Wyatt Langford OF Florida
Wyatt Langford is the MLB equivalent of Scoot Henderson. Henderson would likely have been the number one overall pick in most NBA draft classes, but in this year’s class, he’s simply outshined by a generational talent in Victor Wembanyama. Langford is in an extremely similar position. He has an otherworldly slash line that is favorable to just about anyone, and he did it against the best competition in the country. However, Crews put up slightly more impressive numbers while at least having the possibility of playing center field at the next level whereas Langford is resigned to a corner and that’s what gives Crews the edge.
Keith Law began his scouting report by looking at the numbers:
"Langford only hit .250 as a freshman for Florida … because he went 1-for-4. Since then, he’s hit .373/. .480/.762 in 114 games for the Gators, with 42 homers and more walks (80) than strikeouts (78), while playing in, yes, the best conference in college baseball. He’s even outslugged Crews this year within the SEC. In a typical year, he’d be the no-doubt first pick, but this is an atypical year in all the best ways, with five players I think would reasonably be in the discussion for the first overall pick in the majority of draft classes. "- Keith Law
Law would go on wonder if Langford’s iffy defense (despite 70-grade sprint speeds) would be comparable to Derek Fisher, but Fangraphs aligns him more closely with Cubs-killer Pat Burrell. Both reports reference the fact that Langford looks less than comfortable in the outfield but in a world that now employs the DH across both leagues I find myself not being especially concerned with that. MLB.com went deeper on his defense and said:
"While he was a third baseman and a catcher in high school, Langford started every day in left field for the Gators in 2022. There was some thought he’d slide over to center field this year, and reports on him there last fall were very encouraging, but he ended up back in left once the 2023 season got underway."- MLB.com
Fangraphs stated that a majority of his power numbers come on letter-high pitches due to a short and compact swing, and they wonder if that swing at the professional level will have enough offensive production to carry the corner outfield position.
Again, I don’t view that as a major concern. Ian Happ and Seiya Suzuki are solid corner outfielders that put up below average power numbers. Beyond that, I have a hard time understanding why a player with his power numbers against stellar competition would have concerns for the next level when his swing is as repeatable as Langford’s is, and his strikeout rates are so low, but I guess we’ll find out.
Again, there is almost no chance whatsoever that either of these two premier outfielders are available with the 13th pick. However, in 2016 Kyle Lewis was the number three ranked player and he fell to number 11. In 2018, Brady Singer was the number two ranked player and he fell to number 18. In 2021 Khalil Watson was ranked number four going into the draft and fell to number 16. Players fall, it happens. Maybe the Cubs could get lucky and one of these two could fall into their laps at number 13.