Former Gators OF Wyatt Langford earns opening day roster spot

Texas Rangers manager Bruce Bochy confirmed that outfielder Wyatt Langford, the fourth overall draft pick in the 2023 draft out of Florida, would join the MLB team on Opening Day at just 22 years old.

Langford’s journey to The Show happened incredibly fast. Viewed as the second-best position player in the draft — behind LSU‘s Dylan Crews, who was reassigned to minor league camp yesterday — Langford was passed up by the Detroit Tigers as the expected third overall pick.

That made things easy for the Rangers. All Texas had to do was take the most pro-ready bat in the draft pool and let him do his thing. Langford set the home run record at Florida in 2022 (Jac Caglianone broke it a year later), and he

For the record, those in Gainesville were shocked when the Tigers passed him up. It’s hard to say he’s played with a chip on his shoulder since, but he’s been on an absolute tear since joining the pro ranks.

Langford started off, as most draftees do, in the complex league. At 21 years old, he was expected to be one of the most polished hitters in a league filled with teenage prospects, so a move to High-A Hickory came after just three games, skipping the Low-A level entirely.

Twenty-four games with the Crawdads is the most Langford spent at any level. He slashed .333/.453/.644 over 106 plate appearances with a 17.0% strikeout and walk rate —  those are elite numbers, for anyone who isn’t a baseball nerd.

Twelve games with Double-A Frisco produced even better results, so Langford ended the season on a five-game stint in Triple-A. An 18-game spring training audition appeared somewhat of a formality before Bochy officially announced Langford’s impending call-up.

Langford is on the fast track to MLB stardom, and he has a real chance to go down as one of the greatest Gators in the pros. Those are lofty expectations to set for someone who just turned 22 years old, but Langford hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down since he converted from being a catcher in 2022.

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Story originally appeared on Gators Wire