Share This Post

CBL Predictions

Season Preview and Predictions (FL East)

Season Preview and Predictions  (FL East)

Erie Seawolves

Last year 4th in FL East 66-96

Predicted Finish in 2022……..4th 75-87

Erie showed progress this year gaining five more wins over last year, however owner Doug “Troj” Trojanowski was not pleased with the results. After making the decision a year ago to bring in loads of young talent through a fire sale of veterans and let the players grow into their roles, Troj seems to be losing his patience and would like to see the team rise to relevancy quickly. Troj has a masterful blueprint developed in his mind of how he wants his team to play…however many owners have been left scratching their heads on what that blueprint might create.

Lineup

One thing is for certain, some tragic stories have happy endings…case in point, Jameson Taillon. After suffering a virtual career ending injury a few years ago, Taillon has emerged as a top echelon reliever/closer and became one of the highest paid free agents this offseason getting almost $25 million per year for 5 years. The highlight of the team is the combination of Thatcher Brown, Taillon, Justin Smith and Kevin Hudson who represent a shut down, start the bus and throw away the keys kind of bullpen. The starters aren’t as strong but have high upside potential and could potentially break out this year. Odorizzi has strung together two solid iron man type seasons and should anchor the staff, Fellows, Hunter, McKinney and Henson all have the stuff to be great and have shown streaks of brilliance followed by stretches of mediocrity. If this team gets off to a fast start and the team can stay focused, look out. Offensively the Seawolves should change their name to the Seapups. The lineup features very little bite with no players featuring plus-plus home run potential. The pups are going to have to rely heavily on small ball and pitching brilliance to win games, and I just don’t see that happening on a consistent basis for them yet.

Down on the Farm

One of the best off season moves by the pups was to acquire Shura Darchiashvili. Shura looks to be a legit future closer or setup man and just needs time to develop. International focus has been around Venezuelan phenom Pepe Rivera who signed with the team two years ago. Pepe should be making the jump to minor league action this year and will bring a sweet swing and good eye to Spokane or St. Paul.

Notable Free Agent Signings

RF Jose Tabata 1yr/$2,000,000

1B Pablo Sandoval 3yr/$19,590,000

CL Jameson Taillon 5yr/$120,250,000

Trades

ERIE – CF Joe Garrett – CON RP Quinn Brodey, SP Joe Chesley

ERIE – RP Thatcher Brown, SS Ed Penn – ALT SS Justin Lavey, SS Cole Stobbe, RP Jesus Dominguez

ERIE – SP Jake Odorizzi, C Octavio Ramirez – CHR LF Dominique Jackson

ERIE – SP McKinney – STL SP Dyrda, DH Freeman, C Ramirez, RP O’Farrell

ERIE – SP Shura Darchiashvilli – COL RP Austin Bergner, RP Chris Kohler, LF Yong-seung Shin

 

Nashville Outlaws

Last year 2th in FL East 83-79

Predicted Finish in 2022……..3rd 81-81

Last year was an incredibly exciting and emotional roller coaster for the Outlaws. The playoff chase was crazy as Nash imploded and then recovered to make the playoffs for the first time in five seasons. Once in the playoffs

though, the team became re-energized and played tough throughout. 2022 should be an interesting and pivotal year for the club as they are at a crossroads of development. Losing team comedian and role model Prince Fielder to free agency might hurt the clubhouse cohesiveness as well as losing hard-nosed overachieving Christian Yelich. Neither player was a superstar, but they each seemed to get hits at the right time, extend rallies and help “will” the team wins. Scott “Peezy” Patterson has a gameplan for this club and has increased their win total every year for the last three seasons…it is a nice trend that I’m sure he hopes will continue.

