Rangers’ top prospect Wyatt Langford makes Texas’ Opening Day roster

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Wyatt Langford, the Texas Rangers’ No. 1 prospect and the No. 4 pick in the 2023 MLB Draft, will make the Rangers’ roster out of camp, manager Bruce Bochy told reporters Friday. Langford will join Los Angeles Angels first baseman Nolan Schanuel as the first players from the 2023 draft to reach the major leagues.

Langford’s rise to the big leagues has been meteoric. After starring at Florida, he made his professional debut in the Arizona Rookie League on July 28. By Sept. 4, he had reached Triple A and was even briefly considered as a postseason addition for the Rangers, who elected not to add him to the roster then and would eventually win their first World Series. During his pro debut last season, Langford hit .360/.480/.677 with 10 home runs and a 36:32 BB:K. He also stole 12 bases and drove in 30 in just 44 games played.

Langford came into this spring as a non-roster invitee to Rangers’ camp and with only an outside chance of making the Opening Day roster, given the depth of the Rangers’ outfield, which includes 2023 postseason hero Evan Carter (also a rookie), 2023 All-Star Adolis García and 2023 regular Leody Taveras. But Langford has hit .388/.446/.796 with six homers and 19 RBI in 17 games this spring, and that was more than enough for the Rangers to decide to have him break camp with the team. If he remains on the roster all season and wins the Rookie of the Year, the Rangers will earn extra draft pick compensation under MLB’s Collective Bargaining Agreement.

Coming into this season, Langford ranked as MLB’s No. 6 prospect by The Athletic’s Keith Law, who had this to say about the 22-year-old:

“He’s an electric offensive player, a 70 runner (on the 20-80 scouting scale) underway who boasts a smooth, powerful right-handed swing where he stays very steady through contact, rotating his hips on time to transfer his weight without becoming unbalanced, putting the ball in the air with a lot of juice. He’s fast enough for center but played left in Florida, in part because they had a plus defender in center but more because Langford has yet to show even solid instincts in the outfield. That said, if what he did in a modest sample in pro ball is any indication, he could play sixth base or top field or anywhere else and still be an impact player, because he looks like he is really going to hit and put 25-30 balls in the seats, too.”

Langford will enter the season as one of the favorites to win the AL Rookie of the Year, along with Carter, his teammate in the Rangers’ outfield who hit .306 with five homers in 62 September at-bats for Texas before going on to hit .300 in the postseason.

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(Photo: John E. Moore III / Getty Images)

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