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Jose Miranda Deserves a Shot


Twins Daily Contributor

Jose Miranda has been treated more like an expendable veteran than an up and coming top prospect since his recall. It's time for the Twins to take a leap and see what they have in their former minor league hitter of the year.

Jose Miranda was brought aboard the Twins organization as a shortstop/second/third base type player years ago. Despite that fact, he's played first base almost exclusively since making his debut, and basically only plays a couple days per week against left handed pitching. Not only has his usage directly contradicted the Twins handling of top prospects in the past, but it's also crippled his ability to show that he belongs in the MLB. Jose Miranda is deserving of so much more.

Defensive Ability

Miranda has come to develop the reputation as a terrible defender among fans already, which is true if you're talking about first base. Many are quick to judge his ability at third base as surely if he can't handle what's considered the easiest infield position he can't play anywhere else. Unfortunately for Miranda, he was thrust into the role he has now as the Twins lack any other right handed hitters capable of playing first base. 

Miranda played some first the last few years in the minors, though his innings there were insignificant compared to his time at second and third. We've seen him mess up all kinds of in between plays on defense, which makes sense considering he's been forced to debut at what is not his primary position. In his limited time at 3rd base with the big league club, he's made one error and there isn't close to enough of a sample size yet to deem him a bad defender.

Offensive Ability

Despite the Twins unwillingness to budge from their current platooning of Miranda, his bat has been good enough to warrant more of a look. While players such as Sanchez, Kepler and Larnach are limping through June, Miranda has posted a .314/.340/.510 line which almost directly coincides with his recall from AAA at the end of May.

Any hitter can go on a hot stretch, but Miranda's numbers since returning to Target Field are showing off what made him the 2021 minor league hitter of the year. He has contact skills, he has plate discipline, he has power. We saw a defensively inept Luis Arraez make himself expendable in 2019 based solely on his bat and look at him now. What else does Miranda have to do at the plate?

The Twins Can Make Room

The Twins don't have quite the log jam it appears they do in the lineup. It's understandable why Miranda is on the short end of a platoon at first base when they have Kirilloff and Arraez to mash right handed pitching. Across the rest of the lineup however, opportunity should exist. The Twins just continue to write out lineup cards that include both Gary Sanchez and Ryan Jeffers. Not only does this open them up for disaster if the starting catcher gets injured, it's just plain ineffective. Both catchers are capable of going on a run offensively for short periods, Jeffers is on one now. Both however are below league average hitters at the moment, and going an extra mile to get a second catcher in your lineup regardless of the name seems like getting too cute. MI'd argue it's worth getting Miranda some DH at bats instead of one of the catchers that we expect little offensive value from.

In addition to DH, Gio Urshela just does not need to be the 7 days per week starting third baseman. The best day at the plate he's had all season on Wednesday elevated him from a below average hitter to slightly above. He was worth 0 fWAR coming into that game making him exactly a replacement level player. His increase by 0.2 in one game is impressive, but his total value on the season still isn't anything special and I don't think we expect such performances from him regularly.

In addition, Urshela's defense appears to be overrated by many, mainly because he can make some incredible plays at the hot corner while also booting plays that should be routine.

It's a very interesting skillset for Urshela who definitely holds his own but doesn't have a gold glove like defensive skill to keep him in the lineup regardless of his bat. Mixing Miranda in every once in awhile just to evaluate him at his primary position just shouldn't be difficult.

The Twins usage of Miranda has been perplexing. We've heard them say it a million times, most recently with Royce Lewis. They don't want him on the big league club if he can't play everyday. Miranda isn't the high profile prospect Lewis is, but they're treating him like they don't care about his development at all. They're DHing below league average catchers and awarding 100% playing time to players who don't deserve it while Miranda, one of the team's hottest hitters in June, plays a couple days per week.

It's possible the Twins don't see Miranda as a future regular, an odd conclusion to already be drawing. Perhaps they see him as a trade piece as many have suggested, although I'd argue playing him solely at a foreign position on very rare occasions isn't the best way to showcase his skills.

At any rate, Jose Miranda needs more of a look. After one of the single greatest minor league seasons in Twins history, Miranda has earned more than pinch hit and weak side platoon duty on a big league club that hasn't exactly been steamrolling the competition recently.

Would you like to see more Jose Miranda in the Twins lineup? Let us know below!


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I'd rather have Miranda in the lineup than Sanchez. I also agree that Gio is just an okay ballplayer. Maybe a smidgen above average on both sides of the ball, but certainly not a cornerstone. Honestly, I think Miranda will outhit him, but I don't trust Miranda's defense anywhere. Starting him at least once a week at DH and third would be fine along with platoon duty at first base.

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I guess I will be the lone voice again, but I have seen enough of Urshela to have seen things I haven't seen in years at 3B.  His bat is so so, but I love the left side with him and Correa defensively, and we have bats that can make up for him when he is lagging.  I would like to see Miranda DH instead of Sanchez or Jeffers, absolutely, and sprinkle in a little 3rd now and then to keep him as sharp as possible, but putting him at 3rd the majority of the time is wasting a talent in Urshela that I think is worth keeping on the field.  If it is such a problem, trade one of them, but don't put Urshela on the pine. 

Isn't the DH for players who can hit but struggle in the field?  The question is:  does that describe Miranda?  If so, the answer is self evident; if it doesn't, find a spot for him, but don't sacrifice the left side defense.  

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Miranda is getting a lot of Lefty Righty matchups which is helping him.  I wouldn't mind seeing him get more DH time and give Urshela a rest now and then certainly wouldn't hurt as Rocco seems to rest everyone else.  I think it would be nice to see him out there more since he seems to  be handling himself well at the plate.  The tough part about being a rookie is you need experience to become a veteran.  Maybe the Twins are just trying to protect him by only finding favorable matchups to play him in.

He is performing well so I can see why the Twins don't seem to be too worried about his role right now, but to the OP's point why not just completely rest your catchers instead of DH them when you have a likely better bat that needs playing time.  If a moment comes up that you think is too big for him or you don't like a certain matchup then pinch hit for him. Until his bat cools down I would put him out there more.

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He does. But agree he is not being served well here, specifically by the organizational philosophy of not giving a hoot about developing defensive skills. Identify their position in minors, develop their skills, and plant them in that position in mlb. Expecting young guys to plug and play positions they are not practiced at...at the mlb level ...is ludicrous. It's OJT. See Lewis,Royce.

Our organizational fascination with developing infielders who are not tasked with mastering a defensive position in their minor league development, then asked to learn a new position on the fly at mlb level....truly is mystifying. Jack of a few positions, master of none. Miranda, et al, deserve better organizational commitment and development.

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54 minutes ago, stringer bell said:

I'd rather have Miranda in the lineup than Sanchez. I also agree that Gio is just an okay ballplayer. Maybe a smidgen above average on both sides of the ball, but certainly not a cornerstone. Honestly, I think Miranda will outhit him, but I don't trust Miranda's defense anywhere. Starting him at least once a week at DH and third would be fine along with platoon duty at first base.

Gio is definitely just fine. I'd be fine with giving him the majority of the time at 3B. I just don't think he's good enough to play 7 days per week with no question of anybody else ever stepping in.

I get people's worry about Miranda's defense, he's been terrible at 1B. 3B is his primary position though and he has such a small sample playing there in the majors so far to judge too harshly. Just wish we'd see him there a little more so we could fairly evaluate.

