Florida OF Wyatt Langford Picked No. 4 Overall by Rangers in 2023 MLB Draft

Florida OF Wyatt Langford Picked No. 4 Overall by Rangers in 2023 MLB Draft

Adam WellsJuly 9, 2023

OMAHA, NE - JUNE 26: Wyatt Langford #36 of the Florida Gators hits a home run against the LSU Tigers in the first inning of game three of the Division I Men's Baseball Championship held at Charles Schwab Field on June 26, 2023 in Omaha, Nebraska. (Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)

Jamie Schwaberow/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

After helping the Florida Gators reach the finals of the 2023 College World Series, Wyatt Langford is ready to embark on his professional career.

Langford was selected with the No. 4 overall pick by the Texas Rangers in the 2023 Major League Baseball draft on Sunday.

A two-year starter for the Gators, Langford has been one of the best hitters in the nation during that span. He was a second-team All-SEC selection in 2022 after posting a .355/.447/.719 slash line with 26 homers in 256 at-bats.

Expectations were high for the 21-year-old coming into his junior year. He was included on the preseason All-America team, along with other top draft prospects Dylan Crews, Paul Skenes and Rhett Lowder.

Langford more than lived up to the hype with a .373 batting average, .498 on-base percentage and .784 slugging percentage with 52 extra-base hits (21 homers) in 64 games.

The Gators spent the final five weeks of the season ranked No. 2 in the coaches poll, hosted a Super Regional for the first time since 2018 and advanced to the College World Series final for the first time since 2011.

Florida’s quest for a national title came up short with a loss to LSU, but Langford showed up big for his team with homers in each of the final two games in the series. He went 5-for-5 with six RBI and four runs scored in the Gators’ historic 24-4 victory in Game 2.

MLB Pipeline @MLBPipeline

No. 3 Draft prospect Wyatt Langford hammers this one 114.4 mph off the bat, sending it 449 feet for @GatorsBB.

That’s the second longest homer at Omaha’s Charles Schwab Field.

The longest belongs to … Wyatt Langford (456 feet, June 16).pic.twitter.com/oTukRrAEqq

The Athletic’s Keith Law ranked Langford as the second-best prospect in this year’s draft class, behind Crews, but noted he would be the No. 1 player in a typical year that didn’t have this much top-end talent.

The one significant drawback for Langford coming into professional baseball is defense. He’s a good athlete with high-end speed and decent arm strength, but he played left field in college.

Law noted Langford “hasn’t looked great” in the outfield, though MLB.com did say there were “very encouraging” reports about his play in center field last fall.

MLB.com also praised Langford’s ability with the bat translating into pro ball:

“Langford has five-tool potential. He can really hit, with excellent swing mechanics and a very good approach at the plate, one that helped him limit strikeouts while drawing walks. It also aided in his ability to tap into his considerable raw power, which some area scouts said is plus-plus. Strong and muscle-bound, he’s capable of being at least an above-average runner as well.”

If the Rangers can get Langford to play even passable defense in center, the sky is the limit for his upside in MLB because of how good the offensive skill set is.

The Rangers are flying high right now, with the MLB team currently leading the American League West thanks to an offense that leads the league in runs scored.

Ownership has been more than willing to spend on talent for the big-league roster. They’ve signed Marcus Semien, Corey Seager, Jacob deGrom, Nathan Eovaldi and Jon Gray to lucrative contracts in free agency over the past two years.

The Rangers have also done a great job of developing their own players. Josh Jung is having a breakout season. Evan Carter, Jack Leiter, Owen White, Luisangel Acuña and Brock Porter are all top-100 prospects.

The addition of Langford gives the organization another potential cornerstone position player along with Seager, Semien and Jung.

Langford’s advanced hitting ability should allow him to move through the minors quickly. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see him in Texas’ lineup at some point in 2024.

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