Lineup

Pitching is clearly not the strength of the Outlaws. Nash spat out a team ERA of 4.62 last year which was the highest in franchise history and clearly an offseason focus. Taijuan “Skywalker” was paid well in the offseason and will be expected to anchor this year’s staff. Nash’s other FA acquisition SP Corbin should build on his nice season with rival SD last year. The rest of the staff is clearly under scrutiny and I imagine Peezy will be keeping a short leash on his staff until they prove reliability. On the offensive side of the ball, Nashville can do some damage. Perennial all-star Scooter Gennett will lead a nice group of experienced hitters and should be an offensive force within the FL East division. One particular player to watch is young OF Seth Beer. Seth was highly touted throughout the minors and rushed to the CBL level where he struggled to hit breaking balls and barely finished over the Mendoza line in hitting, however he still managed a .317 OBP and plays excellent defense, definitely a player on the rise. Projecting a leap forward this year for the Outlaws is tricky. Other teams in their division seem to have taken bigger steps forward in acquiring talent and the suspect pitching staff might land this team below .500 for the first time in 3 seasons.

Down on the Farm

Dominican little league MVP Robinson Castaneda has continued to mature and signed with Nashville back in 2019. He should be making his minor league debut this season and definitely a player to follow. Another intriguing player who has 5-tools is 2B Dansby Swanson. Dansby is a wiz with the glove, could steal 30 bases and has pop in his bat. He had a nice mini-breakout year last year across two teams in AA and should be ready for a callup soon.

 

Notable Free Agent Signings

SP Taijuan Walker 5yr/$112,500,000

SP Patrick Corbin 4yr/$26,000,000

Trades

NASH – SP Victor Arano – STL RF Almonte

 

Charlotte Knights

Last year 1st in FL East 97-65

Predicted Finish in 2022……..1st 104-58

Head of the class for the FL East. Over the last seven seasons Charlotte has either won or finished second in the division and has made the playoffs for six seasons in a row. Last year they set franchise records in wins, batting average, attendance, payroll and most fans knocked up during the season. So what keeps team owner Matt Wells up at night? The fact he has done his job too well….the Knights are brimming with talented players….it’s like being the Bachelor and getting your choice of 14 gorgeous women…which one do you pick? They ALL think they are the prettiest and deserve to be put into the lineup. Clearly a good problem for any owner to have.

Lineup

In 2021, Don Smith finished his first full CBL year and surpassed the hype that has followed him throughout his career. With a slash line of .277/.356/.477, Smith hit 29 HRs and had 100 RBIs…and he should only get better. At 23, Smith’s power totals should increase and it is hard not to see him as the perennial MVP favorite for the forseeable future. With only 2 positional players over 30 (Arnaud 33 and Cabrera 38)…the Rise of the Dark Knights has just begun. The pitching staff is almost as stacked with veteran Sale as the ace and mentor for super phenom

Chris Machamer (front runner for 2022 rookie of the year). The bar has been set extremely high for the Knight’s staff and team by both fans and critics alike, and if a cup isn’t brought home soon heads might begin to role in the home office.

Down on the Farm

With so many great young players, the Knights farm system continues to be one of the best in the league. 2B Leonardo Caneque has shown scouts that he might be ready to take a leap forward in ability soon. Leo got better after his promotion to AA last year and has a nice combination of speed and hitting discipline. Dominican standout Juan Santos entered the CHR international complex with a lot of raw talent and it will be interesting to see if he can be developed.

 

Notable Free Agent Signings

SP Ross Ismail 5yr/$79,350,000

CF Juan Reyes 5yr/$25,000,000

1B Miguel Cabrera 3yr/$15,900,000

Trades

CHR LF Dominique Jackson – ERIE SP Odorizzi, C Ramirez

CHR 1B Steve Hudson – STL CF Zamora

CHR C Alfaro, RP Irvin – AUS 3B McMahon, RP Chamberlain

 

Connecticut Colonials

Last year 5th in FL East 49-113

Predicted Finish in 2022……..5th 57-105

Connecticut took a step back in its second CBL year and some hard decisions were made regarding the franchise future. The first to be fired was scouting director Ki-chun Ahn and then the bench coach who was replaced by Spanish speaking Pancho Rodriguez. Kris Kline took over the team’s scouting and the Colonials seem to be a better place now. During the offseason, the team signed multiple international players, claimed players of the waiver wire and brought in some much needed veteran leadership and talent. Can owner Dallis Gagne stay patient, or will he succumb to fans wanting a quick team turnaround? When asked about his team’s future, Dallis was quoted saying, “It’s no debate that Connecticut has had a lot of problems in its first couple year in the CBL, but with the acquisition of some veteran players capable of leading the team and some young talent not far from achieving their fullest potential you will certainly stop sleeping on the Colonials in the next few seasons to come!.” One burning question remains…Should super phenom Encarnacion be kept, or dealt for a package of talent that would help this team across multiple areas?

