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Friday newsletter time: Grand slam latest spring feat for Wyatt Langford

(AP photo/Lindsey Wasson)

 

At this point, it would be shocking if Wyatt Langford isn’t on the Rangers’ Opening Day roster.

That was true before he connected Thursday night for a grand slam in the Rangers’ 7-4 victory over the Reds, but Langford’s fifth spring homer and 11th, 12th, 13th and 14th RBIs added to his impressive resume.

Langford is tied for the MLB lead in homers and RBIs.

The lineup the Rangers rolled out had the 2023 first-round pick batting third, where he’s been almost every game he has played this spring. He was the designated hitter, which he’s now done in two of his past three games and will do more of .

Of the other eight in the lineup, seven of them are likely Opening Day starters. The exception was third baseman Matt Duffy, who would not be in the lineup if Josh Jung (left calf) were to be available. The expectation is that he will be ready.

Corey Seager (sports hernia) would also be in the lineup if ready, replacing Ezequiel Duran, but that seems to be a reach with 13 days until the March 28 lid-lifter vs. the Cubs.

If/when he is ready, he would bat second behind Marcus Semien. The Rangers could move Evan Carter, who has been batting second, to fifth and keep Langford third.

That’s a big ask for a player with 161 professional at-bats, but he’s handled it well so far.

Of course, this is spring training. He hasn’t been facing pitchers at the top of their game. He will be facing pitchers he has never seen. Arizona, with the thin air and high sky, is the toughest place to evaluate players.

But it’s the only test the Rangers have, and Langford is passing it with flying colors.

Gray strong

When right-hander Jon Gray has been healthy since joining the Rangers, he’s been good. At times, he’s been really good.

He’s healthy this spring, and, well, he’s been really good.

Gray tossed five scoreless innings against the Reds and was so efficient that he had to go to the bullpen to throw more pitches just to get his pitch count up. He has a 0.00 ERA in eight Cactus League innings, and the only run he has allowed this spring was on a home run by Carter in simulated game last month.

Gray, of course, will be in the rotation even if the Rangers acquire a starting pitcher. They lost out on Dylan Cease, who was traded to the Padres, and now are turning their attention elsewhere. Manager Bruce Bochy said on Thursday, as he did on Tuesday, that he likes the five starters the Rangers have.

After that group, though, things get really thin really quickly. That’s the issue.

To that end and for those scoring at home, Jordan Montgomery remains a free agent.

Breakout game

A group of top Rangers prospects lost their MLB Spring Breakout game to Reds prospects 4-1, though the Rangers’ prospect team took a hit with Carter, Langford, Justin Foscue and Jack Leiter in big-league camp.

The Rangers rolled out Sebastian Walcott on his 18th birthday and Cam Cauley, who looks like he should be 18, among others, at Surprise Stadium. Right-hander Brock Porter, the Rangers’ top pitching prospect, opened the game with a scoreless inning.

Walcott opened with a single and scored the Rangers’ lone run as Cauley tripled. Cauley, the 2021 third-round pick, later doubled to keep up his hot spring that has included ample time in Cactus League games.

The players appeared to enjoy themselves, with Porter telling the media “I had a blast.”

The concept is a good idea. The prospects get some deserved love, and baseball potentially gets some new eyeballs on the sport. It doesn’t work all that well with big-league camp going simultaneously and the Rangers having to pull players off the roster.

The guess here is this isn’t a one-off deal.

Card of the Week

In honor of Walcott turning 18 on Thursday, I headed to eBay to see if there might be a candidate for Card of the Week.

There was … for $34,999.99.

What?

Yes, the Card of the Week is the 2023 Bowman Chrome Sebastian Walcott 1st Bowman Superfractor 1/1.

The seller advises to **READ**, so I read. The seller said he is willing to go “well below” the 35 grand. He claims that $35,000 was the Topps buyback price, but he gets “that is an inflated number.”

However, “don’t waste your energy lowballing or ridiculing my asking price,” he writes.

He might want to call Ross Fenstermaker.

Good luck, pal.

Doggy video!

Was he sleeping on a bed of nails previously? Enjoy.

Jeff Wilson, jeff@rangerstoday.com

 

 

 

Jeff Wilson

Sports reporter for two decades. Sports fan for life. Covers the Texas Rangers. Graduate of TCU. Colorado native. Author of Purple Passion: TCU Football Legends (https://t.co/2fmXLyympx). Follow me on Twitter at @JeffWilsonTXR

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2 Comments

  1. deGrom Texas Ranger March 15, 2024

    Kennidi Landry said Leiter was selected to be in the squad for the Breakout game after announcing Foscue and Carter/Langford are in MLB camp. Did Leiter get removed at the last minute? She wrote this rhe day of or the day before yesterday.

    Reply
  2. deGrom Texas Ranger March 15, 2024

    I’m so glad I darfted Wyatt Langford in the 19th round in fantasy! It’s also seeming like a good idea that I sent a picture with a letter requesting his autograph mailed to the MLB team address and not the spring one, as he will be on the MLB team and can likely sign it faster. I hope to get a mail in a few months!

    Reply

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