Entering the 2021 season, it's not as if Miranda was a completely unknown commodity. Minnesota selected him in the second-round pack in 2016, and his first two professional seasons were spent in the rookie leagues, where he posted a .722 OPS. In 2018, most of his season was at Low-A as Miranda combined for a .760 OPS. Before the pandemic, he played at High-A and was limited to a .663 OPS. Minnesota eventually left him unprotected in the Rule 5 Draft, but he luckily stayed in the organization.
Miranda's 2021 production is what an organization hopes can happen as a player develops through their system. He was a surprise player that produced big power numbers in the minor's upper levels. Here are three prospects that can follow Miranda's footsteps this year for various reasons.
Power Production: Austin Martin
One of the knocks against Martin throughout his professional career has been his lack of power. When the Blue Jays drafted him, he was coming off a collegiate career where he posted a 1.007 OPS. Last season, he made his professional debut and played the entire season at Double-A. In 93 games, he combined for a .796 OPS with 25 extra-base hits. Before his 30 home run explosion, there were questions about Miranda's power development. After 2021, Miranda's power concerns have been put to rest, and Minnesota hopes for the same kind of transformation from Martin in 2022.
Surprise Production: Yunior Severino
Initially, the Braves signed him, but MLB granted his free agency after Atlanta was punished for illegal infractions on the international market. Atlanta's loss was Minnesota's gain. Like Miranda, Minnesota left Severino unprotected from the Rule 5 Draft. Last season, he hit .273/.372/.430 (.802) between Low- and High-A. He was younger than the average age of the competition at both levels. Next season, he will be 22-years-old, and he should reach Double-A. There is a chance a team selects him in the Rule 5 Draft, but it's tough to imagine him sticking as a big-league utility player for the entire 2022 season.
Upper-Level Production: Aaron Sabato
Things didn't go perfectly for Sabato in his first professional season. Minnesota selected him with their first-round pick in 2020, so expectations for him entering the year were high. At Low-A, he hit .189/.365/.357 (.722) with a 117 to 73 strikeout to walk ratio in 85 games. After being promoted to High-A, he posted a 1.015 OPS with 11 extra-base hits in 22 games. Based on his college experience, Sabato should be penciled in to spend the bulk of 2022 in the upper-levels of the minors. Can Sabato duplicate his production from Cedar Rapids as he moves up the organizational ladder?
Which player do you think will be this year's Miranda? Are there other players that should be on the list? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
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