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Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Joel Chimelis made bigs for 2 days as player, later coached

Joel Chimelis 1990 Modesto Athletics card
Joel Chimelis 1990 Modesto Athletics cardTop Mets prospect Pete Alonso hit one out at AAA Las Vegas in August 2018 and his coach there, Joel Chimelis, explained to the force behind his young hitter's swing.

"I honestly thought he missed that pitch," Chimelis told "I mean, he didn't get all of it, but he just has some serious power. Every time he hits the ball, you think it has a chance. And he got that one up in the air and it just kept going and went out."

Chimelis watched over Alonso the year before Alonso went on to make the Mets in Flushing and set he season mark for home runs as a rookie.

Chimelis has worked to send players on to the majors for more than a decade as a minor league coach. He became a coach after his own lengthy career as a player, a career where he saw the majors himself, if only for a brief, controversy filled visit. He never got into a game.

Chimelis' long career in baseball began in 1988, taken by the Athletics in the 11th round of the draft out of the University of Texas at Austin.

Chimelis started with short-season Southern Oregon. He hit .276 in 61 games. He then moved to single-A Modesto for 1989 and hit .190.

He played 1990 between Modesto and high-A Reno. He hit .303 between them. He then made AA Huntsville in 1991 and, after a move to the Giants system, made AAA Phoenix in 1992.

Chimelis hit .303 in 49 games there, then .309 in 80 games at Phoenix in 1993, but he didn't see the majors. He played all of 1994 at AA Shreveport, then started 1995 at Phoenix.

That June in 1995, he got his call to San Francisco. But it came with a complication, a major one: He'd been a replacement player that spring. His call-up marked the first for a replacement player in the National League.

He stayed all of two games. His new teammates wanted nothing to do with him. He didn't get into a game.

"I've got no comment," Chimelis told The San Francisco Chronicle after being sent back to AAA. "I don't want to stir up any problems with the team. It's a tough situation for everyone. It's a sensitive issue."

Chimelis never got to play in a game in the majors. He played out the year at Phoenix, then saw time at AAA the next year with the Mets. He then played in Korea, in Taiwan, in independent ball and in Mexico. He's last recorded as playing in 2002.

By 2004, he started his coaching career. He served that year as hitting coach at single-A Savannah. He then spent five years with short-season Tri-City. In 2012 and 2017, he served as hitting coach at AA Corpus Christi.

He then made the jump to the Mets system in 2018 and served as AAA hitting coach at Las Vegas in 2018 and Syracuse in 2019.

1990 Minor League Tally
Players/Coaches Featured:3,182
Made the Majors:1,157-36.4%-X
Never Made Majors:2,025-63.6%
5+ Seasons in the Majors: 480
10+ Seasons in the Minors:283

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