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Miranda? He's adequate in the field. Right now the Twins have too many wannabe's and mightbe's and couldbe's . In my opinion, it would be better if their AAA club was on the other side of the country; it's too easy for the team to play whack-a-mole on an everyday basis with the minor club across town. We lost a game against the Guardians in the ninth inning because an adequate center fielder was playing instead of Buxton, who should have been out there for defensive reasons if he wasn't in the lineup. Try Miranda at DH, by all means, against righties and lefties both; let the man play consistently. The FO and Baldelli feel they have an embarrassment of riches; the result is a team whose identity is so fluid that I sometimes feel it's still spring training.

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3 minutes ago, Major League Ready said:

I have been an Urshela supporter from day1.  However, I would trade him at the deadline if the return was decent and insert Miranda at 3B for the rest of the season.  Steer is waiting in the wings if Miranda can't handle the job.

Concur. Might be able to get a nice bullpen piece for him and a low minors flyer. 

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Miranda, Larnach, and Arraez all have bats but shortcomings defensively. Arraez is a superior hitter who needs to be in the lineup and Larnach is a corner outfielder with some power potential. This leaves Miranda pinched for playing time, especially if one considers that Kirilloff is a decent first baseman who projects as a strong bat if given the time to get into a routine. Buxton takes a number of days thus far this season as the DH as well.

Looking at the roster and possibilities, my take is similar to the post. The Twins should not be using either Sanchez or Jeffers in the Dh role more than once a week or ten days and Miranda should be mixed in at third base more frequently. Urshela has a knack for drawing love from fans and teammates and he does seem pretty lovable from my couch: his smile and general demeanor are always positive. The Yankee fans absolutely loved Gio. Miranda should be starting 5-6 games per week. Like every player, however, Jose needs to rise to the occasion with better at bats. I would like to see him drive the ball more as opposed to deep fly ball outs and pitches out of the strike zone should be ignored. Kirilloff and Larnach are in the same boat to some extent.

Lastly, Miranda presents a little bit of a challenge for the Twins. The team has presented a better defense this year and going forward I am a fan of players who are above average on both sides of the ball. I think Lewis would be a strong third baseman as soon as next year which puts Miranda right back to looking for a home. Arraez has familiarity with this quandary and he hits and hits to stay in the lineup.  Having too many decent players is a good problem but the Twins need their younger guys to step forward sooner than later.

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Just another in a long line of questionable decisions by this organization.  Miranda should be on the field no less than 5 days per week, with at least 1 or 2 of those at 3B.  Also, the problem with trading Urshela going into the deadline, contending teams that are serious about making a playoff run aren't looking for "league average" at 3B.  They want a top 10 player at the position.  The Twins have floundered for over a Month now being a less than .500 ballclub.  Two words...More Miranda!

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36 minutes ago, MinnInPa said:

so confused on all the bashing of Ursela... along with Arraez he has been one of our top players this year. very nice addition this year id say. I do agree Miranda should be DH more often than Sanchez. Still sick of watching this entire lineup K so often 

For what it's worth, Urshela and Arraez are miles apart in terms of how valuable they've been this year. Arraez is second on the team in Wins Above Replacement, Urshela is 12th. Barely ahead of Nick Gordon who plays 3 days per week. Just two days ago Urshela came in at 0 Wins Above Replacement.

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While I feel the use of the word "Crippling" is a little pre-mature and dramatic,  I do agree with what your article is saying. 

Many moons ago when Miranda was struggling I felt he should have been sent down but they sent down Lewis instead and provided Miranda with plenty of playing time while he was struggling. 

Now... Miranda seems to have straightened out a bit and now the playing time isn't as available. I understand that we are healthier than we were back then but this is kinda backwards.    

You are absolutely correct. Sanchez can yield some playing time to give Miranda more playing time. Urshela can yield some playing time to give Miranda more playing time. KIrilloff can also play OF so that means Kirilloff, Kepler and Larnach can yield playing time and nobody has to sacrifice significant playing time to make it happen. 

If you want to simplify it and just compare Miranda to Sanchez without factoring in everybody else.