Lineup

Joe Donaldson continues to be the face of the Colonials franchise and a bright spot amongst an embattled team. At 24 years old, Joe still has room to grow and should only get better under the proper coaching. This winter, Dallis did a wonderful job of signing veteran talent to help his team progress forward while his prospects continue to mature. The Medlen signing might be brilliant if he can continue to perform the way he did with Austin last year. Posey is a grizzled veteran that young Colonial players might emulate, and Kyle Seager is a steady and consistent infield option. 1B Isiah Gilliam had a breakout season in 2021 batting over .300 and looks to mature and build on his success in 2022. The Colonials continue to be talent poor across many positions which should keep this team from having consistent success, however Dallis has stayed committed to the fans and the team and will continue to build for the future.

Down on the Farm

Super phenom and “can’t-miss” prospect from 2021, Ernesto Encarnacion continues to gain experience and momentum. He played in three different levels over the course of the season and though not dominating any, gained a lot of experience. His high work ethic coupled with freakish defensive talent and quick bat make him one of the most sought after prospects.

 

Notable Free Agent Signings

C Buster Posey

SP Kris Medlen

SP Tyler Chatwood

3B Kyle Seager

Trades

CT RP Quinn Brodey, SP Joe Chesley – ERIE Joe Garrett

 

Traverse City Bullet Club

Last year 3rd in FL East 79-83

Predicted Finish in 2022……..2nd 83-79

Coming off a season of disappointment for TC in which the team finished with a losing record for only the second time in franchise history, team owner Scott Entsminger has been besieged by fans and local TC media. After winning the CBL cup in 2020, TC lost 23 more game and missed the playoffs for the first time in 6 seasons. Many amongst the media demanded answers, and felt that Scott was spending too much time away from the team with his other hobbies (owning a Japan Pro-Wrestling Club, his Japanese baseball team and vacationing at his summer cottage on the upper peninsula). “I might have lost focus over the past year, but I’m back and more committed than ever to a winning franchise!” says Entsminger. In a show of commitment and amidst a Michigan media circus, the team rebranded itself as the “Bullet Club”. Many insiders in the organization are speculating that Entsminger might be looking to merge his wrestlers and baseball players in some way through fitness programs or enhancement drugs…however nothing has been confirmed.

Lineup

After purging many aging TC stars last year (Taveras, Taillon, T.Walker) and refusing to bow to the demands of players on the verge of free agency (K.Bryant) the Bullet Club will have a completely new look this season. Franchise coverboy, Carlos Correa got paid in the offseason and will keep him around for the next six years as well as perennial all-star Rosell Herrera. TC is stacked with talent at most positions and opposing pitchers are going to find it tough dealing with this offense. T.Walker will clearly be missed in the starting rotation, however TC has depth to absorb his departure. Rodon continues to dominate as the ace of the staff and Entsminger plans to lean on Beauregard, Hood and the Rodriguez twins to eat up innings. “Paco-time” will continue to close games, however there is a big hole in talent during the middle innings that needs to be addressed. Erlin was a key FA signing to help, however the

lack of RP talent and shallow depth of starting pitching for this team is alarming and could end up keeping them out of the playoffs again.

Down on the Farm

Superstar prospect Cisco Martinez got his first cup of coffee this last year with TC, and though he didn’t impress is brimming with talent and expects to compete for a starting job out of spring training. RP Ben Pruitt has been masterful in his pro career upon signing with TC. At the age of 19, he has shown maturity well beyond his year and was promoted at light speed up through the organization. He hit a wall in AAA last year, however that should be a small blip in the road for this budding star.

Notable Free Agent Signings

RP Robbie Erlin 1yr/$800,000

Trades

TC SP Tomas Cordero – RC RF Jorge Soler

Share This Post

Trey Schalk
Trey Schalk | General Manager - Austin Bats

Leave a Reply

Skip to toolbar