James Robert Romak
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 2", Weight 220 lb.
- High School A.B. Lucas Secondary School
- Debut May 28, 2014
- Final Game October 2, 2015
- Born September 30, 1985 in London, ON CAN
"Romak, who played a handful of major league games with the L.A. Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks in 2014 and 2015, has became a superstar over three seasons in South Korea, where his power bat has made him a fan favourite (and earned him the Home Run Derby championship this year)." - from a 2019 article in The Star called "Canada’s Jamie Romak finds fun and success in Korean Baseball Organization"
Jamie Romak was a 4th-round pick of the Atlanta Braves in the 2003 amateur draft. He was signed by scout Lonnie Goldberg and debuted as a part-time third baseman for the GCL Braves that year, hitting just .176/.300/.216 in 19 games. He did little better for the 2004 Danville Braves, putting up a .190/.287/.329 line in 48 contests and striking out 56 times in 158 AB.
Returning to Danville in 2005, Romak began to develop, posting a .274/.368/.540 line in 124 AB with 7 homers. He was moved to the outfield that year. In 2006, Jamie batted .247/.369/.471 for the Rome Braves, with 16 home runs and 102 strikeouts.
In January of 2007, he was traded with Adam LaRoche to the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for shortstop prospect Brent Lillibridge and closer Mike Gonzalez. Romak was assigned to the Hickory Crawdads and hit .275/.393/.551 with 5 HR, 16 runs and 15 RBI in 20 games, then was promoted to the Lynchburg Hillcats when Steven Pearce moved up to AA. Romak batted .252/.380/.483 for Lynchburg with 15 HR, 55 walks and 90 strikeouts in 85 games. Overall, he was second to Pearce in homers among Pirates farmhands.
Romak played for the Canadian national team in the 2007 Baseball World Cup and hit .143/.400/.143 with 7 walks and 9 strikeouts in 7 games as the starting right fielder. He had the lowest average and slugging percentage on a Canadian team that just missed the quarterfinals.
Romak's 2008 season began late due to injury. He hit .279/.360/.552 with 18 HR in 77 games for Lynchburg after returning to action. He was leading the Carolina League in slugging and home runs when he was promoted to the Altoona Curve when Jason Delaney was moved up to AAA. Jamie was left off of Canada's team for the 2008 Olympics as they went with Jimmy Van Ostrand, Nick Weglarz and Ryan Radmanovich as their corner outfielders.
Jamie was a member of three other organizations - those of the Kansas City Royals, St. Louis Cardinals and Los Angeles Dodgers before finally making his major league debut with the Dodgers on May 28, 2014. That day, he was used as a pinch-hitter for Clayton Kershaw in the 7th inning of a game against the Cincinnati Reds and grounded out to second base. He had been called up a day earlier when OF Carl Crawford had been placed on the disabled list. He was 1 for 21 with two walks, two runs and three RBI for the 2014 Dodgers. His lone hit was a two-run double off Matt Belisle.
He spent most of 2015 back in the minors, hitting .284/.368/.549 for the Arizona Diamondbacks' Reno Aces farm team. He scored 87 runs, drove in 100, drew 60 walks, doubled 42 times, went deep 27 times and stole six bases in seven tries. He was second in the 2015 PCL in runs (7 behind Matt Duffy), tied Joey Wendle for second in doubles, led in homers (one ahead of Adam Duvall and Peter O'Brien), was 3rd in RBI (after O'Brien and Duffy), tied Kyle Kubitza for 7th in walks, was 2nd in total bases (267, 3 behind O'Brien), was 5th in slugging (between O'Brien and Duvall) and was 5th in OPS (between Travis Taijeron and Jason Pridie). He was named the PCL's All-Star DH. He got his second look at the majors and did much better, 5-for-15 with two doubles, a walk, two runs and a RBI for the 2015 Diamondbacks.
Romak played in Japan in 2016 but struggled for the Yokohama BayStars (.113/.247/.127 in 85 PA; 30 K). He did hit .241/.369/.481 with 11 HR in 195 PA in the Japanese minors. He tied Ryuzo Hijii for 10th in the Eastern League in homers. He played for Canada in the 2017 World Baseball Classic; with two on and two out in the bottom of the 9th, down 4-1, he struck out against Colombia's Dayán Díaz to end the game.
The Ontario native signed with the San Diego Padres to open 2017 and exploded for the El Paso Chihuahuas (.347/.394/.800 with 11 HR, 24 R, 25 RBI in 25 G). That drew renewed interest from Asian teams and the SK Wyverns picked him up. He hit .242/.344/.554 with 31 homers in 102 games in the 2017 KBO. Despite his late addition, he tied Darin Ruf for 6th in the league in dingers.
With a full season in the 2018 KBO, he posted even bigger numbers: .316/.404/.597, 43 HR, 102 R, 107 RBI, 72 BB. He was 9th in the league in runs (between Jae-hwan Kim and Ja-wook Koo), tied Byung-ho Park for 2nd in home runs (one between Jae-hwan Kim), was 5th with 315 total bases (between Dae-ho Lee and Ruf), missed the top 10 in RBI by one, led in walks (one ahead of Mel Rojas Jr.), was 10th in OBP, ranked 5th in slugging (between Dong-min Han and Dae-ho Lee) and was 6th in OPS (between Hyun-soo Kim and Jun-woo Jeon). In Game 3 of the 2018 Korean Series, his 3-run shot off Yong-chan Lee was the big blow in SK's win over the Doosan Bears; they would go on to win the Series. He was not named the league's best first baseman; that honor went to Byung-ho Park.
Romak slipped a bit in 2019 (.276/.370/.508, 73 BB, 86 R, 29 HR, 95 RBI). He was on the leaderboards in slugging (7th, between Baek-ho Kang and Ruf), walks (5th, between Jerry Sands and Ha-seong Kim), homers (tied Jeong Choi for 2nd, 4 behind Byung-ho Park), total bases (256, 8th, between Choi and Ruf) and RBI (8th, between Byung-ho Park and Jae-hwan Kim). In 2020, he posted a .282/.399/.546 batting line with 85 runs, 91 RBI, 91 walks, 32 doubles and 32 home runs. He tied Preston Tucker for 6th in circuit clouts, tied Jae-hwan Kim and Geon-chang Seo for the walk lead, was 10th in OBP (between Tucker and Eui-ji Yang), was 7th in slugging (between Tucker and Kang) and was 8th in OPS (between Roberto Ramos and Choi). He won the Tip O'Neill Award as the best Canadian baseball player of the year; while he kept up a long string of J names (with the exception of Mike Soroka, all winners since 2007 had begun with J - Justin Morneau twice, Jason Bay, Joey Votto numerous times, John Axford and James Paxton), he was the first winner since Dan Brabant to not play in the majors in their award-winning season.
In 2021 he played a fifth season in South Korea.
Sources include 2004-2007 Baseball Almanacs, KBO site, milb.com, World Baseball Classic site, old IBAF site