Padres Join Excellent Company As No. 1 Farm System
The Padres have the second-longest streak of consecutive losing seasons in baseball (eight), trailing only the Marlins. They have not made the postseason since 2006, a 12-season drought that is the franchise’s longest since the 15 years it took them to go from being an expansion team (1969) to a playoff team for the first time (1984).
It’s been a long, difficult decade for the Padres' franchise. The good news is the lean times may soon be over
The Padres took the No. 1 spot in Baseball America’s 2019 Organizational Talent Rankings, crowning them the best farm system in the game.
While a great farm system alone is no guarantee of future success—shrewd trades, smart free agent signings and a bit of luck all play enormous roles—teams that rank No. 1 in the BA Organizational Talent Rankings historically see a big payoff.
Here is every team that ranked No. 1 in Baseball America’s Organization Talent Rankings since 2005.
|Year||No. 1 Team||Result|
|2018||Braves||Made playoffs in 2018|
|2017||Braves||Made playoffs following season|
|2016||Dodgers||Have made playoffs each of the next three seasons, reached 2017 and 2018 World Series|
|2015||Cubs||Have made playoffs each of next four seasons, won 2016 World Series|
|2014||Pirates||Made playoffs next two seasons|
|2013||Cardinals||Made playoffs next three seasons, reached 2013 World Series|
|2012||Nationals||Made playoffs four of next six seasons|
|2011||Royals||Made playoffs two of next five seasons, reached 2014 World Series, won 2015 World Series|
|2010||Rays||Made playoffs three of next four seasons|
|2009||Rangers||Made playoffs five of next eight seasons, reached 2010 and 2011 World Series|
|2008||Rays||Made playoffs four of next six seasons, reached 2008 World Series|
|2007||Rays||Made playoffs four of next seven seasons, reached 2008 World Series|
|2006||D-backs||Made playoffs following season|
|2005||Angels||Made playoffs four of next five seasons|
Since 2005, 13 of the 14 teams named as having the No. 1 farm system made the playoffs within two years of that designation.
The only team that took longer than two years—the 2011 Royals—ended up with back-to-back World Series appearances in the third and fourth years after they were named as baseball's best farm system.
The staying power of the group is also noticeable: All but two teams made the playoffs at least twice within five seasons of having the top farm system. One of the stragglers, the modern-day Braves, will join that group if they make the playoffs again anytime between 2019-2022.
The only other team that didn’t make the playoffs multiple times within five seasons of having the top farm system—the 2006 D-backs—didn’t have to wait long. In addition to reaching the National League Championship Series in 2007, Arizona made its next postseason appearance in 2011—six seasons after having the top farm system.
Some of the teams were already plenty good at the time they were named the game’s best farm system. The 2016 Dodgers, 2014 Pirates, 2013 Cardinals and 2005 Angels had already made the playoffs the year prior to being named No. 1.
But having that top farm system helped extend the playoff windows of all of those teams, and for many others, it created a playoff window where they hadn’t previously been one. (See: Cubs, Nationals, Royals, Rays, Rangers, D-backs).
The Padres have more work to do in order to join their predecessors as postseason participants. All of the aforementioned teams added free agents, made beneficial trades and demonstrated considerable savvy in building a major league club, not just a top farm system.
But having that premier farm system is as solid a foundation as you can get, and history looks kindly on the teams at the top.
For the Padres and their fans, the hope is that history will continue to repeat itself.