MLB Pipeline names their All-Rookie team and Joey Meneses is the 1B!

Photo by Sol Tucker | TalkNats

Before August, how many people really ever heard of Joey Meneses? He put the baseball world on notice quickly after he arrived on August 2. The 30-year-old rookie was named to MLB Pipeline’s 1st team of rookies at first base.

MLB Pipeline got really creative with many players on the list with positional movement to get them on the list like Bobby Witt Jr. at third base rather than shortstop where he played the most games in 2022. Meneses was a first baseman as well as a rightfielder in 2022.

Meneses makes the list in a year that saw many more rookies debut due to the new rules in the CBA on callups. The rule tried to change service time manipulation, and because of that, teams had 303 players make their debut in 2022 compared to 265 players last year. Because COVID played a part in call-ups the past three years, a more typical year in 2018 saw 247 players debut. 

Of course for all players, it is what have you done for me lately, and all of these rookies on MLB Pipeline’s list will have to prove themselves in their sophomore seasons. The fear is that a player could turn into Frank Schwindel who has spent parts of three seasons in the Majors but met his rookie status last year in spectacular form finishing sixth in Rookie of the Year voting with 56 scorching hot games with the Chicago Cubs hitting .389 with a 1.002 OPS followed by a complete flop in his sophomore season batting .229 with a .635 OPS.

We wrote a lot about this Nats’ rookie during his 2022 rookie season. For Meneses, he played in 56 games slashing .324/.367/.563 with a .930 OPS, 13 HR, 14 2B, 34 RBI, 33 R, and 1 SB. He had a walk-off home run as well as an inside-the-park home run, and what we saw was a player who adjusted to the pitchers who adjusted to him. It sure did not look like a fluke.

“He’s been doing it all year,” manager Dave Martinez said late in the season. “We’ve been watching him all year, even in Rochester, and he’s been hitting all year long, and nothing has changed. That’s one thing that I reiterate to him is nothing changes when you come up here. You drove the ball from right field to left field. Just do the same thing, stay on the ball, and he’s been awesome.”

While it is not fair to think every player will have the quick rise and fall like Schwindel, it is fair to think that Meneses has to prove himself. We saw this with Clint Robinson who debuted with the Royals at the age of 27, and went to the Nats in his age-30 season and had a good year batting .272 with a .782 OPS. The following year Robinson lost a lot of his power and kind of struggled through his second season with the Nats — his final one in the Majors. Robinson didn’t fall off a cliff like Schwindel, but his numbers did drop and baseball is unforgiving too often with players who don’t have the pedigree.

Who better to talk to than Mr. Robinson about what advice he would give to Mr. Meneses:

“The only thing I would say to a guy who went through a similar situation as me is be ready for the league to make the second year adjustment — and when that happens don’t press trying to prove that the first year was just a 1-off,” Robinson told me. “Enjoy the ride…”

Great advice from a player who has been there. There will be more adjustments, and all of the rookies on MLB Pipeline’s list will see this. Some didn’t make the list because they had hot starts and fizzled quickly when the other team made adjustments to them.

“Joey is a great example of what it takes to grind your way through the minor leagues to get to the big leagues and reach your dream,” Nats’ general manager Mike Rizzo said on the Sports Junkies radio show. “…They’re happy stories. They’re upbeat stories, because this guy has obviously earned every at-bat he’s gotten in the big leagues, and the most important part — he’s taken advantage of it. So he’s a great story of a guy who never gave up on his dream.”

For next year, you have to figure Meneses will be in the mix for a Nats’ 2023 team that will feature many players who will be in their second to fourth years in the bigs. Like Meneses, CJ Abrams will be in his second season in 2023, and while Abrams did not make that list, don’t be surprised if he surpasses them all in career success. Also making their debuts in 2022 were MacKenzie Gore, Cade Cavalli, Israel Pineda, Alex Call, Lucius Fox, Evan Lee, and Jackson Tetreault.

Again, baseball is about adjustments and continual improvement. Hitters must adjust to the pitchers, and pitchers must adjust to the hitters.

“Right now, he’s a big part of our future, right?” Martinez said. “I mean, he’s done well, and we’re looking for big bats like that. I love watching him play. I love watching that. So I want to keep it going.”

Keep it going!


