Cubs Prospects—Bruno, Brockmeyer, Burks

NorthSiders Report continues its way through the alphabet as we wrap up the "B"s including profiles on 2012 NWL batting champ Stephen Bruno as well as 2013 draft picks C Cael Brockmeyer and OF Charcer Burks.

Here's three more Cubs prospects to keep an eye on in 2014 and I've also included six more minor leaguers who's last name ends in "B".

Stephen Bruno, 2B
Age 23 (11/17/1990)
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
Height: 5-foot-9
Weight: 165

2013 Team: Daytona Cubs, Florida State League (A)

Northsiders Report 2014 Ranking—# 50

How acquired—Drafted in the 7th round in 2012, # 224 overall

Prior to Cubs
Bruno had an impressive high school and amateur career earning all-state honors his senior year and was named to the Rawlings Second-Team All-American and first-team all-region in 2009. He hit .545 as a junior and then batted .515 as a senior with 23 stolen bases at Gloucester Catholic HIgh School in Gloucester City, NJ, Ranked as the 87th best high school player in the 2009 draft by Perfect Game, Bruno was selected by the Yankees in the 26th round but headed to University of Virginia on a baseball scholarship.

His freshman year was highlighted by a 15-game hitting streak but he missed most of his sophomore year with an injury. Bruno really excelled his junior year, ending the year with a .366 average, third best in program history. He started 58 games at third and reached base safely in 56-of-59 games. Bruno capped off his college career getting named to the All-Regional team as he went 7-for-12 with six RBI at the Charlottesville Regional. After the Cubs took Albert Almora with their first pick in 2012, Bruno was the next position the Cubs selected breaking a streak of seven pitchers with the 224th overall pick.

Cubs Career
Bruno broke into pro ball with a bang as he won the Northwest League batting title, hitting .361 in 67 games for Boise and ending the season with a 22-game hitting streak. He knocked in 37 runs, ripped 19 doubles, and sported a .442 OBP. He also displayed his versatility in the field, splitting his time between 2B (17), 3B (19), SS (14) and eight games in the outfield. He earned Northwest League player of the week honors and was also recognized as a Cubs organizational all-star by MiLB.com.

2013 Season
After a solid spring training, Bruno skipped Kane County and started the season in the lineup at second for Daytona, and proved he belonged, hitting .363 in his first 19 games. Bruno missed nine days after being hit on the wrist with a pitch, came back, played two more games, and then went on the DL in early May. Bruno went to Mesa for rehab and it was discovered he would need Tommy John surgery. Hitting at the top of the order, Bruno had eight doubles and scored 16 runs for the D-Cubs. He spent the summer rehabbing in Mesa and saw game action at fall instructs.

2014 Outlook
Bruno has a compact swing, possess good base running skills, and continues to progress with his defense but where that development begins in 2014 in a good guess. Bruno could return to Daytona or may start the year in Kane County to get playing time at second. Gioskar Amaya is expected to start the year in Daytona and the Cubs need to get both prospects innings at second. It wouldn't surprise me if Bruno started the year at Kane County and then skipped Daytona and moved to AA at mid-season. Daytona isn't out of the question for both Amaya and Bruno due to Bruno's versatility.




Cael Brockmeyer, C
Age 22 (10/8/1991)
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
Height: 6-foot-5
Weight: 235

2013 Team: Boise Hawks, Northwest League (SS), Iowa Cubs, Pacific Coast League, (AAA)

Northsiders Report 2014 Ranking—Not rated

How acquired—Drafted in the 16th round in 2013, # 468 overall

Prior to Cubs
Brockmeyer started all 59 games for CSU-Bakersfield his junior year, splitting time between first and catcher. The first-team All-WAC selection hit 330/.416/.480 with a team-high 13 2B, 4 HR, and 51 RBI. He only threw out 17 percent of base runners (6-36) and was charged with 12 passed balls. As a sophomore, Brockmeyer smacked a team-high six HR and 32 RBI, hitting .285, and played in 42 games his freshman season, batting .244.

He also drew some attention during the summer of 2012 at the Cape Cod League hitting .278 with five homers and 13 RBI for the Cotuit Kettlers. In the sumer of 2011 he participated in the Alaska Baseball League and was named the all-star game's MVP and led the Glacier Pilots with four homers. He played his prep ball at Avon Old Farms High School in Massachusetts, hitting .395 with four homers as a senior. He was a two-time all-league player and was also a member of the hockey team.

2013 Season
Brockmeyer signed shortly after the draft and made his pro debut June 21, catching for Boise in the Northwest League. He went 1-4 with a double and threw out a base runner. He played 33 games for Boise, 20 behind the plate, hitting .271/.355/.336 with 14 RBI, 20 runs and was hit by seven pitches. He had his best game of the season going 3-4 with three RBI vs. Everett on July 19. He had to sit out a week after suffering a concussion when he was hit in the head with a ball.

