There is discussion that the Normal CornBelters (independent; Frontier League) may move to the summer-collegiate Prospect League for 2019, but the club has not made a final decision.
The CornBelters began Frontier League play in 2010, but there have been discussions of a league change in recent years. Reports surfaced in 2017 that the club was weighing a possible move to either summer-collegiate or affiliated baseball, with summer-collegiate a possibility as early as 2018, but the CornBelters ultimately announced last September that they would remain in the Frontier League for 2018.
That decision did not negate the possibility of a future league change, however, so there are still questions about whether the CornBelters will switch circuits ahead of next season. The summer-collegiate Prospect League has been identified as a possible alternative to the Frontier League, but CornBelters president Steve Malliet says that the club has not made a final decision. More from The Pantagraph:
Indications continue to be strong that the CornBelters will leave professional independent baseball to join the summer collegiate ranks of the Prospect League for next season.
In response to an email inquiry, Normal team president Steve Malliet said Wednesday that “no final decision has been made.”
When asked when he anticipated that decision would be finalized, Malliet replied, “I am hoping soon.”
A source told The Pantagraph that Normal did not have a representative at the Frontier League meetings earlier this week.
The Prospect League currently stands at 10 teams for 2019. It competed with 11 in 2018, but the Kokomo Jackrabbits are moving to the Northwoods League and the Butler BlueSox announced in August that they were seeking a new league. The Cape Catfish (Cape Girardeau, MO) is on tap to begin Prospect League play next year.
As for the Frontier League, it fielded 12 teams in 2018, but it was learned this week that the Traverse City Beach Bums are not returning for 2019. An investment group led by the West Michigan Whitecaps (Low A; Midwest League) has purchased Traverse City’s Wuerfel Park, and will put a summer-collegiate Northwoods League team there next season.