Walker Janek Wins Prestigious Buster Posey Award

Bearkat Baseball Featured Articles News Sam Houston Athletics Sam Houston State University News Sports

Sam Houston’s standout catcher honored as the nation’s top collegiate catcher at the Greater Wichita Sports Banquet

Press Release from GoBearkats.com

WICHITA, Kan. – Sam Houston catcher Walker Janek was named the Buster Posey National Collegiate Catcher of the Year on Wednesday by the Wichita Sports Commission, receiving the award given out at the Greater Wichita Sports Banquet held at the Intrust Bank Arena. 

The award honors the nation’s top collegiate catcher for the 2024 season. A selection committee made up of Division I Baseball Coaches, Sports Information Directors and Major League Scouts voted upon the three finalists.  

Janek was joined by NC State’s Jacob Cozart and Cal Poly’s Ryan Stafford as the three finalists. The trio, along with the award’s namesake, Buster Posey, took part in multiple events throughout the day leading up to the banquet, including a catcher’s clinic with local youth and a visit to a local children’s hospital. 

Originally named for Johnny Bench, the award was renamed in honor of Posey in 2019. He won the award in 2008 after his junior season at Florida State and went on to play 12 seasons with the San Francisco Giants, winning three World Series titles. A seven-time all-star and five-time Silver Slugger winner, Posey was named the National League MVP in 2012 and Rookie of the Year in 2010. 

Janek is the first Bearkat to be named a finalist for the award and is seeking to become the second player from Conference USA to win it. The other winner from CUSA came in 2006 when East Carolina’s Jake Smith claimed the honor. 

A projected first-round pick in July’s MLB Draft, Janek will be looking to continue a streak of Buster Posey Award winners being selected in the first round. Eight of the last 11, including each of the last five, of the award followed the honor by being selected in the first round of the draft 

The honor adds to a long list of recognition for the junior from Portland for the 2024 season. He was named the CUSA Defensive Player of the Year and to the league’s first team at the conclusion of the season.  

Additionally, he has been named to the all-America first team by Baseball America, the ABCA and Perfect Game. He was named a semifinalist for the Dick Howser Trophy and the Golden Spikes Award and was one of three finalists for a Rawlings Gold Glove.  

Janek posted an impressive offensive stat line in 2024 and finished in the top three in CUSA in OPS (On-Base + Slugging) with a 1.185 mark, anchored by 15 doubles, 17 home runs and a league-high five triples. He hit .368 for the season with 58 RBI while also ranking fifth in walks and sixth in runs scored. 

Those offensive numbers were bolstered even further by what he did behind the plate where he almost singlehandedly eliminated opponent’s running games in 2024, throwing out 16 of 31 (51.2 percent) attempted base stealers this season with a pair of pickoffs.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *