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What the Twins Can Expect from Jose Miranda


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As injuries mount and roster churn happens for the Minnesota Twins, 2021 minor league hitter of the year, Jose Miranda, sees himself eyeing a major league debut. After one of the most offensively dominant seasons in minor league history, what is there to expect at the next level.

Miguel Sano is headed to the injured list with a knee issue following his walk-off hit the other night, and Kyle Garlick may land there with a calf strain. Having Sano out has meant that Luis Arraez needed to learn first base on the fly, and no backup exists on Minnesota’s roster. This year, Alex Kirilloff was expected to rotate with the hulking slugger, but he’s currently dealing with a wrist ailment. Enter Jose Miranda.
 
Having primarily played third base throughout his professional career, it’s evident that Minnesota sees Miranda’s versatility as a bonus and can get him into the lineup in multiple different ways. He has played second base, some corner outfield, and a significant amount at first base. You’d be hard-pressed to suggest he’s a Gold Glove candidate anywhere, but he’s a starting option at any of the positions he plays on the dirt.

Needing to spell Arraez, considering his lack of significant defensive value, it may be prudent to find Miranda a spot as Rocco Baldelli juggles his players dealing with differing maladies. What can you expect when he’s ultimately called up to the big leagues from a guy who laid waste to the competition a season ago?
 
Miranda was a second-round pick for Minnesota back in 2016. He posted an .824 OPS with Elizabethton as a 17-year-old but then never again topped a .736 OPS until 2021. As a 23-year-old last season, he needed less than 50 games at Double-A to prove he was too advanced for the level. Making it to Triple-A St. Paul last season, he became the main act for a Saints team in their debut year as a Twins affiliate. Across 80 games, he slashed .343/.397/.563 and ripped a whopping 30 total homers. Striking out just 74 times while drawing 42 walks, he’s hardly a slugger that sells out for power.
 
Fast forward to 2022, and Miranda was given plenty of opportunities to showcase his skills this spring. Josh Donaldson was originally going to block him at the hot corner, and then the trade for Gio Urshela accomplished the same thing. Sano is entrenched in the big leagues, so first base was taken, and Jorge Polanco isn’t going anywhere at second. It would take injury to provide an opportunity, and that door has now opened.
 
Through 21 games with St. Paul this season, Miranda has overcome a slow start. A .737 OPS is hardly indicative of the talent that emerged last season, but what he’s done lately will draw attention. Miranda has hits in 10 of his last 11 games, and his last 57 plate appearances have resulted in a .300/.351/.520 slash line. Last week, he blasted his second homer of the season, and it was crushed to deep left-center at CHS Field. While the weather has yet to do so, Miranda is heating up.

Starting last season in Kansas, the change to an odd Minnesota spring hasn’t been helpful at all. It doesn’t appear the process has altered, though, as a 14/5 K/BB is still indicative of a guy picking his spots. Should the recent surge provide any substantial evidence, it’s time to call mastery at the highest minor league level a thing.
 
When graduating to Minnesota, there should be plenty of promise. He can play all over the diamond but is a more natural fit at first base than Arraez. He’s a better hitter than Sano but lacks the same level of power. He will put baseballs in the seats, but will do so without the prototypical slugger plan of attack. He’s an adequate defender, and that gives him a leg up on his internal competition for both spots on the right side of the infield.
 
I don’t know that Miranda is an immediate .800 OPS player at the next level given his slow burn on the farm, but if 2021 and beyond are any indication, he should be here to stay when called upon. This is a regular that could have a quicker path to contribution than that of Urshela, but a player in that vein would be a great addition for a team needing depth.
 
We are on the precipice of a long-term run from another prospect out of Puerto Rico, and following in the footsteps of Jose Berrios or Eddie Rosario would be a welcomed reality.


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The answer at 1B is not Urshela or Miranda.  Kirilloff is the answer.  Larnach playing so well has made this easy.  Kirilloff will be back playing 1B very soon and Larnach starts in LF.  They have Gordon / Garlick and Celestino as backup OFers.  I am looking forward to Miranda / Lewis and Martin forcing their way on to the roster, but we are not there yet.   

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27 minutes ago, Major League Ready said:

The answer at 1B is not Urshela or Miranda.  Kirilloff is the answer.  Larnach playing so well has made this easy.  Kirilloff will be back playing 1B very soon and Larnach starts in LF.  They have Gordon / Garlick and Celestino as backup OFers.  I am looking forward to Miranda / Lewis and Martin forcing their way on to the roster, but we are not there yet.   

This Rocco quote was pretty ominous for the next month or so for Kirilloff.

"We just want to make sure when we're inserting him, we're not just inserting a guy that we think is healthy; we're inserting a guy that's ready to play and go out there and produce,"

https://www.cbssports.com/fantasy/baseball/news/twins-alex-kirilloff-rehab-assignment-to-continue/


Mentally, I've backed him up to at least Memorial Day. If Miranda has a good start, Larnach keeps this up, and Urshela offers no reason to be benched, it could be longer. 

