2026 Season Predictions – East Side Edition

Heartland League East Division

Regina Reapers (projected 5 th 62-100)
Another year, another new leader in Regina. Will Matt be Regina’s great savior? Time will tell.
Unfortunately, he has inherited a franchise with a very murky future. Regina finds itself in a situation
where in order to get wins, they might have to just flat outscore the other team. Lots of 10-8 games are
in their future. Having said that..they still have some firepower to do it with stalwart all-stars like
J.Kilpatrick and R.McGuire who can win games single-handedly for the team.

The Reaper’s pitching staff is currently in shambles…with team leader Strasburg still sidelined, the team
will have to look to Dylan Steen to represent as the ace of the staff (yes, the same Steen who had a 4.5+
ERA and lost 14 games last year). Ouch. The silver lining is that the organization currently has the 4 th
best prospect system and features a future ace in the making, Tomas Nunez. This kid can sling
it….hopefully Stras will take him under his wing and teach him everything he knows.

Due to the horrific pitching staff, this looks to be a long season for the Reapers, who should be “reaping”
many more losses than wins. Matt is a gamer though and I’m sure will turn this storied franchise around

Altoona Curve (projected 2nd , 86-76)
Shaping up to potentially be this season’s best or most tragic story, Toona’s fans couldn’t be more
excited to get this season started. JZ and crew have made a host of masterful additions, subtractions,
buyouts, backroom deals and at the end of the day, sold their soul to ensure winning now. This was a
team that at the all-star break last season looked like they had no plan…were they rebuilding, were they
committed…who knew? Clearly JZ knew…and he had already put the wheels in motion. To compliment
team ace A.Molina, Toona initiated some Harry Potter inspired magical trades to acquire top flight
starters, Shelby Miller and Cobi Johnson and then acquired top producer Martin Perez via free agency.

The Curve boasts an incredibly solid staff that should eat up innings and provide lots of quality starts.
Fellows and McKenzie are experienced relievers who should get the job done closing out games.

Pitching looks be this team’s strength.

The Curve offense might struggle at times though. The acquisition of all-star hitter Steve MacKinney
should help even out the streaky production of last year. Altoona’s main achilles heel is their lack of
depth… so injuries could devastate this team…and let’s face it, the team hasn’t had the best track record
for staying healthy. This is it…management is “all in” and put all their cards on the table…will it be
enough to bring home a cup?

Manchester Marauders (projected 3 rd , 83-79)
Those lovable Marauding Pirates…since owner, “Syvash the Sly” took over, the team always finds a way
to win. With 96 wins last season and 97 the year before, no other owner gets more out of their players
than Sy seems to get? The question sportswriters are asking all over Manchester though…how
committed is Sy to winning this season? The huge trade of RP A.Brantley and CF K.McKenzie signaled
that the team might be rebuilding? However rebuilding efforts seemed to stall when no deals were
made for other high profile players. The deals left many scratching their heads.

The Pirates still have arguably the best SP in baseball with B.Aiken leading their staff and possibly the
best 1-2 punch when you pair him with A.Hogan. Once you get past the first two though, things start to

get a little shaky with Sanchez, Stinson, Hart. There are going to be a lot of ups and downs on the nights
those three pitch. Lance de Jong was a late FA acquisition, but then got injured, so the jury is still out on
if he will contribute and make the team. B.Finnegan returns to hopefully give an encore performance of
his completely dominant closer role last year saving a league high 34 games with a 1.67 ERA. A.Reyes
should offer MAN a little flexibility and protection with his staff as well since Reyes has been productive
both as a starter and a reliever.

The Pirate offense mostly comes back intact from last year with superstars Steve Beck and Nicholas
Gordon poised to hit screamers all over the field, however the loss of defensive wiz K.Mckenzie in CF will
hurt…especially since there doesn’t seem to be an adequate replacement for him. If anyone can keep
this team in contention though, it will be Sy…who knows what tricks he has up his sleeve!

Mahoning Valley Scrappers (projected 1 st , 87-75)
The “Scrapper Curse” remains in full effect after another disappointing playoff stretch for the perennial
solid team. After last year’s final heartbreaking out, fans screamed and lobbied to bring back fan
favorite GM Duke…so, a change was made…Bob was out and Duke was back in…and there was much
rejoicing in Scrapper-land. Duke inherited a team with loads of talent but a financial mess, and the rest
of the league have anxiously followed his moves to see how the powerhouse will look this season.

The Scrappers still have hands-down the best rotation in baseball. The trio of Wheeler, Gillis and
Lawrence are awesome and would be aces on any other team. What happened to M.Piper? After a
long injury filled season last year, Piper doesn’t seem to be the same pitcher so far in 2026. Scrapper
faithful hopes he figures it out though as losing “Mr. Consistent” would be a big blow to the team and
the staff. Currently the 4 th and 5 th spot in the order look to be completely up for grabs and may end up
becoming a revolving door of pitchers if Duke starts to lose his patience or has an injury to one of the
three superstars.