Both are righthanded

Miranda has an OPS of .874 over the last 30 days - Sanchez has an OPS of .653. This suggests that Miranda is hitting better than Sanchez right now. 

Miranda will be a free agent in 2029 - Sanchez will be a free agent at the end of this season. 

This suggests that Miranda is clearly the better choice for our future.

The combination of playing better right now and a potentially long future with our club makes the consistent selection of Sanchez somewhat curious to me. 

 

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5 minutes ago, silverslugger said:

Just another in a long line of questionable decisions by this organization.  Miranda should be on the field no less than 5 days per week, with at least 1 or 2 of those at 3B.  Also, the problem with trading Urshela going into the deadline, contending teams that are serious about making a playoff run aren't looking for "league average" at 3B.  They want a top 10 player at the position.  The Twins have floundered for over a Month now being a less than .500 ballclub.  Two words...More Miranda!

Would a contending team trade a bullpen piece? I was thinking a team that's out of it might want an arb eligible player to fill a hole next year. However I think he will be due $8-10m next year in his final arb year so he may price that option out. 

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13 minutes ago, terrydactyls said:

The Twins could always trade Polanco at the deadline and insert Miranda at 2B.

Polanco has had some injuries over the last few years and it is easy to forget him when he struggles to stay healthy. Still Polanco is tied for the lead in RBI's, has only two less at bats than the team leader, and has played only a couple of games less than the leader in games played. Polanco has been the best Twin player over the last couple of years. I'm not sure that Miranda has a ceiling anywhere near the play we have received from Jorge. The Twins have most of what they need to play good baseball and it is always a good idea to listen to what other teams offer or suggest for any player. So I guess there are not any Twins that are untouchable.

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Miranda has played in 16/20 games this month and 38 of 48/49 games.  Over a full season that is roughly 126 games for a rookie, that seems like a reasonable amount of playing time, especially with how bad his first month was.

Currently he is sitting with a negative WAR (-.6) I see that getting much better, but if he goes the way of Larnach or AK last year and they trade Gio, things could get ugly.

I believe the team is doing a job with Miranda, and if he continues to play well, he will get more and more playing time.

 

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4 minutes ago, TwinsDr2021 said:

Miranda has played in 16/20 games this month and 38 of 48/49 games.  Over a full season that is roughly 126 games for a rookie, that seems like a reasonable amount of playing time, especially with how bad his first month was.

Currently he is sitting with a negative WAR (-.6) I see that getting much better, but if he goes the way of Larnach or AK last year and they trade Gio, things could get ugly.

I believe the team is doing a job with Miranda, and if he continues to play well, he will get more and more playing time.

 

Yes, the Twins are doing a job with Miranda.  But is that job good or bad?  😆😆😆

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28 minutes ago, tony&rodney said:

Polanco has had some injuries over the last few years and it is easy to forget him when he struggles to stay healthy. Still Polanco is tied for the lead in RBI's, has only two less at bats than the team leader, and has played only a couple of games less than the leader in games played. Polanco has been the best Twin player over the last couple of years. I'm not sure that Miranda has a ceiling anywhere near the play we have received from Jorge. The Twins have most of what they need to play good baseball and it is always a good idea to listen to what other teams offer or suggest for any player. So I guess there are not any Twins that are untouchable.

Polanco is also someone a team trying to improve would agree to take in a trade (probably along with a prospect or two) for someone who might help them now.

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One of our wealth areas is that we have people that can play first and a couple of them can play OF pretty well also. IMHO, we have some guys that are younger with great possibilities that we have never really answered the question about. It is one of our few areas where we have flexibility. Two of our OF positions are tied up that prevent us from answering the question by having them play a full year in the spots.

Buxton ties up one of the spots and is high paid with part time abilities/status. The other is Kepler, a great RF but career .245 hitter with pop, prone to pull hitting. We unloaded a fan favorite, albeit an inconsistent LF in Eddie R.

