Astros Predicted to Add ‘Breakout’ 21-Year-Old Catcher

Astros GM Dana Brown is gearing up for the MLB Draft.

Getty Astros GM Dana Brown is gearing up for the MLB Draft.

In what many consider to be only a so-so MLB draft here in 2024, maybe it is not a bad thing for the Astros to be picking 28th overall. And it may not be a bad thing that the market is cool on catchers, too, because the Astros could use one. There is a chance, at least, that the top catcher on the board—Walker Janek of Sam Houston State—could slip through to Houston at the bottom of the first round.

That’s how things shape up at Bleacher Report, at least, where the latest MLB mock draft has Janek going to the Astros to fill a pretty big void in the organization. The Astros have Yanier Diaz behind the plate, and after a good start to what was supposed to be a breakout year, he batted .200 in May. Throughout the system, though, there is not much behind Diaz.

Janek slashed .364/.476/.709 this season, and showed himself to be reliable behind the plate.

Wrote Joel Reuter of Bleacher Report: “Best available and organizational need collides here for the Astros with a lack of overall depth at catcher and Janek representing good potential value late in the first round thanks to a breakout performance this spring.

A good athlete behind the plate with a plus throwing arm, he (has) 15 doubles, 17 home runs, 58 RBI and 13 steals in 58 games, albeit against second-tier competition in Conference USA.”

Astros Would Get a Steal If Walker Janek Slides

If Janek did fall to the Astros, it would be something of a lucky break. Most other mock drafts rate him considerable higher than No. 28, including the mock draft. There, Janek is 16th, citing a rise in his draft stock because of an “improved approach” and the plate.

ESPN does have Janek in the 20s, though the projection there is that he lands with the Twins at No. 22.

Baseball America has Janek going to the Brewers at No. 17, and was impressed by his steady rise this season. Janek had been rated 86th overall by BA before the season.

But, the venerable publication wrote, “He has now has put himself in a position to be the first catcher off the board. He’s the best catch-and-throw defender in the college class and a surefire bet to stick at the position and be an impact defender there.”

2024 MLB Draft Still Up in the Air

In general, this draft is not considered strong, and is interesting because it lacks a consensus No. 1 pick, with any of a handful of players pegged as possibilities to go to Cleveland, where the Guardians pick first. College position players are expected to be the big lure early on.

Travis Bazzana of Oregon State is emerging as one of the more consistent picks for the top overall slot, and was the pick of both and Baseball America, but he is no lock. has Georgia’s Charlie Condon listed as their No. 1 pick, and the closer we get to the draft itself, the more it appears to be a battle between Condon and Bazzana for the top overall spot.

There’s still plenty of time, of course—the college World Series is ongoing and the draft will not get started until July 14.


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