10 years. 894 MiLB games. 482 foreign games. 1,376 total games. Finally given an MLB opportunity, Joey Meneses has hit the ground running.
One of the few bright spots of the Washington Nationals continuing to strip their roster to the bone is seeing overlooked players receive an opportunity to prove themselves. Joey Meneses is the latest example, finally making his MLB debut on Aug. 2nd after spending 10 years in the minors. In the 30-year-old’s against the Mets, he went 1-4, with a homer in an eventual 5-1 Washington win.
Signed to a minor league deal by the Atlanta Braves in 2011, Meneses spent seven years with the organization — making multiple MiLB minor league teams over that span, but never making it past AA. Whenever the season would end he would continue to get in as many reps as possible, playing in the Mexican League. Before the start of the 2018 season, he signed a minor league deal with the Phillies — slashing .311/.360/.510, with a career-high 23 homers, 82 RBIs, and an OPS of .870.
A performance like that usually leads to a player being promoted, instead, he found himself blocked on Philadelphia’s MLB roster by Rhys Hoskins — a similar situation he faced in Atlanta with Freddie Freeman. Despite being named 2018 league MVP, the Phillies released him — leading to Meneses spending the following season in Japan.
After spending the last two years in Boston’s minor league system, Meneses signed a minor league deal with Washington for the 2022 season. Before being called up to the show, the righty was having his best seasons since 2018, slashing .286/.341/.489, with 20 homers, 64 RBIs, and an OPS of .830 in 96 games.
His recent surge in power which played part in his call-up has carried over to the majors — hitting four homers in his first seven major league games. A Nationals record. It’s also the first time it’s happened in franchise history since 1969.
He’s homered in each of his last three games, all against the Cubs. The first was a two-run, pinch-hit moonshot — hinting at his clutch factor. Meneses was able to follow this up in an epic fashion. Wednesday’s thrilling win over the Chicago Cubs, the righty became an unsung hero after blasting the go-ahead two-run bomb in the eighth inning. Washington, who had just blown a 4-1 lead in the previous inning, was in dire need of a spark, which he provided.
His most recent homer was a solo shot which put the Nationals up 2-0, but it wasn’t enough. Chicago came back to win 4-2. With San Diego coming to D.C. tomorrow for a three-game series, all eyes will be on Juan Soto and Josh Bell –the two superstars void in the lineup he’s attempting to fill. Yet, he will have the chance to make the best of his opportunity and ease the pain of the trade.