J.J. Cooper filled you in on the Astros' dramatic turnaround in terms of minor league winning percentage. In this post, we'll take things a step further and call attention to the various minor league champions and the most successful parent organizations.
The standings table below ranks all 30 organizations by the cumulative winning percentage of their domestic farm clubs. The +/- category indicates the difference between wins and losses—games above or below .500. A + indicates an organization with seven affiliates instead of six.
|ORGANIZATION STANDINGS • DOMESTIC CLUBS ONLY|
|1||Astros+||417||347||.546||70||Lancaster (CAL)||Tri-City (NYP)|
|2||Rockies||386||329||.540||57||Asheville (SAL)||Modesto (CAL)|
|7||Blue Jays+||397||360||.524||37||Vancouver (NWL)|
|9||Rangers||359||335||.517||24||AZL Rangers||Frisco (TL)|
|10||Rays+||391||368||.515||23||Hudson Valley (NYP)|
|17||Red Sox||351||346||.504||5||Pawtucket (IL)||GCL Red Sox|
|White Sox||353||348||.504||5||Charlotte (IL)
|28||Padres||317||379||.455||-62||Fort Wayne (MWL)|
• The Diamondbacks, despite a pedestrian overall minor league winning percentage of .499^, boasted three league champions this season with Triple-A Reno (Pacific Coast), Double-A Mobile (Southern) and Rookie-level Missoula (Pioneer). Not only did no other organization have three league champs this season, but the Diamondbacks are the only org with three league winners in the same season in the past five years.
This year's Reno club featured many of the principals from last season's Mobile club, which earned the BA Minor League Team of the Year distinction and also won the Southern League. Last year's Bay Bears and this year's Aces had the following key players in common: righthander Trevor Bauer, lefthanders Pat Corbin and Tyler Skaggs, second baseman Jake Elmore, third baseman Ryan Wheeler and outfielders Adam Eaton and A.J. Pollock. However, callups to Arizona had stripped Reno of all but Bauer and Pollock by the time the PCL playoffs rolled around.
^ Arizona's high Class A Visalia (.457) and short-season Yakima (.474) affiliates did the most to drag down the organization's overall winning percentage.
• The Blue Jays featured only one minor league playoff team this season after placing four affiliates in the postseason last year. Toronto made its one shot count. Short-season Vancouver won its second straight Northwest League championship, and they did so in a similar fashion to last year by winning with some of the system's top prospects. This year's Canadians squad featured top organizational talent in the rotation (righthanders Taylor Cole and Roberto Osuna), at catcher (Santiago Nessy), at second base (Christian Lopes), at third base (Kellen Sweeney) and in the outfield (Dwight Smith Jr. and this year's first-rounder D.J. Davis).
A year ago, lefty Justin Nicolino and righties Aaron Sanchez and Noah Syndergaard fronted the Vancouver rotation—though only Sanchez stuck around for the NWL playoffs.
• With Double-A Springfield's victory in the Texas League finals, the Cardinals extended their streak of having at least one minor league champion in each of the last five years. Low Class A Quad Cities (Midwest) and Rookie-level Johnson City (Appalachian) took home titles in 2011; Johnson City also won in 2010; Triple-A Memphis won the Pacific Coast League in 2009; and short-season Batavia won the New York-Penn League title in 2008.
• The Dodgers' Rookie-level Ogden affiliate has made the Pioneer League finals in each of the last three years, though it has yet to win a flag after losing to Helena (2010), Great Falls (2011) and Missoula this year.
• The Astros' overall dominance in terms of winning percentage translated into only one league title, Lancaster (California), and one runner-up, Tri-City (New York-Penn). The only other Houston affiliate to make the playoffs was Corpus Christi (Texas), but they lost in the first round to the Rangers' Frisco club.