Name: Cael Brockmeyer
Age: 24 (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
Status: Rule 5 eligible after the 2016 season.
The Cubs thought enough of Cael Brockmeyer to invite the young backstop to spring training to help with the catching duties last spring. After an all-star first half at South Bend, Brockmeyer spent the rest of the season between Myrtle Beach, Tennessee and Iowa.
Brockmeyer’s tour around the Cubs affiliates last summer is not only a testament to his abilities and the confidence the Cubs brass entrust in him, it also exemplifies the Cubs ability to scout and draft high character individuals who have the maturity to handle the rigors of the minors.
A two-sport star at Avon Old Farms High School, Brockmeyer chose catcher’s gear over a hockey stick after attending the college prep school in Massachusetts. He hit .395 as a senior with four homers and decided to head west for his college career.
A first-team All-WAC selection for Cal Sate-Bakersfield his junior and final season, Brockmeyer started all 59 games, splitting time between first and catcher, hitting 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 batted.244 as a freshman in 42 games.
He opened some eyes in the Cape Cod League in 2012, hitting .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 four homers.
Brockmeyer signed shortly after the draft and instead of beginning his career in Mesa was shipped to Boise, going 1-for-4 with a double, and threw out a runner. While in the Northwest League, 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. A look into the future, Brockmeyer was promoted to AAA in early August 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 of .297/.366/.461 with 8 HR and 43 RBI. The 24-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.
Have catcher’s mitt, will travel. That was the battle cry for Cael Brockmeyer last summer after an All-Star first half at South Bend. In his third pro season, Brockmeyer completed the four affiliate shuffle, seeing action at each full-season level. His year started in South Bend with a walk-off homer on opening night to celebrate the Cubs first game as a South Bend affiliate. Brockmeyer earned Midwest League player of the week honors for April 9-19 and was also selected to the MWL All-Star game. In 63 games at South Bend, the backstop hit .274/.356/.414 with 16 2B, 5 HR and 33 RBI before earning a promotion to Myrtle Beach on June 29. That set off a wild month that saw Brockmeyer head to AA on July 4, off to Iowa on July 10, back to Tennessee on July 12, another trip to Iowa on July 16 and then finally back to Myrtle Beach on July 20 where he spent the rest of the season. He played in seven AA games (5-for-21) and smacked his first Southern League homer and was 1-for-8 in five games at Iowa. Ending up the year in Myrtle Beach for the title run, Brockmeyer appeared in 36 games, batting .217/.423/.342 with 3 HR and 24 RBI. Between the four levels, Brockmeyer logged 517 innings behind the plate and threw out 19 runners (22%).
Tools and 2016 Outlook
Despite being 6-foot-5, Brockmeyer does a good job at providing a low target and blocking balls but does take a little extra time getting off a throw to second. His strong, accurate arm make up for this deficiency but he continues to work on his footwork behind the plate. Helping with solid organizational depth behind the plate, Brockmeyer has an advanced approach from the right side of the plate with good game power, sporting a career .269/.350/.404 slash in 755 at-bats over three seasons. Hard to project where catchers will start but its likely Brockmeyer begins the season back in Myrtle Beach to continue with his development plan but rest assured he’s only a phone call away from Tennessee or Iowa.