The Fort Wayne TinCaps announced today they have reached an agreement with the San Diego Padres to renew their Player Development Contract through the 2016 season. Fort Wayne has been San Diego’s Class A affiliate in the Midwest League since 1999.
“We’re ecstatic to extend our terrific partnership with the Padres,” TinCaps President Mike Nutter said. “Our relationship with San Diego has been an essential part of the success we’ve had over the years as an organization in Fort Wayne.”
The two-year deal between the TinCaps and Padres will see their affiliation reach 18 years, tying it for the longest-lasting Minor League Baseball affiliation in San Diego history. Of the 16 teams in the Midwest League, currently, only the West Michigan Whitecaps have had a longer tenure in the league with their parent club, the nearby Detroit Tigers.
“The Midwest League is an important level for our player development, where players become first acclimated to a full season of professional baseball,” Padres Executive Vice President/General Manager A.J. Preller said. “We are fortunate to have such a strong, long-term relationship with Fort Wayne.”
The TinCaps, who won the 2009 Midwest League Championship, are coming off their sixth consecutive Midwest League Playoff appearance in 2014 and fourth straight trip to the Eastern Division Championship Series. Both of those marks are the longest running streaks in the league. Fort Wayne also reached the postseason five times as a Padres affiliate when they were nicknamed the Wizards.
Of the players currently on the Padres active roster, nine went through Fort Wayne during their Minor League careers: Jedd Gyorko, Will Venable, Tommy Medica, Rymer Liriano, Cory Spangenberg, Dale Thayer, Leonel Campos, Kevin Quackenbush, and Frank Garces. The last 11 Padres first-round or supplemental first-round picks to have signed with the organization have been sent to Fort Wayne.
In Fort Wayne franchise history, more than 130 players have gone on to reach the majors, with the majority of those players debuting in the show with San Diego.
“The Padres have the best affiliate in the Midwest League, hands down,” said Padres Vice President, Player Development Randy Smith. “The best fans, a tremendous ballpark at Parkview Field with the best playing surface, along with great ownership and leadership from Jason Freier and Mike Nutter. We are excited to continue our relationship with Fort Wayne.”
Not only did the TinCaps reach the playoffs again in 2014, the franchise also set new records for single game, regular season, and overall attendance.
During its association with the Padres, Fort Wayne has asserted itself as one of the best brands in all levels of Minor League Baseball. The TinCaps have received awards and recognition for everything from their ballpark experience to team logo to concessions to playing surface to team store and much more in between.
“Thanks to the Padres, we believe we’ve created a winning culture at Parkview Field,” Nutter said. “It’s been a great run for the TinCaps so far with San Diego and there’s no reason for that momentum to stop going forward.”