/.480/.677 with 10 home runs. Safe to say he had passed the first test. Management liked what they saw so much that they kept him on a "stay ready squad" throughout the postseason in case of injury. He was even reportedly part of the conversation to play when Adolis Garcia went down with his oblique injury in Game 3.

Despite not getting the opportunity in 2023, it was safe to say he had made a strong and lasting first impression. Entering Spring Training he was ready to continue his dominance. He regularly spent time in the Rangers "A-lineup" as either the DH or left fielder. Langford even hit third in the order most games to get him the most ABs as the Rangers could. He responded with this responsibility by hitting .365 with six home runs in 21 games. Second test ... passed?!

It goes without saying that this impressive spring put him on the Opening Day roster for the defending champs. He hit fifth on Opening Day as the DH and recorded his first big league hit and RBI. However, through the first two months of his career, he was tested more than he ever has been. During April and May, he hit .222 with only one home run (which was of the inside-the-park variety) before going down with an injury that sat him out until essentially June.

Some Rangers fans were calling for Langford's demotion by this point, being extremely disappointed in the results so far.

In June however, the young slugger has has responded. Through 17 games, the rookie is hitting .302 with an .829 OPS and 13 RBI — tying his career total up to this point. Finally, it feels that Langford is hitting his stride and it came at the right time. The Rangers currently sit 7.5 games behind the Seattle Mariners in the division and 5.5 games out of the last Wild Card spot. Langford's legitimately been responsible for the team's last two wins.

With the injury-riddled Rangers seemingly getting healthy for the first time all year, Langford's improvement could be exactly what this team needs in order to make a run. They had banked on him getting off to a fast start, so his production is obviously key to how the offense performs.