Texas Rangers small-town rookies Wyatt Langford, Evan Carter make big-league impact


SURPRISE, Arizona — Texas Rangers rookie outfielder Wyatt Langford has taken the Rangers 2024 marketing slogan “Went And Took It” to heart this spring.

langford and carter Wyatt Langford, left and Evan Carter, right, at spring training in Surprise, Arizona.

Bill Jones/CBS News Texas

It appears Langford came into Spring Training with the same “Go And Take It” mentality that this team showed last fall in winning the 2023 World Series.

When this camp opened, an Opening Day roster spot was up for grabs for the Rangers 2023 first-round pick (No. 4 overall). And five weeks later, the only thing left is for Manager Bruce Bochy to announce that the rookie went and took it.

Langford didn’t just take a roster spot. He took a starting roster spot. He’s expected to be in the starting lineup next Thursday night against the Cubs and for countless nights the rest of the season.

Not only that, Langford will be plugged into the coveted No. 3 hole in the batting order, sandwiched squarely in between World Series MVP Corey Seager and ALCS MVP Adolis Garcia.

Langford earned this role by batting .388 this spring with a Cactus League-leading six home runs and a major league-leading 19 RBIs. This follows a two-month minor league stint last summer that saw him hit .360 with 10 homers, 17 doubles, two triples and 30 RBIs in 44 games, playing at all four levels of the club’s minor league system from the rookie league to Triple-A.

But more than all the stats, Langford has earned the confidence and trust of his teammates, coaches, and entire organization by exhibiting an Evan Carter-like maturity and professionalism that belies his young age.

Just like with the 21-year-old Carter last fall, it appears the major league stage will not be too big for Langford, who is actually a year older than Carter.

This season the two rookies will both be in the starting lineup virtually every day, primarily sharing left-field and designated hitter duties. 

And, they share similar backgrounds.

Carter is from Elizabethton, Tennessee, a small town in the easternmost part of the state with a population of 14,546.

Langford’s hometown of Trenton, Florida is even smaller. With a population of 2,015, Trenton is located 30 miles west of Gainesville, where Langford starred for the Florida Gators College World Series team last year.

Hard to believe that just five years ago Langford was a catcher for the Class 1A Trenton Tigers and Carter was a pitcher for the Class 2A Elizabethton Fighting Cyclones. But out of a small-town work ethic came big-league dreams.

And, next Thursday night in Arlington, in front of a national TV audience and a celebratory home crowd, two Rangers rookies from Small Town USA will be living out their dreams right smack in the middle of the defending World Series Champion’s batting order.

It doesn’t seem possible that two young athletes with such similar backgrounds, who play the same position no less, could both earn Opening Day starring roles on a World Championship team.

There really is only one explanation. They went and took it.