FORT WAYNE, Ind. (ADAMS) – The Fort Wayne TinCaps announced that the franchise has been promoted to High-A, where the TinCaps will remain an affiliate of the San Diego Padres. Fort Wayne previously played at the Low-A level since 1993.
The TinCaps received an invitation from the Padres in December to move up in Major League Baseball’s new Minor League system. The newly signed Player Development License will continue this partnership through the 2030 season.
“This is an incredibly exciting day for the TinCaps,” said Team President Mike Nutter. “We’re very proud to be a part of the Padres’ system and continue to do what we do best — create a best-in-class fan experience, develop big-league ballplayers, grow our business, and support our community. Our fans can rest assured that the future of baseball in Fort Wayne is strong.”
Fort Wayne has been partnered with the Padres since the 1999 season. At 22 years, Fort Wayne’s affiliation with San Diego is the longest-running in Padres history. San Diego is also partnered with the El Paso Chihuahuas (Triple-A), San Antonio Missions (Double-A), and the Lake Elsinore Storm (Low-A).
“We’re thrilled to continue our established relationships with El Paso, San Antonio, Fort Wayne, and Lake Elsinore,” said Padres Senior Director of Player Development Sam Geaney. “Our affiliates are as key to their communities as they have been to the success of our player development system, and we look forward to bringing the next wave of Padres prospects through our system in the years to come.”
The Padres, led by 2017 TinCaps All-Star shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. and other Fort Wayne alumni, reached the postseason in 2020 and are projected as a World Series contender in 2021. Meanwhile, San Diego also continues to have one of baseball’s top-rated farm systems.
The TinCaps look forward to MLB announcing the team’s 2021 schedule in the near future.
Commissioner of Baseball Robert D. Manfred, Jr. said: “We are excited to unveil this new model, which not only provides a pipeline to the Majors, but continues the Minor Leagues’ tradition of entertaining millions of families in hundreds of communities. In modernizing our Minor League system, we prioritized the qualities that make the Minor Leagues such an integral part of our game while strengthening how we develop professional athletes on and off the field. We look forward to demonstrating the best of our game throughout local communities, supporting all those who are working hard to grow the sport, and sharing unrivaled technology and resources with minor league teams and players.”
Going forward, the TinCaps will have access to MLB’s partnerships, tools, technology, and content, which will help the organization enhance Parkview Field’s fan experience, provide more resources, and improve player development.
“We’ve been engaged with Major League Baseball and the Padres to forge a relationship that preserves the history and tradition of the minors, while creating a modern player development system that will benefit everyone — fans, players, teams, and our community — for decades to come,” Nutter said.
MLB’s new player development structure will consist of 120 teams across four levels: Triple-A, Double-A, High-A, and Low-A. Each MLB team will have one Minor League licensed affiliate at each level. (MLB teams also will have additional affiliates in the Dominican Republic and in either Arizona or Florida.)
The TinCaps’ fan experience, perennially rated No. 1 across all of the minors by Stadium Journey magazine in its annual rankings, will now boast a higher level of play on the field with more seasoned players on the roster.
“We can’t wait for the 2021 season to start and look forward to a successful partnership with the Padres for years to come,” Nutter said.
With planning for the 2021 season underway, the TinCaps continue to monitor Indiana and Allen County COVID-19-related protocols, requirements, and recommendations for the spring and summer.
“We’re approaching the 2021 season with extreme care and consideration,” Nutter said. “Every event at Parkview Field will put the health and safety of our fans, guests, staff, and players first. We’re hopeful that between now and Opening Day we’ll see tremendous strides taken toward returning to some level of normalcy. Whatever the situation, when it’s time to ‘play ball,’ we’ll be ready as a staff and facility.”