Technically, this represents the extension of a PDC between the Padres and the former San Antonio Missions’ Texas League franchise that is moving into a new downtown Amarillo ballpark. The yet-to-be-named Amarillo team will open the new ballpark in April 2019. The former Colorado Springs Sky Sox (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League) have moved to San Antonio and assumed the Missions’ name, while the previous Helena Brewers (Rookie; Pioneer League) are taking the place of the Sky Sox in Colorado Springs. This is all part of a series of franchise shifts by the Elmore Sports Group for 2019.
“The San Diego Padres are thrilled to continue our partnership with the Elmore Sports Group as Double-A baseball returns to Amarillo,” said Director of Player Development Sam Geany. “We’re excited to watch our talented farm system develop in a brand new ballpark and bring a Texas League championship back to Amarillo.”
“We couldn’t be more excited to partner with the San Diego Padres and officially bring professional, affiliated baseball back to the Texas Panhandle for the first time in 37 years,” said Amarillo Professional Baseball President and General Manager Tony Ensor. “We can’t wait to welcome top-notch talent from the highest-rated farm system in baseball and introduce them to the best fans in Minor League Baseball.”
MLB Pipeline’s and Baseball America’s (BA) August 2018 farm system rankings listed San Diego atop all others at number one with their abundance of elite-level prospect talent as well as depth, in terms of future big leaguers up and down the system. Eight Padres prospects were featured on MLB’s 2018 Top 100 prospects list while nine were featured on BA’s Top 100 including SS Fernando Tatis Jr. (No. 2 MLB/2 BA), LHP Mackenzie Gore (No. 11/21), C/OF Francisco Mejia (No. 21/25), 2B/SS Luis Urias (No. 22/30), and RHP Chris Paddack (No. 49/59).
The Padres organization has been involved in the Texas League for a total of 35 seasons since joining for the first time in 1972. Amarillo became the organization’s second-ever Double-A affiliate that spanned from 1976 to 1982 (seven seasons). Over the last 12 seasons, the organization has been affiliated with the Missions in San Antonio where they won three Texas League titles (2007, 2011, 2013).
In 2018, San Antonio completed their 71-win season, taking the second place spot behind Corpus Christi in the Texas League and finished with the third-best team record in 2018. Overall, their Minor League system finished 410-405 (.503).
Amarillo Professional Baseball’s inaugural home opener is set to take place on Monday, April 8, 2019, against the Midland RockHounds, Double-A affiliate of the Oakland Athletics, which marks 50 years to the day since the first-ever Padres game in San Diego (April 8, 1969). The home season includes 70 home games of a 140-game schedule that will run through September 2.
You can read more about the current state of affiliations on our Affiliate Dance page. We’re now in the final stages of the 2018 Affiliate Dance, as you can see. We’re now at the point where MLB and MiLB teams can search for new affiliation options, so there’s always a shuffle of sorts at the end of the season.