I belive it is time for us to see if either could be a trade along with Sano for some pitching and then firmly use Miranda, Kirilloff and Larnach with Celestino, Gordon and Garlik somewhere in the mix. This does imply keeping our IF players (as difficult as it may be to secure Carrea, we should) and making sure Arraez remains in the lineup daily. 

My Twins Geezer two cents! By today's standard that probably is worth $10.00!

Go Twins!

 

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Our organizational fascination with developing infielders who are not tasked with mastering a defensive position in their minor league development, then asked to learn a new position on the fly at mlb level....truly is mystifying. Jack of a few positions, master of none. Miranda, et al, deserve better organizational commitment and development.

Game 7-91--100% agree.  It has gotten to be the trendy thing (thank you Joe Madden, mad scientist) to slot players at other than their home position and expect them to perform.  For some reason, the Twins have fallen in love with this concept---even moving guys from infield to outfield on a rotating basis.  Isn't that the purpose of minor league development. That in itself is crazy---two completely different worlds!!  What other sport do you see this in?  For example: Arraez has always had a great bat.   That he is having his best year at the plate while experiencing more defensive positional security should not be overlooked.  

Tom Kelley has to be frustrated watching this team with Defense as an  afterthought.  The more I see of Rocco's lineups each day, the more I scratch my head as to why he is The Mgr instead of a bench coach.  He has no philosophy that I can tell.  Without a philosophy to share---you have a hard time leading as a Mgr.  Oh---yes---pitching is on the defensive side of the equation.

The Twins are proving that you cannot win regularly with a team lead by offense.  I thought the Texas Rangers proved that to everyone the last few decades.  How many games have the twins lost when scoring more than 5 runs?  2-----many.

I have not seen enough of Miranda at 3rd to know if he is anything more than a 0 WAR fielder.  He doesn't move athletically and looks a little stiff, like Larnach---but I would like to see him play some more to see.  if he is as good defensively as Urshella, the organizations would be silly not to play/keep the player with the team friendly contract--so I am inclined not to believe he is as good.   But--as we see over and over with lineup decisions--the team doesn't do what seems to follow a lot of reason. 

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1 hour ago, Mark G said:

I guess I will be the lone voice again, but I have seen enough of Urshela to have seen things I haven't seen in years at 3B.  His bat is so so, but I love the left side with him and Correa defensively, and we have bats that can make up for him when he is lagging.  I would like to see Miranda DH instead of Sanchez or Jeffers, absolutely, and sprinkle in a little 3rd now and then to keep him as sharp as possible, but putting him at 3rd the majority of the time is wasting a talent in Urshela that I think is worth keeping on the field.  If it is such a problem, trade one of them, but don't put Urshela on the pine. 

Isn't the DH for players who can hit but struggle in the field?  The question is:  does that describe Miranda?  If so, the answer is self evident; if it doesn't, find a spot for him, but don't sacrifice the left side defense.  

Best comment in this thread.  The Twins' losses are due to poor pitching and defense. Pitching and defense wins and loses games.  Period.  Until the Twins step up their defense and bullpen, they can score 10 runs, and it STILL won't be enough.  

Miranda is not ready to be in the field.  Urshela is!  Miranda is a disaster at 1B.  And Kirilloff was signed as an outfielder and has played almost no 1B.  Look it up!  

When Polanco comes off the IL, Arraez should go back to 1B and leave him there.  

Night after night - the Twins have too many rookies (minor leaguers) in their lineup.

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2 hours ago, Tiantwindup said:

Agree he needs a shot. In my optimistic moments I think they are showcasing Gio so they can trade him for pitching and move Miranda to third full time.  As I say, in my optimistic moments…

I have the same optimism. Gio has done an okay job at 3rd in my opinion but he's not the future answer for the Twins. Miranda will be an upgrade, if he gets playing time at 3rd this year. At the major league level. He has nothing left to prove in the minors. Use him or lose him.

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