Jamie Romak is a name you are probably not familiar with, and you should not feel ashamed about it.
Just like Ryan Schimpf, the long-time minor leaguer hasn’t been given a shot to crack a major league roster on a regular basis. Despite 216 minor league home runs, the 31-year-old has only had 36 major league at bats since being drafted by the Braves in the fourth round of the 2003 draft. But perhaps his time is near, as he is off to a hot start in Triple-A El Paso.
Romak has four home runs in his first 10 games in El Paso, and is slugging .632.
The Padres signed the veteran infielder on November 4, 2016 to provide some options for the team in the infield. The Padres presently have a stacked minor league system, but they do not have a lot of talent at the upper minor league level. In particular, the team is weak at third base, where they have Spangenberg in El Paso manning the position.
At the major league level, the Padres’ third base situation consists of Ryan Schimpf and Yangervis Solarte. Romak has been playing first base in El Paso and if he continues on this tear, he could get a look by the team.
He can play third base, first base, and even the corner outfield if needed. Jamie Romak has some versatility to his game, and that will fit with the Padres’ current plan.
The Padres, at the moment, do not have a roster spot for Romak. He would need to continue to tear it up at El Paso to be given a shot, but it is possible that the veteran ball player plays his way into a line up at Petco eventually. He has that type of ability.
Ryan Schimpf was unheard of last April, and the Padres had plenty of options at second base. Well, things happen in a full major league season, and Schimpf was called to duty by the team around the mid-way part of the season. He capitalized on his opportunity, and now he is regularly starting for the Padres.
The same thing can happen for Romak, who has shown potential.
In this video he shows some opposite field pop.
In 2015, Romak hit 27 homers and drove in 100 runs at the Triple-A level for the Arizona Diamondbacks. The year before that he slugged 26 dingers for the Dodgers’ Triple-A team and in 2013 he hit 25 homers for the St. Louis Cardinals’ Triple-A team. The power is there, but so are the strikeouts. Romak has trouble with K’s, but at the same time he walks a decent amount of time. That type of plate discipline could help him reach his goal.
He played in Japan last season for the Yokohama Bay Stars. In 30 games in Japan, Romak only hit .113 and struck out 30 times in 71 at bats. Needless to say, Japanese baseball was not for him. He looks to make one last run at a major league career, and the Padres could be the perfect fit for him to do that.
Take a look at Romak’s power. I know this is the PCL, but it is still impressive to see him go opposite field.
The Padres are in the middle of a rebuild. Not in a traditional sense though, as the team has prospects already arriving at the major league level. Player like Manuel Margot, Hunter Renfroe, and Austin Hedges represent the future of the team. You sprinkle in some key veteran players here and there, and the team could have a decent run. Player like Romak, who have fought and clawed their way to where they are, provide nothing but positive influences on young players. The game of baseball is difficult and sometimes those that are blessed with special skills need to realize how hard others have to work in order to be on their level. Jamie Romak is a fighter. He intends to play in the major leagues, and his passion for the sport is something that needs to be celebrated.