Phillies release Triple-A star Joey Meneses to pursue Japanese opportunity

Joey Meneses had a tremendous season for Triple-A Lehigh Valley in 2018. (Cheryl Pursell)

Todd Zolecki of reported Monday that the Phillies are releasing Triple-A OF/1B Joey Meneses. The reason is so Meneses can pursue a career with the Orix Buffaloes in Japan.

Meneses, 26, hit .311 with 23 home runs in 130 games with Triple-A Lehigh Valley in 2018. Many fans called for Meneses to be called up to the majors when the Phillies outfield struggled offensively over the summer. Despite their pleas, Meneses was never added to the Phillies 40-man roster. Instead, Meneses went on to win International League MVP for the IronPigs.

2018 was Meneses’ first year with the Phillies organization, after spending the first seven years of his minor league career with the Braves.

Power hitting players that can move between first base and a corner outfield spot, but struggle to stick at the major league level are often left with the decision of floating between Triple-A and the majors or being a superstar in an Asian league. Former Phillie Darin Ruf, for example, wore out his E-ZPass traveling between Triple-A Lehigh Valley and the major leagues. But he’s become a star for the Samsung Lions of the Korea Baseball Organization, smashing 64 home runs in two seasons. It’s fair to wonder if Dylan Cozens won’t soon be forced to wrestle with the possibility of being a star in an Asian league, as opposed to being a fringe major leaguer.


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