3 first-round draft prospects the Tampa Bay Rays could target

The MLB Draft begins on July 14. Here are three big time prospects the Tampa Bay Rays could target with their first-round pick.
Tampa Bay Rays v Baltimore Orioles
Tampa Bay Rays v Baltimore Orioles / G Fiume/GettyImages
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1. Walker Janek, Catcher, Sam Houston State

The Rays do not have a lot of viable catcher options outside of Dominic Keegan in the pipeline, and Ben Rortvedt is still a long-term question mark. Walker Janek out of Sam Houston State can change that. He is the 2024 winner of the Buster Posey Award, given to the best catcher in collge baseball.

Janek put up an incredible 2024 season at the plate with a .368 average and a slugging percentage up over .710. He had signs of power, hitting 17 home runs last season, and got on base almost half of the time he came up to bat. He also finished this past season with 58 RBI.

Catcher has always been a question mark position for Tampa Bay for quite some time since Christian Bethancourt left this past season for the Miami Marlins. Having a big time prospect like Janek at that position could represent a worthwhile project for the Rays to develop over time. This is the way Tampa Bay develops a lot of their talented players, and Janek can really fit into that mold.