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46 minutes ago, Eris said:

I think Max Kepler would be the backup 1B on the roster. Although he has not had many innings there in the majors, he did spend some time at that position while in the minor leagues. 

I think Kepler would be an option, except we're a little short on OF with Kirilloff on rehab, and Garlick possibly needing some time off as well. 

I just hope that if they do pull the trigger on bringing up Miranda that they put him in the lineup. While riding the bench will fatten his wallet, it won't do anything for his development. I'm a fan of him as a player, and I think his feel for the strike zone will keep him from getting overwhelmed early.

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1 hour ago, Major League Ready said:

The answer at 1B is not Urshela or Miranda.  Kirilloff is the answer.  Larnach playing so well has made this easy.  Kirilloff will be back playing 1B very soon and Larnach starts in LF.  They have Gordon / Garlick and Celestino as backup OFers.  I am looking forward to Miranda / Lewis and Martin forcing their way on to the roster, but we are not there yet.   

Predicting injury recovery is an inexact science at best, but the quotes and information I’ve read leave me with the impression Sano might be back at first before Kiriloff.

They’ve already fixed Kiriloff’s wrist with one surgery and it’s still too painful to swing a bat without a cortisone shot? That seems like a big deal. I’m just hoping  he can get his career back on track even if it takes a long rehab or another surgery. 
 

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Haven't followed the Saints as close since the Twins began playing.  Had noticed that he was off to a slow start, at least compared to last year.  Glad to see from your comments above that he has picked it up of late.

As for what can we expect, well the same first game for the Twins that he had for the Saints last summer would be ok!!!

Will be interesting to see how long he stays.

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1 hour ago, Harrison Greeley III said:

This Rocco quote was pretty ominous for the next month or so for Kirilloff.

"We just want to make sure when we're inserting him, we're not just inserting a guy that we think is healthy; we're inserting a guy that's ready to play and go out there and produce,"

https://www.cbssports.com/fantasy/baseball/news/twins-alex-kirilloff-rehab-assignment-to-continue/


Mentally, I've backed him up to at least Memorial Day. If Miranda has a good start, Larnach keeps this up, and Urshela offers no reason to be benched, it could be longer. 

I agree and Memorial Day may be optimistic. Kirilloff has to get over the mental part of playing with a potentially chronic injury. That takes some time. I'm thinking after the All Star break, particularly if an Arraez/Miranda platoon is at least adequate at 1B.    

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Thanks Ted for bringing up this interesting topic. Last year I suggested Arraez at 1B, people rebuttled by saying he too short. Yet I'm happy to see Arraez playing 1B because I believe that's his best position.

Miranda should've been called up last year becaused he played so well and this ST he played very well and I'm sure he was sure that he'd be finally being called up but that didn't happen. I'm sure that he was dissappointed and that probabally affected his play down there. It has been a pity that they hadn't gave Miranda some time at the corner OF positions to give him more opportunities to get his bat in the line up. He could have been called up after ST.

Now that Arraez is at 1B you'd think that he'd be called up. But right now IMO Lewis has shown that he can easily hit AAA, because of his flexibity where he could sub 3B as well as CF abd SS where he can be given more time to be groomed by Correa, So right now he could be passed over again.

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36 minutes ago, Mike Sixel said:

Kepler isn't moving to first. He's one of the best RFers in the game right now (defensively). And, he's also hitting. They aren't going to mess with that.

Miranda and Araez (sp?) are the first basemen until Sano is back (if Miranda hits, I deal Sano).

You the man. That's exactly what they should do as a plan.  Kepler is a good glove in the OF and is now hitting (who would have guessed? not me).  Arraez needs a place to play against RH pitching and IB is the only spot left for him where he doesn't hurt us in the field.  Pair him with Miranda and if Miranda plays well, trade Sano if we can. 

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This is a good development. Miranda if he hits will stick, putting more pressure on Sano to get it going like he can.

Something has to give in a positive way inasmuch as there eventually will be four players in the mix for at-bats at 1B and DH:

Miranda, Arraez, Kirilloff and Sano. (Assuming limited AB at DH for the catchers.)

This assumes Larnach holds onto LF and Kepler has in reality figured it out again.

Martin and Lewis will soon come knocking on the door too.

This log jam of bats may create some tradable assets at the break if needed?

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Just now, Linus said:

Here is my highly unqualified medical opinion on Kiriloff   he is going to take a swing and some scar tissue is going to pop and he will be pain free. 

Agreed. My wife had the same surgery, although that doesn't mean he'll hit. Larnach flew past him, and now Miranda has a chance to fly by him. I can't believe they didn't put him under and break up that scar tissue? My wife said no thanks to that, but it would have sped up her movement and recovery. I had never heard of this manipulation they do under anesthesia before but the intent is to bust up the scar tissue. I've watched her slowly but surely bust through it, and after 18 months she is about 90% back. Nothing more important for a hitter than eyes and wrists. 

