Athlete of the Week: Wyatt Langford

Wyatt Langford #36 of the Texas Rangers
Wyatt Langford #36 of the Texas Rangers at bat during a game against the Chicago Cubs at Globe Life Field on March 30, 2024. | Image by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Texas Rangers rookie outfielder Wyatt Langford is The Dallas Express Athlete of the Week after an impressive debut series against the Chicago Cubs.

The 22-year-old fell to the Rangers with the fourth overall pick in the MLB Draft last July and flew through the minor leagues on his way to making the club out of spring training. As the No.6 prospect in baseball, his debut was highly anticipated, and he excelled on the big stage.

“I thought it was great,” catcher Jonah Heim said of the rookie’s performance. “Good at-bats. He didn’t seem nervous, swung at really good pitches, hit a couple balls hard, [and] got his first hit. [He’s a] special talent, and when you’ve got young guys on your team like that that can play, it makes our jobs easy because we just go out there, do our jobs, and move the lineup over. I thought he had a really good first game, and hopefully, he’s got another 161 in him.”

Langford began the season hitting fifth in the Rangers’ lineup and serving as the designated hitter. After striking out looking in his first MLB at-bat, he came through with a sacrifice fly to score the team’s first run of the season and came up with an infield single for his first big league hit.

However, perhaps the most notable of his accomplishments was Chicago choosing to intentionally walk him with two outs in the eighth inning instead of facing him as a potential final out, becoming just the second player in Rangers history to be issued an intentional pass in his debut.

“It was everything I thought it’d be. It was great,” Langford told the media postgame. “It probably exceeded my expectations, really. The crowd was awesome, and I had a really great time.”

Langford followed his debut with a two-hit day in Texas’ 11-2 Saturday win, scoring on Jared Walsh’s two-run home run to tie the game at two in the second inning.

In Sunday’s series finale, the rookie made his defensive debut, making a sliding grab in left field in the second inning and adding a two-run triple in the fourth inning to tie the game at five, although the Rangers ultimately lost 9-5.

“He made a great play, didn’t he?” manager Bruce Bochy said after the series finale. “He’s been playing a great outfield. He smoked that triple there. He’s just doing a really nice job. I’m guessing he was probably real excited to get out there in the field instead of DH-ing, but I can put him in the two-hole, the three-hole, five-hole, whatever. It doesn’t phase him.”

The next test will be maintaining that approach as the team goes on its first road trip of the season this week.

Previous Athlete of the Week Winners:

Jamie Benn

Daniel Gafford 

Max Abmas

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