SOUTH BEND — To say Cael Brockmeyer is the hottest South Bend Cub of the young baseball season would not be hype.

Following the same routines he honed under the Arizona sun during spring training, the big catcher/first baseman has been tearing up the Class-A Midwest League.

Going into play Saturday, April 18, Brockmeyer was leading the circuit in batting average (.467), hits (14) and on-base plus slugging or OPS (1.310).

The 6-foot-5, 235-pound Brockmeyer introduced himself to South Bend fans in a big way Thursday, April 9, when he led off the bottom of the ninth inning and belted the first pitch for a walk-off home run before an opening-night record crowd of 7,086.

Brockmeyer was batting No. 8 in the South Bend order in the opener, but has since been a fixture in the No. 4 slot while rotating every other game between catcher and first base, something he did in his days at Cal State University-Bakersfield and as a professional. The all-Western Athletic Conference player was drafted by the Chicago Cubs in the 16th round of the 2013 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft.

Brockmeyer helped the Kane County Cougars hoist the Midwest League championship trophy in 2014 while hitting .297 with eight homers and 43 runs batted in during the regular season. But since Kane County never made the trek to South Bend, his first peek at Four Winds Field came a few days before the opener.

“The facilities on (the Eastern Division) of the (Midwest League) are really good,” Brockmeyer said. “It’s almost a big league experience in A ball.”

Owing much to the tee and flip drills performed each day in the new South Bend Cubs Performance Center, the 23-year-old Brockmeyer has focused on technique.

“I’ve been looking for ‘hit’ spots out in front of the plate and staying with that approach while keeping my hands inside the ball,” Brockmeyer said before the Saturday game which was played before a franchise-record 7,575 at Four Winds Field. “It’s going well.”

Brockmeyer, a physical education and kinesiology major at Bakersfield, said working on his flexibility and agility has also helped him excel, especially as a big man who is called up regularly to squat behind the plate.

“Stretching is a big thing for me,” Brockmeyer said. “Getting good rest always helps.

“It’s definitely a learning process coming into pro ball where you play every day. You’ve got to listen to your body.”

“Big Brock” also does yoga and uses foam rollers to keep himself ready to play.

Brockmeyer is currently making his mark in the Midwest, but he knows a few things about both sides of the country. He was born in San Diego. As a youngster, his family moved to New England and he graduated from high school in Connecticut. When college baseball looked like a possibility, he chose to play where it’s warm.

But he still has a warm spot in his heart for an ice-cold game.

Brockmeyer was a defenseman in hockey, an enforcer who played on the point and took a few “wicked slap shots.”

While he doesn’t throw elbows or make checks, he does take the same kind of tough-guy mentality to the baseball field.

“You want to have that chip on your shoulder or edge when you’re playing and be a little angry,” Brockmeyer said. “You’re competing against that pitcher.”

His favorite hockey team?

The Boston Bruins, of course.

Though Boston missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs this year, Brockmeyer is hopeful.

Cam Neely is still the president,” Brockmeyer said. “He’s a pretty smart, savvy hockey guy so, hopefully, he’ll get us back on track.”

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.