FORT WAYNE, Ind. – The TinCaps have reached an agreement with the San Diego Padres to renew their Player Development Contract (PDC) through the 2018 season. Fort Wayne has been San Diego’s Midwest League affiliate since 1999.
“We’re truly thrilled to extend our partnership with the Padres,” TinCaps President Mike Nutter said. “In a lot of ways, we feel closer than ever to the great folks in San Diego, and this relationship has been mutually beneficial to both of us.”
The two-year extension stretches the affiliation to 20 years, which will be the longest-lasting Minor League Baseball affiliation in San Diego’s history. Within the 16-team Midwest League, only the West Michigan Whitecaps (Detroit Tigers) have a longer partnership with their MLB club.
As a result of recent trades, draft selections, and international free agent signings, ESPN has recently ranked San Diego’s farm system as the second best in all of baseball. According to MLB.com, the Padres have four of the game’s top 100 prospects, including current TinCaps starting pitcherAnderson Espinoza (No. 16).
“Fort Wayne has consistently proven to be an important step in the careers of current Padres and prospects alike, and we are thrilled to continue our relationship with the TinCaps,” said Padres Executive Vice President/General Manager A.J. Preller. “A strong community like that of Fort Wayne and the first-class facilities at Parkview Field will invaluably impact the development of the young core of talent we’ve recently added to our organization.”
Since the team moved to Parkview Field and became the TinCaps in 2009, Fort Wayne has reached the Midwest League playoffs in seven of eight seasons. In 2015, the TinCaps were honored with Minor League Baseball’s John H. Moss Community Service Award, and Stadium Journey tabbed Parkview Field as Minor League Baseball’s No. 1 ballpark experience.
With two home games remaining in 2016, the TinCaps are on pace to set new average and total attendance records. For the seventh straight year in 2015, the TinCaps ranked as one of the top 25 best-selling brands in all of Minor League Baseball.
“We are extremely fortunate to have such a special environment as the city of Fort Wayne and Parkview Field for our players’ first exposure to a full season of professional baseball,” said Padres Director of Player Development Sam Geaney. “The city of Fort Wayne and the TinCaps organization are the best in the Midwest League.”
Nearly 150 former Fort Wayne players have ascended the ranks and reached the Major Leagues, including former Padres standouts Jake Peavy, Chase Headley and Mat Latos, as well as current Padres Travis Jankowski, Colin Rea and Kevin Quackenbush. Thirteen consecutive Padres first-round or supplemental first-round picks who signed with San Diego have joined Fort Wayne. Recent top draft picks to play in Fort Wayne include Cal Quantrill, Hunter Renfroe, Michael Gettys andAustin Hedges.
“We’ve built and cultivated such a great relationship with the Padres, and it’s a really exciting time for both of our futures together,” Nutter said.