WINNIPEG, MB – The Winnipeg Goldeyes announced several transactions on Friday, including outfielder Josh Romanski signing with the Mexican League’s Pericos de Puebla, as well as the retirements of outfielder David Rohm, first baseman Shawn Pleffner, and infielder Casey Turgeon.
Romanski was the American Association’s 2017 Player of the Year after hitting .324 with 11 home runs and 81 RBI in 98 games played. The Anaheim, California native ranked fourth in the American Association in batting average, tied for fifth in runs scored (74), and tied for third in RBI. The 81 RBI also rank tied for fourth on the Goldeyes’ single-season list. Romanski was a member of both the 2016 and 2017 American Association championship teams, and hit a combined .379 with two outs and runners in scoring position (95 at bats) during his two years in a Goldeyes’ uniform.
The 31-year-old Romanski was originally drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers in the fourth round in 2010 following an All-American career as a two-way player at the University of San Diego (San Diego, California). Romanski spent four seasons as a left-handed pitcher in the New York Yankees’ and Chicago White Sox’ organizations before converting to the outfield with the Gary SouthShore RailCats in 2014. The Mexican League is considered on par with Triple-A level baseball.
Rohm was also an integral member of the Goldeyes’ back-to-back championship seasons, hitting a combined .308 with 122 runs scored, 41 doubles, 13 home runs, 118 RBI, and a .374 on-base percentage in 194 games. The Fresno, California native was a Postseason All-Star in 2016, while also earning MVP honours of the All-Star Game at St. Paul earlier that summer. In the 2016 and 2017 playoffs, Rohm hit a combined .413, which is now a Goldeyes’ postseason franchise record (minimum 50 postseason at bats). Rohm doubled home the winning run in the bottom of the 17th inning of the Goldeyes’ historic, 4-3 win in Game Four of last year’s American Association Championship Series versus Wichita.
Rohm was originally drafted by the Atlanta Braves in the ninth round in 2010 out of Fresno City College (Fresno, California), and played exclusively at the Double-A level from 2014-15. The 28-year-old retries a lifetime .285 hitter in eight professional seasons with more base hits (811) than total games played (788).
Pleffner won the American Association batting title last year, pacing the league with a .340 average. It was the Goldeyes’ first batting champion since Kevin West led the Northern League in 2010. Pleffner also ranked third in the American Association in doubles (30) and seventh in RBI (76), while hitting 10 home runs. The Tampa, Florida native had a career-high six RBI on two occasions (June 13th versus Texas and July 14th versus Kansas City), and posted five hitting streaks of seven or more games. Pleffner hit .297 with seven more RBI in nine playoff contests, and capped off his career by hitting for the cycle in Game Five of the American Association Championship Series on September 20th.
Pleffner was originally drafted by the Washington Nationals in the 26th round in 2011 out of the University of Tampa (Tampa, Florida), and like Rohm, also played two full seasons at Double-A (2015-16). The 28-year-old Pleffner retires a lifetime .298 hitter with more total hits (606) than games played (573). 2017 was the fourth time in six professional seasons in which Pleffner ranked in the top-10 in his league’s batting race.
Turgeon signed with the Goldeyes in late-August, and hit .339 with 14 runs scored, five doubles, and 10 walks in 17 regular season games. The Palm Harbor, Florida native was then involved in some of the most impactful postseason moments in Goldeyes’ history.
In Game One of the American Association Division Series at Lincoln, Turgeon singled home the tie-breaking run with two outs in the top of the eighth inning. The Goldeyes held on for a 5-4 win to take the early lead in the series, overcoming a four-run deficit in the process. After the Saltdogs evened the series the following night, Turgeon’s hustle allowed him to reach first base on a dropped third strike in the bottom of the first inning of Game Three. The heads up play initiated a three-run rally, and helped set the tone for an eventual 6-2 victory. The following evening in Game Four, Turgeon coaxed a bases loaded walk in the bottom of the ninth that forced home the winning run, sending the Goldeyes to their 10th league final in team history.
Trailing 1-0 in the best-of-five American Association Championship Series against Wichita, Turgeon hit what proved to be the game-winning, two-run home run in the top of the fifth of Game Two. The Wingnuts took Game Three of the series, and the Goldeyes found themselves down to the final strike of their season with Turgeon at the plate in Game Four. When it appeared Turgeon grounded out to third base to end the series, a balk had actually been called prior to the pitch, nullifying the play. Still battling with a two-strike count, Turgeon drove a double to left-centre field that scored the tying run and kept the Goldeyes’ championship hopes alive. Later that game, Turgeon scored the winning run on Rohm’s walk-off double, and then collected two more hits in Winnipeg’s 18-2, championship-clinching victory in Game Five.
Turgeon was originally drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 24th round in 2014 out of the University of Florida (Gainesville, Florida). Like Rohm and Pleffner, Turgeon twice reached the Double-A level, and retires with a .368 career on-base percentage in four professional seasons.