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I just hope he actually gets to play and not a few games at the MLB level only to get sent back down when Gray is ready to come of DL and he gets not playing time.  We have been known to do that bring up a guy only to not play them an inning for several games.  The offense has been coming around, Urshella had a terrible weekend, and Arraez had a rough stretch too.  I think Miranda should get at least 1 start.  I doubt he will be here long, barring additional injuries, or he just rakes and forces his way into line up.  

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I expect at least 20 to 30 plate appearances his first go around.  He will get some time in LF, 1B, BH. Maybe a start at 3B and PH. It would be cool if he hits right out the gate but no real expectations for the small sample size.

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Wasn't Sano supposedly down 25lbs before the season started? This is the 'celebration' picture where he hurt his knee.  There is no way he isn't pushing 3 bills there. It's time to cut the cord. It's obvious he isn't taking his career seriously.  *picture from Startribune.commerlin_67326333.jpg?w=525&h=600&format=auto%2Ccompress&cs=tinysrgb&auto=compress&crop=faces&dpr=1.25

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1 hour ago, Mike Sixel said:

(if Miranda hits, I deal Sano).

Sano has zero trade value. Over Sano's last 802 plate appearances going back to 2000 he's hitting .209/.297/.445 and has played poor defense at first base. He's also just put up the worst month of his entire career. Nobody wants an expensive DH who can't hit. Good news is Miranda really only needs to hit above .200 to be clearly preferable to Sano.

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3 minutes ago, DJL44 said:

Sano has zero trade value. Over Sano's last 802 plate appearances going back to 2000 he's hitting .209/.297/.445 and has played poor defense at first base. He's also just put up the worst month of his entire career. Nobody wants an expensive DH who can't hit. Good news is Miranda really only needs to hit above .200 to be clearly preferable to Sano.

I'm ok with getting nothing back, if Miranda hits and they roll the dice with him. 

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2 hours ago, PopRiveter said:

Predicting injury recovery is an inexact science at best, but the quotes and information I’ve read leave me with the impression Sano might be back at first before Kiriloff.

They’ve already fixed Kiriloff’s wrist with one surgery and it’s still too painful to swing a bat without a cortisone shot? That seems like a big deal. I’m just hoping  he can get his career back on track even if it takes a long rehab or another surgery. 
 

I was not aware of these quotes.  My optimism for Kirilloff's return might well be misplaced.  Larnach playing so well makes Kirilloff taking over 1B the ideal scenario.  However, Miranda getting a chance is a nice consolation prize.  This team is probably going to have a lot of exciting transition this year.  Ryan / Duran / Winder and Larnach are looking good.  Hopefully, Miranda extends this trend.

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2 hours ago, In My La Z boy said:

Agreed. My wife had the same surgery, although that doesn't mean he'll hit. Larnach flew past him, and now Miranda has a chance to fly by him. I can't believe they didn't put him under and break up that scar tissue? My wife said no thanks to that, but it would have sped up her movement and recovery. I had never heard of this manipulation they do under anesthesia before but the intent is to bust up the scar tissue. I've watched her slowly but surely bust through it, and after 18 months she is about 90% back. Nothing more important for a hitter than eyes and wrists. 

But can your wife, My La X boy, hit a 95 mph fastball?

Just joking, appreciate the comment about a procedure I expect many of us hadn't heard of.

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1 minute ago, stringer bell said:

It seems to me that it is on Kirilloff to make his way back to the Twins. While he hasn't been optioned, if he doesn't perform in his rehab, it seems that he certainly will officially send him down to St. Paul. Kirilloff needs to recover physically and mentally. 

Agreed. I think he needs to show he's healthy for a few weeks.....

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2 hours ago, Original_JB said:

Wasn't Sano supposedly down 25lbs before the season started? This is the 'celebration' picture where he hurt his knee.  There is no way he isn't pushing 3 bills there. It's time to cut the cord. It's obvious he isn't taking his career seriously.  *picture from Startribune.commerlin_67326333.jpg?w=525&h=600&format=auto%2Ccompress&cs=tinysrgb&auto=compress&crop=faces&dpr=1.25

That's not Sano, that's Cedrick the Entertainer.

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On 5/2/2022 at 1:11 PM, Major League Ready said:

I was not aware of these quotes.  My optimism for Kirilloff's return might well be misplaced.  Larnach playing so well makes Kirilloff taking over 1B the ideal scenario.  However, Miranda getting a chance is a nice consolation prize.  This team is probably going to have a lot of exciting transition this year.  Ryan / Duran / Winder and Larnach are looking good.  Hopefully, Miranda extends this trend.

I sure hope Kiriloff can come back quickly and get his season going but his prolonged wrist problems worry me. 

Sano's updates have all been bad so far. Feels like his 2022 is going to be a wash.

I'm excited to see what Miranda does with the opportunity. I was kind of hoping he'd be so productive at AAA that he'd force his way in rather than have an injury open a path, but here we are and I'm really excited for the guy.

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