A highly regarded prep prospect out of Puerto Rico, the Twins selected Miranda with the 73rd overall pick in the 2016 draft based on his projected ability to hit for power and average while providing solid defense at third base. However, Miranda largely failed to live up to his reputation before the 2021 season as neither his power numbers nor batting average ever reached the levels many thought they would.
However, 2021 has been a much different story.
As of this writing, Miranda is slashing .337/.398/.653 in 24 games with Triple-A St. Paul - he's reached base safely in all 24 games - and that's after hitting .345/.408/.588 in 47 games at Double-A Wichita. His 167 wRC+ is 10th among all MiLB players who have accumulated at least 150 plate appearances. Bump up the required plate appearances to 230, a number that should be easily obtainable for minor leaguers who play nearly every night and have remained healthy - Miranda has 331, for example - and he jumps up to fourth.
In essence, while the sample size is still relatively small, Miranda has displayed enough consistency at both the Double- and Triple-A levels to suggest that some level of his success is here to stay. His numbers will regress before the season winds down, but it's fair to say that FanGraphs needs to update his 35-grade hit tool and 30-grade game power.
Miranda's 2021 season is likely the ceiling for what he can be at the major league level: 20-30 home run power with a high OBP and solid, versatile infield defense. That type of player is a multi-time All-Star, MVP candidate, and a cornerstone in the lineup for a contending team. However, the odds that he reaches his current production level while on an MLB roster remain slim.
In all likelihood, Miranda won't reach his 100% outcome. A more likely scenario involves him developing into something more akin to former Twin Michael Cuddyer. Cuddy finished his career with 197 home runs and a .277 batting average across 15 major league seasons. It should be considered a wild success if Miranda develops into the next Michael Cuddyer.
A significant reason why Miranda has been so successful this season and may continue to be in the future is his ability to control his bat head through the strike zone.
Miranda generates loft on pitches, even those down in the zone. He accomplishes this by keeping the barrel of his bat relatively parallel to the ground, which increases the surface area of the bat that may come in contact with the ball, which, in turn, increases the likelihood that a ball will be barreled rather than squibbed or popped up.
Suppose he can maintain his form while facing major league-level pitching and implement minor refinements to increase his power even more. In that case, Miranda should have no problem hitting 25 or more home runs per season and for a good average.
Additionally, Miranda is solid in the field, particularly at third base.
While he has seen time at first, second, and third base at both Double- and Triple-A, his future, or at least his near future, is most likely at the hot corner. He possesses enough arm strength to be at least average at third and could easily fill in for Jorge Polanco and Alex Kirilloff at his other positions as needed.
Miranda's emergence this season has allowed the Twins to think long and hard about trading current third baseman Josh Donaldson, and if (or more likely, when) they decide to pull the trigger, he may find himself on the next city bus to Target Field. If not this season, then next.
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