Before the start of the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft, Andrew Kachel said it didn’t matter which team drafted him because he would be grateful either way.
But once the 2019 Christopher High graduate saw he had been selected by the team he grew up rooting for, the San Francisco Giants, he and those around him went bonkers. Kachel, who recently completed his junior season at Fresno State, went in the 16th round at 496th overall on July 19, the third and final day of the Draft.
“We all went nuts,” said Kachel, who was at his girlfriend’s uncle’s house in Gilroy with his closest family members and friends. “It’s something so special and surreal. My whole family was thinking about the Giants, but no one wanted to get their hopes up. You have 20 rounds and 30 teams drafting, and what are the odds I’m going to the Giants especially after my teammate (Zach Morgan) got drafted by the Giants (in the seventh round). But things ended up working perfectly for us.”
Kachel was initially disappointed after not being taken by the second day/10th round, because in a meeting with his advisors and agency, PSI Sports, Kachel was told there was a possibility he could go in rounds 6-10.
“It was getting kind of late (in the Draft), so I was getting a little worried and had some nerves,” he said. “So when day two passed, I was feeling pretty discouraged and defeated. It was a tough and long first two days, just a waiting game. Teams prepare their draft boards months in advance and things didn’t go my way, but I still got my name called at the end of the day. Beggars can’t be choosers and I’m just excited to start playing professional baseball.”
Kachel’s start in the professional ranks could be imminent. He expects to sign a contract within the next week and start playing with one of the four Giants Rookie Ball teams in Arizona. Even though Kachel still has two years of athletic eligibility remaining at Fresno State—which he credited for helping him to develop into a MLB draftee—he is itching to start his pro career.
“I’m so glad I chose Fresno State because I wouldn’t be here without those guys,” Kachel said. “But it’s time for me to grow some more and really focus on being a full-time professional athlete. In my heart, I knew if I got drafted, I was 100% going to play professional baseball. I wasn’t going back to school. I’m ready for it.”
Kachel played a couple of infield positions at Fresno State, but is classified as a second baseman. The 6-foot, 170-pounder has a sweet left-handed swing which helped him post three productive seasons at the Division I level.
In the 2022 season, Kachel started 52 games and tied for first on the team with 11 home runs, was second on the team in runs scored (42), with nine triples and a .954 OPS. He posted similar numbers as a sophomore in 2021, and he credited Fresno State coach Mike Batesole—the only college coach to offer him a scholarship—for helping him develop a professional hitting approach and driving home the importance of always mentally being in the game.
“As a young hitter you go up there and you see it and hit it,” Kachel said. “But the higher in level you go up, the faster the pitches get and the tighter the break gets on curveballs. You can’t just rely on the see it and hit it approach. You can’t be thinking about your mechanics up there. You have to be really dialed in and have an approach and really study the pitcher from the dugout.
“His arm slot angle, what he’s throwing, how he’s pitching to us. And when you’re up to bat, you make your own decisions. Jump on the fastball or jump on the curve? Swing at the first pitch or not? I know that much so what will a professional coach have to say, what can a coach from the Giants offer to me to switch things around and possibly make me an even better hitter? That’s what I want to find out.”
Kachel was a key player on the 2019 Christopher High team that won the program’s first-ever Central Coast Section championship. That roster was experienced and loaded with talent, with at least four players going on to play at the two- or four-year level.
Now he is believed to be the first player out of CHS to get drafted. He got it done with a work ethic second to none. After taking a brief break from baseball-related activities upon the conclusion of the college season, Kachel spent the last month training at KPI in Morgan Hill to prepare himself for any pre-draft workouts and the start of his pro career.
“KPI had the perfect setup with cages, coaches, everything needed to keep my swing ready and my arm healthy,” he said. “That way when I go to Rookie Ball, I’m not far behind.”
Kachel had a bat in his hands when he was 2 and never stopped loving the sport. He grew up going to Giants games so once the news got out, he was inundated with calls and texts congratulating him on his achievement.
It’s a moment Kachel will never forget, but now he’s past that euphoric high and ready to get to work.
Sports editor Emanuel Lee can be reached at [email protected]