What Can We Expect from Joey Meneses in 2023?

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2022 left many Nationals fans feeling like there was little to look forward to in terms of electric players after the Juan Soto trade. However, a 30 year old rookie came out of nowhere and instantly won over the fanbase. I am of course talking about 1B/OF Joey Meneses. Who would have thought that the Nationals best player last season would come from such an unlikely source. The real question is, will he be able to keep it up?

If you watched any Nationals baseball towards the back half of the season it was hard to miss Meneses. It didn't take him long to establish himself as one of the bigger bats on the team, which wasn't hard to do seeing as his main competition was Lane Thomas and Luke Voit. Ironically Meneses was also in a position battle with both of them. Davey Martinez tried Meneses at three positions over the course of his 56 games last season: 1st Base, Left Field and Right Field. Ultimately he spent the most time at 1st causing Voit to get moved to the DH role.

Meneses did manage to put up solid hitting numbers in his 56 games, tallying 13 Home Runs and 34 RBIs in 72 hits. For a team that lacked offense all season, Meneses felt like a breath of fresh air to the fans and to the club. Meneses was able to keep his batting average in the low to mid .300 range for almost the entirety of his appearances. Was it a fluke or will he be able to sustain this in the coming season?

Having watched Meneses play in person 4 times last season, I came away from each game hoping to see more from him. The games where he started in the outfield he seemed to be more comfortable and made much bigger plays. Davey Martinez on the other hand seemed to prefer Meneses at 1st. What position Meneses plays in 2023 will be something to keep an eye on since the Nats have added Corey Dickerson and Dominic Smith to fill their needs in the Outfield and at 1st base. The current popular opinion is that Meneses will get moved to the Designated Hitter role for 2023.

So where does that leave us? Will Meneses suddenly become the next MLB super star or will he just be another average player that makes a big play every once in awhile? My money is on the latter. While Meneses was a fan favorite last season and seemed to make all of the plays Nationals fans wanted to see, I can't help but feel like that was not an accurate representation of him. Joey will turn 31 in May and history shows that it is very hard for any player to enter super stardom at this stage in their career. I foresee Joey as a solid role player next season who graces us with a big hit every so often and maybe a highlight reel catch or two. I know that this opinion is probably not one that many Nats fans want to hear, especially since our team is starved of a "Face of the Franchise" type player, but I think that it is better to be realistic instead of getting our hopes up that Joey is the next Juan Soto. Hopefully I am wrong but only time will tell.

My 2023 Stat Prediction for Menses: 120 Hits, 26 Home Runs, 30 Doubles, 75 RBIs

Stats provided by MLB.com