League MVP Harold Castro will continue to lead a potent offense who has even more pop now via the
acquisition of catcher Luis Torrens. The heart of the order Torrens, Castro, Manning should be a
“murderer’s row” for any opposing pitcher this season. Barring any pitching collapses, the Scrappers
should make it to the postseason for a seventh year in a row…and then maybe lots of prayers and a
blood sacrifice to the CBL Gods…bring home their first cup? If not, some sort of financial unwinding and
rebuild might be right around the corner.

St. Louis Sultans (projected 4 th , 73-89)
Another year of bright hopes and dreams for the Sultan fans! Royce definitely has this franchise moving
in the right direction with 66 and 72 wins over the last two years. Is this the year that STL breaks
through and makes the playoffs? Will long time and beloved Sultan, E.Salcedo play his last inning this
season at Aladdin’s Lamp Park?

Unfortunately, I just don’t see the Sultans having enough firepower in an incredibly competitive division
to break through. Yes, Greg Nash is still an up and coming superstar…and yes, O.Cherry and E.Salcedo
leave the yard more than Dancouver compliments his own team..but it will take more than that for this
team to have sustained success. Royce has clearly focused on defense and made some great bargain
deals to bring in talent to try and round out a team who was woefully low on prospects a few seasons
ago. Acquisitions of C N.Ciuffo and IF JP Crawford could prove to be sneaky good as the season

STL is going to have to bash their way to victories as their pitching staff looks to be mediocre up and

down the staff. E.Conklin has shown signs of brilliance, but his 6.3 BB/9 walk ratio is very
worrisome..especially in a park where baserunners tend to score…a lot. If JJ Abiram could find his old
form that would be incredibly helpful to this staff. The uncertainty around T.Baldwin’s injury has the
training staff spooked since Baldwin was slated to be the team’s stopper.

Things are definitely on the rise though within the Sultan organization. The trade of top SP prospect
G.Boyle for a golden bag of top prospects is already starting pay dividends as SS I.Avitia looks to make
the team out of spring training and the highly talent infused Sultan rookie ball team last year played for
the championship.

Frontier League East Division

Connecticut Colonials (projected 74-88)
What is trending in CONN? Wins, that’s what. In consecutive years CONN has posted 64, 71, 77 wins.
Can they get to .500 ball this year…only a few seasons away from when they lost 113 games? Probably
not…but CONN keeps proving the naysayers wrong each year.

The heart and soul of the team is E.Encarnacion, who at 25 years old, still hasn’t entered his prime. His
40 homer, 100 RBI season inspired the team this past year as well as LF Joe Donaldson’s play, who was
equally as good having 222 hits on the season and leading the league in triples. As awesome as these
two players are, CONN still suffers from not having enough talent up and down the lineup. The
acquisition of Gallo and Gilliam added more batting dps, but this team still needs help at multiple
positions to win on a consistent basis.

Cingrani had a stellar year in 2025 winning 15 games with a league high 10.2 Ks/9 ratio. At 36 though,
can he repeat the performance? The staff of Cingrani, Wacha, Miller, Bailey and Barnes won’t strike fear
into the hearts of many hitters, however this rag tag group pulled together pretty well last year and will
surely surprise some teams this season. Josh Outman was a cagey bargain basement buy in free agency
and should close out games nicely for the Colonials. Clearly the Colonials are on the right path..however
more hard work lies ahead before this team becomes a contender.

Traverse City Bullet Club (projected 3rd , 84-78)
GM Scott Entsminger is probably best known for his successful marketing and management of the
Traverse City WWF, but in his spare time, he also runs the Bullet Club..and has had quite a bit of success
over the years. TC always seems to be in the mix, and this year should be no different.

In Rodon he trusts, and who wouldn’t, Rodon has been the model of a consistent workhorse on the
mound ranking in the top top 5 for ERA over his last six years. Last year saw Rodon have his first injury
plagued season where he was forced to miss a few months of work…and TC missed him terribly. He will
need to stay healthy if TC has much of a chance this season, especially since the rest of the starting staff
is made up of unproven arms. B.Nelson was brought over via a trade with hated rival NSH to see if the
new venue might give him new life. Home grown Chris Hood has shown sparks of brilliance followed by
long stretches of mediocrity…he is going to have to find his stride this season. The other two spots are

open for competition in spring training, but will most likely be Monoah, Cole or young prospect Collins.
TC vet Paco Rodriguez is back and looking as nasty as ever to close out games. He will be paired up with
super prospect Ben Pruitt who has featured electric stuff and should be fun to watch this season.

Speaking of super prospects and breakout years…2B Cisco Martinez! What a year he had in 2025
posting a 6.8 WAR blending power (20 homers) and speed (league leading 65 SBs). Cisco should lead a
very productive young offense of talented hitters. Don’t call Tremaine Spears a one dimensional
defensive wizard…this guy can hit and should be a hugely valuable asset to the team for his defensive
flexibility and pop with the bat. Former first round pick, LF Jack Reacher was a September callup last
season and has all the tools to give this lineup more punch and make his run for the ROY trophy.

If the pitching staff can find a way to keep games close, the defense and hitting could easily vault TC into
contention this season. If something happens to Rodon though…sell early.

