Langford landed at No. 3 on MLB.com’s prospect rankings, but Mayo thinks that he’s the guy to go with ahead of LSU outfielder Dylan Crews and Tennessee right-hander Chase Dollander. With an entire season to play, scouts will get to compare Crews and Langford against the same level of competition. Mayo believes that Langford’s defense will play a role in making him the top pick.
“I think Langford is going to show people he can play center field — he hasn’t played it before — he runs a bit better than Crews, I think he’s a little more athletic …” said Mayo. “I don’t think there’s that much separating the two and I think there will be some spirited conversations, but I’m going to listen to the two different scouts that I spoke to when we were putting together our list and take Langford.”
The move to center field has gone fine, according to fall reports, so Langford could prove that he’s a legitimate five-tool player this year. Everyone knows he can hit for power after a 26-home-run season in 2022, and he’s patient enough to hit for a good average (.355) and on-base percentage (.447).
The big change this year for Langford is that he’ll be the guy every pitcher is planning for. There’s no more Jud Fabian or Sterlin Thompson to clutter the scouting report, although BT Riopelle is back for another year and warrants consideration. Still, Langford is the focal point of the lineup and will have every chance to prove himself in 2023.
He doesn’t need to break the school’s single-season home run record to get to the No. 1 spot, but Langford can’t falter in what needs to be a bounce-back year for the Gators. He needs to lead the charge behind a weekend rotation that features two of the top arms in the draft, Brandon Sproat and Hurston Waldrep.