Following a fantastic season for the Bears as a graduate transfer, outfielder Kade Kretzschmar will be moving on to the big leagues after being signed by the St. Louis Cardinals as an undrafted free agent Saturday.
After transferring from Dartmouth, where he played only three seasons due to COVID-19, Kretzschmar took some time to adjust to the West Coast, hitting just .197 in the first 21 games of the season. The rust wouldn’t stay on forever, though, as in the remaining 31 games, the lefty slugger hit .391.
Kretzschmar was unstoppable in April, batting at a blistering rate of .462. He had 12 multi-hit games over the course of April, and a eight-game hitting streak in the middle of the month. Kretzschmar’s contribution to the team was acknowledged on a national scale, as he received National Player of the Week honors April 17, becoming the first Cal player to do so since Andrew Vaughn in 2019.
As the dust settled on the season, Kretzschmar ended up with a .999 OPS, the highest of any Cal batter, to go a team-leading 29 extra-base hits. He was one of three players to start all 52 games for Cal and was one of two players named to the Pac-12 All-Conference team.
A big reason Kretzschmar likely slipped off draft boards was due to his age — having turned 23 this past June, he is older than most amateur prospects being drafted. However, the talent is clearly there, and it’s hard to argue against production.
Kretzschmar will now seek to rise through the ranks of the Cardinals’ farm system and earn the honor of stepping into the batter’s box at Busch Stadium.