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  • Scouting Twins Prospects: Jose Miranda


    Lucas Seehafer PT

    No single prospect in the Minnesota Twins farm system has seen their value grow more over the last three months than Jose Miranda.

    Image courtesy of © Jonathan Dyer | 2021 Mar 1

    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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    This is a good write-up, and he's an exciting prospect.  Adding him to the 40-man is an absolute no-brainer in the off-season at the very latest.  Even if Donaldson isn't traded, he's getting older and could probably stand to take up to 25% of his games at DH.  Miranda can also spell Arraez and Kirilloff against tough lefties and DH some himself.  If the team somehow has zero injuries, then it will be a good problem to have.  The likelihood of that happening when you have Arraez, Donaldson, and Kirilloff on your team is virtually zero though.  Miranda could also just rake AAA for another year.  He's young enough and has three options.  I wouldn't call it service time manipulation either, because he is legitimately blocked by one or more players at all his positions right now.

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    1 hour ago, MMMordabito said:

    This is a good write-up, and he's an exciting prospect.  Adding him to the 40-man is an absolute no-brainer in the off-season at the very latest.  Even if Donaldson isn't traded, he's getting older and could probably stand to take up to 25% of his games at DH.  Miranda can also spell Arraez and Kirilloff against tough lefties and DH some himself.  If the team somehow has zero injuries, then it will be a good problem to have.  The likelihood of that happening when you have Arraez, Donaldson, and Kirilloff on your team is virtually zero though.  Miranda could also just rake AAA for another year.  He's young enough and has three options.  I wouldn't call it service time manipulation either, because he is legitimately blocked by one or more players at all his positions right now.

    Yep, you definitely don't want to be overzealous with a prospect like Miranda and move him through the system too quickly, particularly since his production had been rather inconsistent/underwhelming prior to this season. That said, in a lost season where it seems likely that a number of players are going to be moved in the coming days, bringing him up for a few games in September wouldn't be a bad idea. I bet we see him in a Twins uniform towards the end of the season. If he keeps hitting at his current clip, there isn't a ton of reason to keep him in St. Paul.

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    It's really great to see Miranda put it together and he had the advantage of getting in nearly 150 plate appearances during the 2020 season through Puerto Rico leagues to work on his game.

    It's hard to put together 331 plate appearances of dominance on luck in general, but Miranda's run has shown reasonable peripherals as well. Miranda's BB and K rates have gotten even better at AAA, it's very encouraging.

    I'd be totally confident in Miranda as the real deal if it weren't for the Chris Parmelee's.

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    Count me among those who want to see him get a cup of coffee come September.  Good chance for him to learn what it is like so he can work on things this winter and return to the Twins come opening day.

    Will he hit as well in the big leagues as he is now?  Great question and the answer may be no.  But that doesn't mean he won't be a very good hitter.  And who knows, he just may continue shocking people and be this good in the future.  Arraez, Larnach, Miranda and Kirilloff might be one heck of a top of the order for a long time.

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    1 minute ago, roger said:

    Count me among those who want to see him get a cup of coffee come September.  Good chance for him to learn what it is like so he can work on things this winter and return to the Twins come opening day.

    Will he hit as well in the big leagues as he is now?  Great question and the answer may be no.  But that doesn't mean he won't be a very good hitter.  And who knows, he just may continue shocking people and be this good in the future.

    If the Twins make as many moves in the next couple of days as we all expect them to, I'd be surprised if we don't get a glimpse of him with the Twins. 

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    I think I'd try to get him some ML ABs this year. He's got to be feeling about as good as he's ever felt at the plate. Let him see if he can carry that hot streak over to the majors and build some confidence going into next year. And give the FO a look at him against big league competition so they have an even more informed opinion on whether he can be a contributor next year. If he struggles at the next level he will go into the winter knowing how pitchers are going to attack him and what he needs to work on.

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    I completely agree that he should get some MLB at bats. I would prefer they started sooner rather than later though. If we trade Donaldson, I would advocate bringing up Miranda and giving he 3-4 days a week to get his feet wet starting in early August. If not, I agree that we should wait until September. The reason for the difference is that absent Donaldson, the Twins have more of  a need for him next year so we have more of a need to see what he can do for a longer period.  Assumedly Arraez will move to 3B if Donaldson is traded and it's hard to project more than 100-120 games a year for Arraez given his knee issues unless he spends some time as the DH. We will need a 3B to play at least 40-60 games next year if Donaldson is gone and I for one would prefer that Sano not be that guy.  

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