Our weekly spotlight of 2023 draft prospects began with a closer look at LSU outfielder Dylan Crews, who many people have as the top prospect in this draft class. We then moved on to Chase Dollander, a right-handed pitcher from the University of Tennessee.
Our third profile article looked at high school outfielder Walker Jenkins. That was followed by LSU pitcher Paul Skenes. Last week’s profile was high school outfielder Max Clark, whose season opened that same day. Here’s our draft preview article in case you missed it.
I held off on Florida outfielder Wyatt Langford because he was out of action after getting hit with a foul ball off of his own bat. He returned to action after just two full weeks, despite reports he would miss at least six weeks.
Langford turned 21 years old in November. He’s listed at 6’1″, 225 pounds. He bats and throws right-handed.
Starting with MLB Pipeline, they rank him third overall in this draft class. He gets grades of 60 for his hitting, 65 for power, 55 for running, and 50 each for fielding and arm. He was a multi-sport player in high school, who started concentrating just on baseball in college. The late start led to him going undrafted out of high school, then playing just four games as a freshman. He broke out last year, putting up a .355/.447/.719 slash line in 66 games. He homered 26 times.
The late start to baseball means he doesn’t have a track record of success, but he could also have huge upside potential as he plays more games. The missed time this year didn’t help his case to go #1, though he returned with enough time left in the season.
Pipeline says he has five-tool potential, with a strong approach at the plate that allows him to post solid BB/SO numbers, while tapping into his raw power. He’s big and strong, so those power numbers are legit. They believe he will remain an above average runner in the future, while his defense in the outfield is a bit raw due to playing third base and catcher in high school.
Baseball America ranks him second in this draft class. They say that some scouts have put 70 grades on his raw power, which they say is backed up in his exit velocity numbers from 2022. They note a trouble with breaking balls on the outing half of the plate, which could lead to him not getting on base as much as projected. BA also mentions the same things on defense/running, while saying that he could at least start as a center field in pro ball, even if he doesn’t stick there.
Fangraphs ranks him third in this draft class, giving him a 50 Future Value rating, with medium risk of getting there. They note that he does a lot of his damage on pitches in the upper half of the zone, but has trouble with off-speed pitches in the lower/outer zone. They also note that he could end up being a power-over-contact hitter, with enough raw power to be a solid regular corner outfielder in that scenario. They aren’t as set on him being able to play center field at any point.
Keith Law has Langford rated #1 in this class, giving him higher grades for his running, while noting that the speed should help him play center field in the future. As you might expect with him being #1, Law loves the tool package and raw power he provides.
Here are some videos
This one from Kyler Peterson has some batting practice, followed by a lot of game action
Here’s a different look at game action from Prospects Live
John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.
When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.
My first thought is if he has trouble with breaking balls on the outer half of the plate. MLB pitcher will take advantage of that. Makes me think of Pedro Alvarez.
Unless something changes, I think this is between Skenes and Crews. Which one do you prefer, but neither would be a bad number #1 pick. I prefer Crews, because if all else is equal, I will normally take the position player. There is an appeal to taking Skenes however. While the Pirates have a lot of interesting pitchers that could be very good, #2 or #3 starters, what they lack in the minors, is pitchers who are top of the rotation guys. Yes. Someone like Priester, Contreras, Ortiz, or maybe even Keller could still develop into that type of pitcher, but it is hard to see them as that type now. Small market teams need good pitching to win. Skenes could give us a potential #1 starter.
I like Wyatt, but dont love Wyatt if u know what i mean. The entire Florida team hits bombs & he’s not getting time in CF. Think Wyatt hit his 9th HR of the season vs Ten in the last 2 nights. IMO Wyatt isnt the most impressive player on his team, it’s Caglione, who’s leading NCAA with 19 HR & is a stud LHP, basically the next Ohtani, but a Sophmore & not draft eligible this year. He hit one of the furthest HR’s ive ever seen last night vs Chase Burns, one of next years top SP. As impressive as LSU looks at times, Florida might be better.
Caglianone is a beast. I’d be thrilled if we were somehow able to get him in the draft next year. He’s ranked 18, 1 behind Tommy tanks as of now on prospects live