2018 Organization Standings And League Champs
Things are looking up in St. Petersburg.
Not only are the major league Rays exceeding expectations, but Tampa Bay’s minor league system is equal parts talented and successful.
The Rays vaulted to No. 2 in our post-trade deadline organization talent rankings, and those prospects have helped fuel the winningest farm system in baseball.
For the first time in the franchise’s 21-year history*, the Rays have the No. 1 entry in the organization standings. Tampa Bay’s domestic minor league affiliates recorded a .591 winning percentage this season, which is on par with recent standout systems, such as the 2017 Yankees (.602) and 2016 Phillies (.595).
The Rays saw five of their seven domestic affiliates qualify for the playoffs, a total topped only by the Dodgers, who had six. (The Astros also had five.) Tampa Bay produced playoff entrants at Triple-A Durham, Double-A Montgomery, low Class A Bowling Green, short-season Hudson Valley and Rookie-level Princeton.
Durham and Bowling Green won titles in the International and Midwest leagues, while Hudson Valley and Princeton finished runners-up while losing in the New York-Penn and Appalachian league finals.
The table above spells out the complete organization standings, with the Playoff column indicating the number of playoff teams per organization.
|ORGANIZATION STANDINGS • DOMESTIC CLUBS ONLY|
Bowling Green (MWL)
|Hudston Valley (NYP)|
|2||Astros||394||290||.576||5||Buies Creek (CAR) |
Rancho Cucamonga (CAL)
|5||D-backs+||412||350||.541||3||Jackson (SL)||Visalia (CAL)|
|6||Cardinals+||401||350||.534||4||Memphis (PCL)||Peoria (MWL) |
|8||Blue Jays+||392||358||.523||3||New Hampshire (EL)|
|9||White Sox||352||331||.515||3||Great Falls (PIO)|
|11||Twins||345||330||.511||3||Fort Myers (FSL) |
|12||Tigers+||369||362||.505||3||GCL Tigers West|
|Padres+||373||370||.502||2||San Antonio (TL)|
|18||Rockies||340||366||.482||2||Grand Junction (PIO)|
|27||Cubs+||339||399||.459||2||Eugene (NWL)||AZL Cubs 1|
|+ Organization with seven affiliates instead of six |
++ Yankees have eight domestic affiliates, plus another in Dominican Summer League
Smart Front Offices Are Taking Advantage Of The Minor League Rule 5 Draft
With less roster restrictions to deal with, smart front offices are identifying talent in the minor league phase of the Rule 5 Draft.
• Four organizations—the Angels, Giants, Marlins and Orioles—were shut out completely from the minor league playoffs, which is a higher number than usual. Only the Braves went without a playoff team last year.
• Having seven or more domestic minor league affiliates—rather than the traditional six—has become the new normal. Half of the 30 organizations operated at least seven domestic affiliates this season, compared with 11 orgs a year ago. Ten seasons ago, the number of orgs with that many domestic affiliates was seven.
The Cubs, Giants, Indians, Phillies and Reds all added a seventh domestic affiliate for 2018, while the Astros subtracted one to drop back to six.
The reason for operating more minor league affiliates is fundamental. Because organizations can have only a finite number of players signed to minor league contracts at one time, adding more affiliates equals more roster spots to assign more draft picks and more international free agents. Hitting on only one or two of these “surplus” signees makes the cost worth it.
* The Rays’ minor league operations actually stretch back 23 years. Tampa Bay operated two affiliates in 1996 and four in 1997 before the major league club’s inaugural season of 1998.