Meet Joey Meneses, the Embodiment of Baseball Unpredictability

At 4:01 p.m. ET on Aug. 2 (less than two hours before the MLB trade deadline on the 6th), the Washington Nationals announced that they had sent outfielder Juan Soto and a Baseman Josh Bell was sent to San Diego to get the prospect of a six-man package Padres player. The Nationals didn’t let Soto leave anyone. Still, they understandably lead tweets with people they get, not people they give up.

At 5:00pm ET, Nats tweets yet another less liked and retweeted tweet announcement: They’ve reached AAA and called up two obscure rookies — an outfielder Josh Palacios and a listed first baseman Joey Menezes — to replace Sol Tor and Bell.

At 6:26 p.m. ET, the team announced the lineup without Soto and Bell for that night’s game against the Mets. That tweet is proportional because — well, look at these last names. How many names can most baseball fans fill in with them?

This overworked joke Mets starter Jacob deGrom, who is delaying his season debut due to injury, will find that facing a newly deconstructed Nats is no more alive than the triple-A team he has rehabilitated. fear. Sure enough, he only allowed more than five frames. But after his departure, the Nats scored four more goals, including one from the Meneses, who hit a home run in his first major league game.

Meneses is a good story, and the second Dave Martinez put his name on that much-mocked lineup. At 30 years and 88 days, he is the eighth-biggest player to make the majors this year. Born in Culiacán, Mexico, he excelled in baseball, playing in the Warriors, Phillies and Red Sox systems before signing with Washington in January. He has previously played in the Mexican Pacific League, Japan Pacific League, Olympics and Caribbean Series. All told, he has racked up nearly 5,500 professional game appearances in his 12 years as a pro before breaking through at the Nats directly in the Soto trade.

“I’m alone, I’m alone, and sometimes it’s really tough,” he said in late July. “I mean, I stay away from my family and try to make my dreams come true. How can I say that? Sometimes I think: ‘What am I doing here? I’m wasting my time. Or like, ‘Why am I choose this? “But in a day or two, I’ll come back and keep trying to get there.” At the start of the season, the ZiPS and Steamer systems predicted Soto as baseball’s most valuable player. If Menezes eventually makes it to the majors, both expect Menezes to be a roughly replacement-level player. When he does, it’s a de facto replacement for the worst team in baseball, but he’s not picky about the situation. As he said before the trade, drafting “means everything. It’s been everything to me since I was a kid.”

However: The home run he hit was not a career blocker, but the first of a month to remember. Menezes hit a home run in 10 innings on Thursday, leading the A’s. It was his seventh homer in a major and his fourth of the game. In a live interview after the game, an announcer recounted the situation: “It’s overtime and you’re all down. Everyone’s thinking, ‘It’s still Joey’s time anyway. .'” Until a month ago, almost no one knew who Joey was. Now, life-or-death scenes are synonymous with “getting Joey time.” And, why not? He’s hitting .354/.385/.626. Since his debut, he has been one of the top 20 hitters in baseball. He has the most hits and totals in the first 25 games of his career since Bobby Chet in 2019.When Menezes went to Japan to play in 2019, he attributed his decision to his dragon ball Character Goku. “When I quit baseball, I wanted to be a Super Saiyan,” he said. As it turns out, there’s no need to quit first. He has done it.

Meneses isn’t the first player to show up and have a hot month (though few have experienced such burns lately).What’s special about this case is that Menezes has the biggest shoes to fit, and when he puts them on, so does his foot big. Soto played well for his new team but no, you know, Menes Excellent; just based on what he’s been up to since August 2, people probably won’t talk about “getting it to Juan’s time”.

That means Menezes has moved beyond the core of ESPN’s Jeff Passan, who has been dubbed “the biggest trade MLB has made in a century and a half.” The Padres traded a half-farm system for superstar Soto, and the scrubbing replacement for Soto that any team can have has outpaced him. For a full month, Menezes outperformed a player in the same primary position – he was second only to Soto in the Nats start in right field – and he was often associated with Ted Williams. Competition, who finished second in last year’s NL MVP voting and who won the home run derby this season, turned down a $440 million extension offer shortly before he was traded because he could be more It’s more valuable. By FanGraphs WAR (rated Meneses slightly lower than Baseball-Reference) twice As valuable as Soto and more than three times as valuable as Soto and Bale combined. (Interestingly, Luke Voight, the Padres’ throw-in first baseman to Washington, also outplayed Bell after the trade. At least Josh Hader was doing… oh.)

