Baseball America’s latest Prospect Hot Sheet is out, and their rankings of the 20 hottest prospects from this past week has outfielder Wyatt Langford sitting at #1. Rangers prospects, in fact, bookend the list, as pitcher Brock Porter comes in at #20.
Langford, who was drafted barely two months ago out of the University of Florida, has been incredible in his professional action so far, to the extent that BA says he’s the rare case of a player whose brief post-draft pro debut may end up impacting how he is evaluated. BA says Langford’s performance is “reminiscent of Evan Longoria’s gold standard 2006 pro debut.”
Longoria, who was drafted #3 overall out of Cal Long Beach, put up a .424/.487/.879 slash line in eight games in the short season A New York Penn League, a .327/.402/.618 slash line in 28 games in the high-A Cal League, and then a .267/.266/.486 slash line in the AA Southern League. Longoria split the 2007 season between AA and AAA, spent a week at AAA to start 2008, and then was brought to the majors to begin what has been a borderline Hall of Fame career.
Langford, though, has done even better than Longoria’s gold standard debut. After a 1275 OPS in three games in the Arizona Complex League, Langford has slashed .333/.453/.644 in the high-A Sally League in 24 games, then .405/.519/.762 in 12 games in the AA Texas League. Langford put up better numbers in high-A than Longoria did, despite Longoria being in the hitter-friendly Cal League, and has seen his production jump in AA, while Longoria sputtered somewhat on reaching AA.
Dylan Crews, the LSU outfielder taken second overall, slashed .355/.423/.645 in 14 games at high-A before moving up to AA. Crews has found AA more challenging, though, and is currently slashing .208/.318/.278 at that level.
Langford, meanwhile, should be making his AAA debut tonight for Round Rock. Whatever he does in his first taste of PCL action, he’s exceeded pretty much all expectations so far since being drafted, and it wouldn’t be shocking, at this point, to see him in the majors at some point in 2024.