A lot of talk about Cubs catching prospects in 2014. Will Remillard was Cubs Minor League Player of the Month for April and the Cubs used their first and third round draft picks to select a pair of college backstops in Kyle Schwarber and Mark Zagunis. However, one guy over shadowed by all the hype was Cael Brockmeyer, who helped lead Kane County to the best record in professional baseball.
Cael Brockmeyer, C
Age: 23 (10/8/1991)
How acquired—Drafted in the 16th round in 2013 (#468 overall) out of Cal State-Bakersfield. Scouted by Tom Myers. Signed 6/18/2013.
2014 Team: Kane County, Midwest League, Low-A, (77 G, .297/.366/.461, 8 HR, 43 RBI)
Prior to Cubs
A first-team All-WAC selection, Brockmeyer started all 59 games for CSU-Bakersfield his junior year, splitting time between first and catcher. He hit 330/.416/.480 with a team-high 13 2B, 4 HR, and 51 RBI. As a sophomore, Brockmeyer slugged a team-high 6 HR and 32 RBI, hitting .285, and hit .244 as a freshman in 42 games.
He opened some eyes in the Cape Cod League in 2012, batting .278 with five homers and 13 RBI for the Cotuit Kettlers. The summer of 2011 was spent in the Alaska Baseball League where he was named the all-star game’s MVP and led the Glacier Pilots with 4 HR. Brockmeyer prepped at Avon Old Farms High School in Massachusetts, batting .395 with 4 HR as a senior. He was a two-time all-league player and a member of the hockey team.
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 logged 33 games, 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-for-4 with three RBI vs. Everett on July 19.
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 Chicago and Iowa. Brockmeyer spent nine days with I-Cubs 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 AAA debut.
In his first full season, Brockmeyer sat out the first month due to roster limitations, showed up at the park every day for work, and waited for his opportunity. By the time the season ended, he was behind the plate for all seven playoff wins and finished the year with a slash line of .297/.366/.461 with 8 HR and 43 RBI. The 23-year-old showed good pull power but was also able to cut down on his swing when behind in the count and use right field. Brockmeyer hit for the cycle on June 29, completing the feat with a two-run triple to give the Cougars a 9-7 win over Beloit.
The Cal State-Bakersfield product caught 48 games (43 starts) for the Cougars, throwing out 22 percent of base stealers in 63 attempts. He was charged with three passed balls and committed seven errors (.982 FLD %). Kane County manager and former big leaguer Mark Johnson said Brockmeyer does a good job of presenting a low target despite his 6-foot-5 frame. Interview with Brockmeyer from this summer.
With a log jam of catchers at the lower levels, its hard to predict where Brockmeyer will start the season but he did nothing to hurt his advancement. Myrtle Beach should be his destination out of Mesa as he gets more opportunities to showcase his developing talents. Brockmeyer also showed some versatility, making six starts at first. While he still needs to improve his defensive skills, Brockmeyer is someone to keep an eye on moving forward in a crowded catcher position, especially if he continues to hit.