Meneses, Soto and Bell since trade

Name TM value Amplifier AB Bachelor of Arts OBP SLG Human Resources wRC+ war
Name TM value Amplifier AB Bachelor of Arts OBP SLG Human Resources wRC+ war
Joey Menezes wireless sensor network 104 99 .354 .385 .626 7 180 1.0
Juan Soto Social Democrats 105 82 .256 .413 .427 3 147 0.5
Josh Bell Social Democrats 111 92 .185 .318 .293 2 85 -0.2

Now, I’m not saying Nats think Soto is consumable, because they know they have his generic brand equivalent (or better!) in Triple-A. Nor am I saying the clerics should keep their most promising powder dry and set their sights on Menezes. Everything that happened – except Soto released 0.400+ OBP – was predictable or sustainable. I’d say it’s funny, in a “man’s plan, God’s laughter” kind of way. (By “God” I mean Menezes who says “Messiah” on this baseball card.) A lot of work was done at the trade deadline, many teams made tough decisions and dreamed of become better.Unless the Meneses (rhymes “regresses”) crater between now and October, the people who are called are because someone When Soto moved to City, he had to play on the right ground and it was probably the most valuable addition any team could make.

It makes no sense and makes perfect sense. Joey Meneses is the living embodiment of baseball’s unpredictability.

Soto has been a top hitter in the majors for five years during his 23-year-old season.Menezes his The 23-year-old has amassed 0.625 OPS in High-A. That’s not to say he’s not hitting at all: His career OPS in Triple-A is .840, and he’s getting close to that level this year. He was slashing .286/.341/.489 for Triple-A Rochester before he was drafted. According to ZiPS creator Dan Szymborski, Triple-A performance is roughly equivalent to 0.260/.303/.430 lines in Pro, which translates to 110 OPS+. Respectable, but far from blog-worthy.

So how did the Meneses make the majors seem easier than Triple-A? When in doubt, follow Voros’ Law, as laid out by sabermetrician Voros McCracken: “Anyone can hit anything in 60 at-bats.”

The Meneses had a whopping 99 at-bats (and 104 outs), but the small sample song still holds true for the most part. If we want to be a wet blanket, we can note that Meneses have a BABIP of 0.378, while Soto has a BABIP of 0.273 in San Diego; Meneses’ numbers (based on batting quality) exceed the expectations of almost any other batsman, while Soto has a BABIP of 0.273. Toto is well below his level; Menezes has gone 18 times and walked four times since the trade, while Soto has gone 13 times and walked 22 times. I guess I’m saying that despite the discrepancy in surface numbers since August 2, I have a sneaking suspicion that Juan Soto might be better at baseball than Joey Menezes. In the long run, the transition of outfield defenders from Soto to Menezes may not be as smooth as Bryce Harper to Soto.

With a few flaps of butterfly wings, Menezes’ magic month won’t happen. For example, on Thursday, his teammate César Hernández only miss He hit his own home run in the ninth, which could have ended the game before the bell rang. * But with the ball bouncing just right, Menezes is having the time of his career and Nats fans have someone who can ease the pain of Soto’s separation and give them a reason leave their seats. And I, a non-Nats fan, have a reason – and often if only One reason – checking the team’s scores every day, hoping to marvel at Menezes.

*Speaking of statistical miracles: Hernandez hit zero home runs in 540 games this season, compared to just 21 in 30 games last year.no qualified hitters ever approached Get a goose egg in the second year after hitting as many home runs as Hernández last year; hit at least 5 home runs in the second year after hitting 21 or more in a season Whoever hits 0 home runs while qualifying for the Fighting Championship hits a maximum of 12 home runs.It’s the funky home run game, and who’s in it No Deep victory.You want to see if Judge Aaron can hit 62? I want to see if César Hernández can hit zero. (Well, I return Want to see if Judge can hit 62. )

More than 250 players made major league debuts for the first time this year, putting MLB on track to break last year’s record of 265 debutants. Many of the arrivals this year are rare talents whose arrivals have been foretold. Some flourish, while others go out. I’m not sure any of them impressed me as much as the Meneses, who reminded me of a weird, wonderful, utterly stupid sport of baseball.

Even in Menezes’ valiant performance, the Nats went 9-17, giving them the second-fewest wins in the sport. His Cinderella slash probably won’t last an entire season, let alone next year. Soto is about to enter the Hall of Fame, and Menezes is likely destined to be remembered by a segment of Nats fans who might occasionally wonder, “Remember what his name was that month?” Here’s why, if the gods of baseball were Well, the Menezes mania isn’t going away. Soto has been reminding fans of his former team what they were missing for years. Give Menezes another month to remind them of what they have.

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