Charlotte Knights (projected 1 st , 95-67)
Easily the most talented team on paper within the division. After their championship season, and much
to the chagrin of the FL, Matt has CHR back and basically intact. The window is quickly closing though
and Matt has made it no secret he plans to win back to back titles before this team gets ravaged by free
agency and will require a financial overhaul.

Star catcher, Jop Ruttman’s breakout season helped provide the catalyst that Charlotte’s offense needed
last year to take them to the top..and he will be back and ready to prove last year wasn’t a fluke. Taking
his place along side perennial all-stars Don Smith, Chase Strumpf, Mason Templet and Justin
Williams…this offense will give opposing pitching staff’s nightmares and should lead the league in many
offensive categories.

The pitching staff is also stacked featuring Machamer as the ace, followed by Campbell, Johnson and
Mondile. The fifth spot is up for grabs during spring training with Erlin or Nola as the odds on favorite
for winning the spot. Taking the ball in the middle innings and closing it out shouldn’t be a problem for
this team either as A.Alexander is a proven productive reliever…however he was potentially overworked
last season tossing over 100 innings. Arroyo, Powers and Storen are all experienced and could easily
step into the “stopper” role if Alexander falters or gets injured.

It’s hard not be overwhelmed with the talented lineup at Charlotte, however sometimes too many star
players have trouble working together as a team and we saw the Knights struggle at times last year
limping in the playoffs as a wildcard..and then eventually winning the cup. This team is poised to repeat.

Erie Seawolves (projected 2 nd , 87-75)
Ahhh, everyone’s favorite mascot…the adorable and lovable Seapup! A franchise that in 2023 LOST 99
games only to win the cup the following year! Troj is the epitome of a “wheelin and dealin” owner and
the hero of Erie, however the Seapup party was derailed in the postseason last year and now the team is
wrought with question marks at various positions and is rumored to be under federal investigation for
accounting fraud.

The Pups’ pitching staff will still feature league ace T.Kolek as its leader, followed closely by Altoona
acquisition J.Estrada. Estrada never felt comfortable in his new surroundings last year though, posting a
5+ ERA which was significantly higher than any of his previous professional seasons. Sources say he has
been working hard over the offseason though and plans to return to form for the 2026 season. The rest

of the staff looks solid with Ball, McKinney and Baker, all whom are experienced and productive.
Slamming the door on teams this season will be Shura Darchiashvili, who at 23 years old should only
improve on last year’s success. The team’s wildcard might be Vitor Palmeira…will he start or relieve and
will he have the same success he did last year posting a 3.04 ERA over 112 IPs.

Wanna hear a line that haunts pitcher’s dreams, “next up, Andy Ramsey”. Slashing a .336/.406/.562 last
season, Ramsey should lead the Pups offense again this season and is the engine that propels the team
forward. Along with Masuda, Chavez, Franco and OF top prospect Jesus Rodriguez, the Pup’s lineup is
brimming with talent.

Breaking News: Reports from the Seapup spring training camp have listed that many players have come
into camp out of shape and unprepared for the new season. Masuda and Taillon were two players that
many onlookers have stated looked overweight and out of breath during warm up drills, and if they
can’t find their midseason form quickly, the Pups might struggle out of the gate.

Nashville Outlaws (projected 4th 82-80)
For the last six seasons the Outlaws have alternated making the playoffs in odd years and missing in
even years. Can they break the pattern this year? If you ask the Nashville faithful (and we did) it is
about a 50/50 split on who thinks they will have success.

Newly acquired Jim Beauregard will anchor the staff this season coming off two very productive years
for Bullet Club. Comeback of the year candidate, Jake Odorizzi was unstoppable last season, however at
36 years old is a safe to slide some this season. Rounding out the rest of the staff will be workhorse and
innings eater Kevin Beach, sneaky good Bob Underwood and RP/SP Piglet Salgado. Lots of upside with
the staff, however they look to be streaky and the fans will have to weather some terrible outings during
the season. Relief pitching will not be a strength for the Outlaws and many pundits scratched their
heads over why management didn’t pursue some of the top relievers available via free agency.

Overused reliever K.Weisenberg is slated to be the stopper again this season. He lead the league in
saves, however also posted a 3.50 ERA and 11 losses. Outside of Weisenberg, things get dicey and
exciting when the ball is given to any of the other relievers. Fans will have to hope that the starting staff
goes deep into games or management makes a move or two to acquire a setup arm for the pen.

Perennial all-stars Seth Beer, Carlos Correa and Ryan Leckich headline a productive offense that plays
good defense and can hit to all parts of the park. Top prospect catcher Jeremy Fahnestock should get
the opening day nod and will be in any conversation for ROY. Unfortunately, Nashville has very little
depth on their CBL roster, and outside of Fahnestock, has one of the worst minor league systems. Scott
Peezy is venturing into a delicate balancing act on keeping his team in contention this year while also
trying to prepare for inevitable injuries and the future.

Currently Nashville is one of those teams that will ebb and flow through streaks through the year and if
they peak at the right time, should absolutely be in contention.

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