May 10, 2014: On Mexican Mother's Day, which is a day before we celebrate our moms, Meneses hit for the cycle. Joey delivered the gift, finishing his 4-for-5 performance with a seventh-inning home run.
"It was Mother's Day in Mexico and I wanted to give this beautiful gift to her," the native of Culiacan said. "She and my father were playing with me in my heart."
2018: Meneses emerged as the International League player of the year, batting .311 with 27 home runs and 82 RBIs.
MLB debut (Aug 2, 2022): After spending 10 years in the Minor Leagues, the 30-year-old rookie has finally gotten his chance. Joey hit the go-ahead home run for the Nationals. And in the next game, he continued hit another homer and had a 2-for-3 day at the plate.
With four deep blasts in seven career MLB games, Meneses became the first player in franchise history (since 1969) to record four home runs in his first seven Major League games.
“It’s very special,” Meneses said via a translator. “It’s something that I’ll always keep with me and remember. I’ve been looking forward to this my whole career. I’ve worked very hard to get to this point, and I want to enjoy every moment.” (J Pollizze - MLB.com - Aug 10, 2022)
2022 Season: A 30-year-old career minor leaguer who bounced around the world from the Braves to the Phillies to Mexico to Japan to the Red Sox, he wound up joining the Nationals organization this year and settled in as Rochester’s everyday first baseman, with little reason to believe there would be a promotion in his near future.
But when the Nats traded Juan Soto and Josh Bell to the Padres at the Aug. 2 deadline, they desperately needed someone to fill those spots in the field. So Meneses (who was batting .286/.341/.489 with 20 homers and 64 RBIs in 96 games) got the call and came straight to D.C. He immediately homered in his MLB debut, then put on a stunning display of power, becoming the first player in club history to hit five homers in his first nine big league games.
That was a shocking and fun start to an older player’s career, but Meneses began to make everyone believe there was more to him than one home run barrage. Displaying an impressive ability to hit the ball to all fields, to hit for both average and power and to make adjustments to opposing pitchers, he wound up putting together one of the best 56-game opening stretches for any hitter in Major League history.
Here’s the list of players over the last 50 years who totaled at least 72 hits, 14 doubles and 13 homers in their first 56 MLB games: Ryan Braun, Bo Bichette, and Meneses. That’s it. Who could’ve possibly seen that coming on Aug. 2? (Mark Zuckerman - Oct 10, 2022)
2023: Meneses committed to play for Team Mexico in the WBC.SS="highlight">
Feb 20, 2023: Compared to most players, Joey Meneses did things a little out of order.First, he belted 13 homers and drove in 34 runs in his 56-game debut last season.SS="highlight"> Then, he reported to his first Major League camp this month.
Meneses, 30, broke onto the big league scene in 2022 with the Nationals after grinding through the Minor Leagues for 10 years.SS="highlight"> Throughout his journey, which included reaching Triple-A with the Phillies and the Red Sox, he never participated in Major League Spring Training.
But after putting on a head-turning performance in the two months following his big league debut on Aug.SS="highlight"> 2, Meneses has a seat with his fellow starting position players in the Nationals clubhouse at their training complex.
“I am very, very happy to be here in West Palm,” Meneses said.
This year, Meneses is setting out to carry the momentum of 2022 -- during which he slashed.SS="highlight">324/.SS="highlight">367/.SS="highlight">563 with a .SS="highlight">930 OPS -- into his first full season in the Majors.SS="highlight"> In order to do so, his goals are to stay healthy, stay focused and play the right way.
While he looks for consistency in his production, the plan is for his defensive assignments to change.SS="highlight"> Manager Dave Martinez is expecting Meneses to alternate between first base (backing up Dominic Smith), left field (backing up Corey Dickerson) and the designated hitter role.SS="highlight"> Meneses made 40 appearances at first, 22 in right field and three in left field last season (the totals add up to more than 56, since he played multiple positions in nine games). “Joey’s probably going to do a lotta bit of a little bit of everywhere,” Martinez quipped, adding, “We want his bat in the lineup every day.” As Meneses settles into his first Major League Spring Training, he is about to embark on another significant first: He will play for Team Mexico in the World Baseball Classic.SS="highlight"> When he returns to camp (Team Mexico is competing in Pool C in Phoenix, Ariz.SS="highlight">), the Nats will look to get him reps in left field and as the DH since he already has experience at first.
“It means a lot,” Meneses said.SS="highlight"> “I feel so proud to play in the World Baseball Classic.SS="highlight"> I saw that before on the TV, and I always wanted to participate in one.SS="highlight"> I don’t know if the next time I will go, so I would like to take advantage of this moment.” These moments are the culmination of Meneses’ hustle over the years, and his drive to maximize the opportunity last season once he reached the big stage.SS="highlight"> For the first time in a decade, Meneses enjoyed the offseason as a Major Leaguer with an established role, a member of a WBC team and even as the subject of a song written by his friend, a musician in Mexico, about his baseball journey.
“It’s a little weird,” Meneses said of the recognition he has garnered since last season.SS="highlight"> “I’m not used to getting attention, or being the guy that wants the attention.” (J Camerato - Feb 20, 2023)
On Sunday, Mar 12, 2023, against the U.S.SS="highlight">, the world finally got to see Meneses in vibrant color.SS="highlight"> It was apparent in the first inning, when Meneses smashed a two-run homer off Nick Martinez — exit velocity: 109 mph — to give Mexico an early lead.
It was there when he singled in his next at-bat.SS="highlight"> And most of all, it was there in his third, when he walloped another home run off Brady Singer, a three-run shot that all but sealed the game in just the fourth inning.SS="highlight"> As the ball landed in the stands, Meneses unleashed a joyous bat flip, sending the instrument 20 feet in the air.SS="highlight"> A Chase Field crowd dominated by Mexican fans exploded.SS="highlight"> So did the Mexico dugout. (Buchanan - Mar 13, 2023 - TheAthletic)
May 9, 2011: The Braves signed Joey as a free agent, out of Mexico.
February 1, 2018: He signed as a free agent with the Phillies.
October 26, 2018: He was released by the Phillies.
January 23, 2020: Joey signed as a free agent with the Red Sox.
November 7, 2021: He became a free agent.
- Jan. 2022: The Nationals signed Meneses to a minor league contract.
|Birth City:||Culiacan, Mexico|
|Draft:||2011 - Braves - Free agent - Out of Mexico|
May 10, 2014: Meneses hit for the cycle.
- Aug. 30, 2022: Joey Meneses had 29 hits in his first 23 MLB games. That’s the most by any rookie through his first 23 games in Nationals history.
Career Injury Report
May 28, 2014: Meneses was on the DL with an injured left wrist.
- June 26-July 4, 2017: Joey was on the DL.