The highlight of his season came in early August when he was promoted to AAA Iowa to fill an emergency role due to injuries at in Chicago and at Iowa. Brockmeyer spent nine days with Iowa and was behind the plate for two games, handling six different pitchers in his first game. He went 1-3 and was hit by a pitch in his AA debut and in his second game, caught Zach Rosscup and Alberto Cabrera, who were both promoted to Chicago in September.

2014 Outlook
The Cubs minor league staff thought enough of the 16th round pick to send him to AAA and handle major league ready arms in his first pro season. In a system void of top catching prospects, Brockmeyer could move up the organization depth chart if he proves he can play the position defensively. He should start the season in Kane County and may be in Florida by the end of the summer.




Charcer Burks, OF
Age 18, (3/9/1995)
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
Height: 6-foot
Weight: 170

2013 Team:Mesa Cubs, Arizona Rookie League, (R)

Northsiders Report 2014 Ranking—Not rated

How acquired—Drafted in the 9th round in 2013, # 258 overall

Prior to Cubs
A two-sport star in the Houston area, Burks made it clear to colleges he wanted to become a professional baseball player and that dream became a reality when the Cubs took him with the 258th pick. A two-time all-district first-team performer at shortstop, Burks played at Travis High School in Richmond, Texas, hitting .437 with 36 hits, 6 HR, 31 RBI, .827 SLG, and 20.22 SB. He also played football and was named to the 2012 5A All-District team as a cornerback and was considered one of the better defensive backs in the Houston area.

2013 Season
Burks made his pro debut for Mesa in the Arizona Rookie League July 1, entering the game as a pinch-hitter in the eighth (strikeout) and stayed in the game to play centerfield against the Dodgers. He recorded his first hit five days later vs. Rangers, a line drive single to right in his second start. Burks split his time in the outfield between center and left, and didn't commit an error in 29 games with 39 putouts. He did record a strikeout rate of 26.2% but did show some idea of the strike zone with a 8.2% walk rate. Burks put the ball in play, hitting .269/.344/641 in 31 games, driving in seven while scoring 13 times. Burks displayed his plus speed, stealing six bases on seven attempts. He finished up the year participating in fall instructs.

2014 Outlook
Burks is definitely a prospect to keep an eye on in 2014 as he's a long shot to start the year with Kane County, but look for Burks to get his chance playing centerfield for Boise. Its no secret the Cubs lack speed in the organization and if Burks can cut down on the swing-and-miss, should be able to utilize his speed. He also needs to continue to work on his defensive skills as he switches from short to the outfield.



Here a look at the rest of the "B"s

Jeffrey Baez, OF—Signed as a free agent in July of 2010, the 20-year-old Venezuelan hit .287/.357/.384 in the Arizona Rookie League with 25 SB in 45 games. Another one of the speedy young outfielders the Cubs have stockpiled in the lower levels.

Harrinson Bermudez—Appeared in 12 games in the VSL, posing a 2-1 record with a 6.58 ERA in 25.1 innings (18 BB/10K). Signed as a free agent in April of 2012, the 18-year-old Venezuelan spent his first pro year tossing 17.2 innings in the DSL.

David Bote—A Northwest League All-Star, Bote served as a minor league utility player to start the year, playing four games at Daytona (2-14), and 17 more at Kane County (7-49 1HR) before joining Boise to start the season. In 69 game with the Hawks, Bote hit .250/.337/.366 with six homers and six stolen bases. He played several positions, splitting time between second (25), third (20) and the outfield (20). Bote, 20, was a 18th round pick in 2012 out of Neosho Community College in Chanute, Kansas.

Tyler Bremer—A 27th round pick out of Baylor in 2012, Bremer led Boise in saves (7) in 2013 in 23 relief appearances. He fanned 48 in 29.1 innings, sported a 1.02 WHIP and finished with a 2.15 ERA. Bremer, 24, threw 17.1 innings in his first pro season between Mesa and Boise in 2012.

Zak Blair—A 20th round 2013 pick out of Mercyhurst College, Blair made his pro debut June 20 in the Arizona Rookie League going 1-4 vs. Angels. Blair spent the seaon with Mesa, hitting .226/.297/.283 in 30 games. The 24-year-old played all his games in the field at second.

Kevin Brown—Taken in the 22nd round in the 2013 draft, the Bryant College product made his debut June 21 as the left-handed hitting outfielder went 1-5 vs. D-backs. In 34 games in Mesa, Brown hit .230/.370/.336 with eight stolen bases (22BB/16K). He also played two games in the NWL in Vancouver when the Hawks needed extra players due to travel restrictions.


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