WASHINGTON – As a young boy, Jake Randa recalls being at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City when his father, Joe, played for the Royals.
Before one game, Jake Randa and his brother, Justin, accompanied their father on the field as they placed third base in its correct spot before a home game with the Royals.
“That is my earliest memory” of the major leagues, Jake Randa told Federal Baseball on Wednesday. “People have asked my favorite memory but that is my earliest one.”
Joe Randa, now 51, was born in Milwaukee and was an infielder that made his major league debut with Kansas City in 1995 and also played for the Royals in 1996 and again from 1999 to 2004.
He ended his career with the Pirates in 2006 and some of his teammates on that club include future Nationals Nate McLouth, Oliver Perez, and Zach Duke.
Jake Randa, 22, was born near Kansas City in 1998, was drafted in the 13th round by the Nationals in 2019 out of Northwest Florida State Junior College and spent this past season as an outfielder for Single-A Fredericksburg. He had a chance to play at Mississippi State before he decided to turn pro with the Nationals.
“I think I made the right decision,” said Randa, whose was scouted and signed by Alan Marr. “I had talked to a lot of organizations going into the fall of that year, but the Nationals were never around. Not that it was a bad thing, obviously.”
The younger Randa, 22, played mostly left field this year and hit .220 with two homers, 40 RBIs, and 23 doubles in 86 games and 305 at-bats. He struck out 89 times and had an OPS of .616.
“It didn’t necessarily go the way I wanted it to,” he said from his home in Arizona of his 2020 season. “I kind of had some failure last off-season, some things I should have done. I have to learn from it; not doing that off-season hurt me a lot. But I am using that as a tool to motivate me this off-season to get my body in condition and overall change myself as a player.”
Randa made a change after a tough series in Delmarva in June. After some adjustments with Fredericksburg hitting coach Jorge Mejia, he hit .318 in the month of July.
“I had a lot of success with extra-base hits and RBIs,” he added. “One thing I could have done a little bit better was not struck out as much. That is something I really need to be on top of at the start of next year. Defensively, I think I only made three or four errors in 86 ga
mes. I have never had a problem on the defensive side. That is something I can work on in the off-season.”
The team in Virginia sold out more than half of its home dates.
“It was definitely one of the better atmospheres if not the best atmosphere I have been part of,” Randa said of playing at the new stadium in Fredericksburg. “I have had some really good opportunities; I played with the Madison Mallards in the Northwoods League. I have had my fair share of playing in front of some good crowds and Fredericksburg is definitely at the top of the list.”
Randa didn’t get to a game at Nationals Park but did drive past the stadium.
He hit .236 for Auburn in the New York-Penn League in 2019 and then missed out on organized baseball in 2020 due to the pandemic.
His father was a teammate on the Royals in 1995 with outfielder Michael Tucker, who was born in South Boston, Virginia, and played at Longwood in Farmville; outfielder Jon Nunnally, who was born in North Carolina and went to Hargrave Military in Chatham, Virginia; and pitcher Chris Haney, who is from Orange, Virginia and played in college at Charlotte.
Justin Randa lives on a farm in Missouri with the mother of the two brothers.
“This off-season I need to concentrate on baseball and slow things down a little bit, especially after COVID. I got drafted in 2019, did instructs then went to Spring Training and then COVID. Now I am decompressing and working out three days a week,” Jake Randa said.