Trenton native Wyatt Langford signed with the Texas Rangers for a reported $8 million and was introduced to fans in Arlington at a press conference Tuesday.
“It’s hard to beat a place like this in Texas,” Langford said. “Compared to some of the other places, this is one place I would have really like to have ended up, and it’s just kinda how it played out.”
Langford’s introduction—which included his first batting practice at Globe Life Field—came before the Rangers took on the Tampa Bay Rays in the second game of a series between two of the American League’s division leaders.
“The Rangers are headed in a very good direction, and I’m excited to be a part of it,” Langford said.
The signing came just more than a week after the Rangers took Langford as the No. 4 overall pick in the Major League Baseball Amateur Draft and paid the 21-year-old about $300,000 more than the amount slotted for the fourth pick. According to Sports Illustrated, the signing bonus is tied for the fifth-largest in MLB draft history.
Before Langford has even taken the field, some MLB prospect rankings show him cracking the top 25 up-and-coming players in the sport—with Baseball America rating him No. 11.
Langford is coming off a big junior year in which he led the Florida Gators to within a game of a national championship. He hit 21 home runs and collected 57 RBIs while finishing among SEC leaders in runs (83), walks (56), batting average (.373), on-base percentage (.498) and slugging percentage (.784).
“I couldn’t have had a better college experience, even though I didn’t play in my freshman year,” Langford said at Tuesday’s press conference. “That kind of made me who I was, having to go through that.”
As Langford embarks on his pro career, he also leaves behind a legacy of winning in Trenton, where he was part of state title teams in both baseball and football. He was the first player from Trenton to play for UF and said he plans to keep setting an example for others to follow.
“I know I have a lot of people back home following me, so to be able to be that person that people look up to and look at for some motivation, it means a lot to me,” Langford said.