C: Adley Rutschman, Orioles
113 G, .254/.362/.445, 13 HR, 1 3B, 35 2B, 42 RBI, 70 R, 4 SB

1B: Joey Meneses, Nationals
56 G, .324/.367/.563, 13 HR, 14 2B, 34 RBI, 33 R, 1 SB

2B: Brendan Donovan, Cardinals
126 G, .281/.394/.379, 5 HR, 1 3B, 21 2B, 45 RBI, 64 R, 2 SB

3B: Bobby Witt Jr., Royals
150 G, .254/.294/.428, 20 HR, 6 3B, 31 2B, 80 RBI, 82 R, 30 SB

SS: Jeremy Pena, Astros
136 G, .253/.289/.426, 22 HR, 2 3B, 20 2B, 63 RBI, 72 R, 11 SB

OF: Julio Rodriguez, Mariners
132 G, .284/.345/.509, 28 HR, 3 3B, 25 2B, 75 RBI, 84 R, 25 SB

OF: Michael Harris II, Braves
114 G, .297/.339/.514, 19 HR, 3 3B, 27 2B, 64 RBI, 75 R, 20 SB

OF: Steven Kwan, Guardians
147 G, .298/.373/.400, 6 HR, 7 3B, 25 2B, 52 RBI, 89 R, 19 SB

DH: Vinnie Pasquantino, Royals
72 G, .295/.383/.450, 10 HR, 10 2B, 26 RBI, 25 R, 1 SB

SP: Spencer Strider, Braves
131 2/3 IP, 11-5, 2.67 ERA, 45 BB, 202 K, 1.00 WHIP, .180 BAA

SP: Joe Ryan, Twins
147 IP, 12-8, 3.55 ERA, 47 BB, 151 K, 1.10 WHIP, .211 BAA

SP: Nick Lodolo, Reds
103 1/3 IP, 4-7, 3.66 ERA, 39 BB, 131 K, 1.25 WHIP, .235 BAA

SP: Reid Detmers, Angels
129 IP, 7-6, 3.77 ERA, 46 BB, 122 K, 1.21 WHIP, .231 BAA

SP: George Kirby, Mariners
130 IP, 8-5, 3.39 ERA, 22 BB, 133 K, 1.21 WHIP, .264 BAA

RP: Alexis Díaz, Reds
63 2/3 IP, 7-3, 10 SV, 1.84 ERA, 33 BB, 83 K, 0.96 WHIP, .131 BAA

RP: Félix Bautista, Orioles
65 2/3 IP, 4-4, 15 SV, 2.19 ERA, 23 BB, 88 K, 0.93 WHIP, .167 BAA


C: MJ Melendez, Royals
129 G, .217/.313/.393, 18 HR, 3 3B, 21 2B, 62 RBI, 57 R, 2 SB

1B: Jose Miranda, Twins
125 G, .268/.325/.426, 15 HR, 25 2B, 66 RBI, 45 R, 1 SB

2B: Christopher Morel, Cubs
113 G, .235/.308/.433, 16 HR, 4 3B, 19 2B, 47 RBI, 55 R, 10 SB

3B: Emmanuel Rivera, D-backs/Royals
102 G, .233/.292/.409, 12 HR, 3 3B, 16 2B, 40 RBI, 46 R, 1 SB

SS: Oneil Cruz, Pirates
87 G, .233/.294/.450, 17 HR, 4 3B, 13 2B, 54 RBI, 45 R, 11 SB

OF: Jake McCarthy, D-backs
99 G, .283/.342/.427, 8 HR, 3 3B, 16 2B, 43 RBI, 53 R, 23 SB

OF: Oscar Gonzalez, Guardians
91 G, .296/.327/.461, 11 HR, 27 2B, 43 RBI, 39 R, 1 SB

OF: Seiya Suzuki, Cubs
111 G, .262/.336/.433, 14 HR, 2 3B, 22 2B, 46 RBI, 54 R, 9 SB

DH: Bryson Stott, Phillies
127 G, .234/.295/.358, 10 HR, 2 3B, 19 2B, 49 RBI, 58 R, 12 SB

SP: Hunter Greene, Reds
125 2/3 IP, 5-13, 4.44 ERA, 48 BB, 164 K, 1.21 WHIP, .222 BAA

SP: Edward Cabrera, Marlins
71 2/3 IP, 6-4, 3.01 ERA, 33 BB, 75 K, 1.07 WHIP, .177 BAA

SP: Roansy Contreras, Pirates
95 IP, 5-5, 3.79 ERA, 39 BB, 86 K, 1.27 WHIP, .225 BAA

SP: Braxton Garrett, Marlins
88 IP, 3-7, 3.58 ERA, 24 BB, 90 K, 1.25 WHIP, .254 BAA

SP: Graham Ashcraft, Reds
105 IP, 5-6, 4.89 ERA, 30 BB, 71 K, 1.42 WHIP, .281 BAA

RP: Jhoan Duran, Twins
67 2/3 IP, 2-4, 8 SV, 1.86 ERA, 16 BB, 89 K, 0.98 WHIP, .207 BAA

RP: Brock Burke, Rangers
82 1/3 IP, 7-5, 0 SV, 1.97 ERA, 24 BB, 90 K, 1.06 WHIP, .211 BAA

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