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  • Twins Daily 2022 Top Prospects: #3 Jose Miranda


    Jamie Cameron

    Jose Miranda put up one of the most electrifying seasons from a Twins prospect in organizational history. Is he the real deal? An emerging superstar? Come and read up on his prospects for 2022.

    Image courtesy of Rob Thompson, St. Paul Saints (graphics by Thieres Rabelo)

    Jose Miranda was drafted by the Twins with the 76th overall pick in 2016 as a high school prospect out of Puerto Rico. 2021 was the year Jose Miranda arrived. Insert your favorite line from ‘Hamilton’ or ‘The Heights’ here. The cousin of Lin Manuel Miranda catapulted himself into the national prospect writer collective consciousness in 2021, eviscerating AA and AAA pitching all season, and simultaneously vaulting himself into several national top 100 prospect lists. 

    Age: 23 (DOB: 06/29/1998)
    2021 Stats (AA and AAA): .344/.401/.572, 32 2B, 30 HR, 94 RBI, 6.7 BB%, 13.1 K%
    ETA: 2022
    2021 Ranking: 19

    National Top 100 Rankings:
    BA: 90 MLB: Not Released ATH: 96 BP: NR

    What’s to Like?
    Miranda had one of the best seasons for a prospect in Twins organizational history in 2021, so it’s hard to know where to start. Reports were high on Miranda from instructs at the end of the COVID shortened 2020 season.

    Miranda’s greatest challenge prior to the 2021 season was his contact rate. He has a short, compact swing and shows the ability to drive the ball to all fields. Prior to the 2021 season, he put the ball in play so much, he made hard contact much less often than he was capable of, rarely working pitch counts or being selective with the contact he made.

    Miranda tightening up his strike zone control had trajectory-altering implications for him in 2021, as he managed a combined 159 wRC+ at AA and AAA and had an offensive season on par with Yankees’ helium prospect Anthony Volpe.

    What’s Left to Work On?

    There are two remaining questions relating to Miranda’s status as a major leaguer. Was his breakout for real? Where is his defensive home? If Miranda’s breakout is for real, he should be, a lowest, the Twins #2 prospect (and possible #1 overall). Miranda does not have an established record of success in minor league baseball outside of 2021, posting wRC+ figures between 100-115 in his previous four seasons in the minors. If we want to be picky, Miranda could stand to walk more, managing just a 6.7% BB% in 2021 (about the same as Eddie Rosario).

    Miranda is limited from entering uber-prospect status by an uncertain defensive home. Miranda has played at first base, second base, and in the outfield for the Twins. He’s looked best at third base. Even there, he will be, at best, a slightly below-average defender. This will be a puzzle for the organization to solve. A permanent move to first base or a corner outfield spot may be what gives him the best chance at being an average defender, but make no mistake, the bat will play anywhere. Pre-season projection like Miranda, with Steamer having him posting a 113 wRC+ and 15 HR in around 400 plate appearances in 2022. Miranda will be at Target Field in 2022, if his development curve continues, he’s a star in the making.

    Previous Rankings
    Honorable Mentions
    Prospects 16-20
    Prospects 11-15
    #10: Josh Winder, RHP
    #9: Chase Petty, RHP
    #8: Simeon Woods Richardson, RHP
    #7: Jhoan Duran
    #6: Matt Canterino
    #5: Joe Ryan
    #4: Jordan Balazovic 
    #3: Jose Miranda 
    #2: Coming tomorrow! 

     

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    We never really know how the MLB career for a prospect will work out, but there is no reason not to be excited about Miranda.  What a year.  I wish he had gotten an MLB taste the end of last year, but that is just being picky.  The lack of position is a real issue.  Does he go to LF with Kiriloff at 1B?  How will Larnach look this year - still shell shocked or ready to assert himself?  With Buxton and Kepler that only leaves LF for the two of them.  DH is Sano, 2B is a traffic jam with Arraez, Polanco, Gordon and 3B is Donaldson.  I am sure he will not be at SS.  And yet, I really want to see him play and not rest on the bench. 

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    Like so many Twins prospects this year I guess he will have to prove the bat and plate discipline are for real at AAA and then likely have to wait for an injury to get his shot at a spot on the big club.  He was a joy to watch last year. One of the few bright spots in an injury riddled minor league season.  Looking forward to him being a dangerous bat in the lineup for years to come.

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    Here’s hoping Miranda is our regular third basemen for at least the next six years. If he were joined in the infield  by Story, Polanco, and Kiriloff for at least the next four of those, the Twins starting infield would probably stack up well against any team in the league both offensively and defensively. 
     

    Miranda is an incredibly important piece to help open our next window as early as next season. I hope we give him the innings and ABs to develop quickly this season at the major league level.

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    I think his immediate future position is LF.  The Twins will have to add someone at SS, whether it's Story in an uncharacteristic HUGE signing or trading for a Mondesi/DeJong kind of player.  Donaldson, at least in 2022, will be the 3B.  Kiriloff should be at 1B with Sano the everyday DH.  Polanco at 2B means (once SS is addressed) that the infield is FULL. 

    I could see Miranda playing a lot of LF with an occasional appearance by Arraez (unless he's traded for pitching--which he should be to make room for Miranda) along with Larnach.  I just don't see what else Miranda needs to prove in St. Paul.  It's not like we won the division and he's got talented players stacked ahead of him.  We finished in dead last place and LF is WIDE OPEN at this point.  Glove-wise, he's got to be at least marginally better than Rooker.  Get him in the lineup !!

    Once the Twins move on from Donaldson...whenever that is, he can transition to 3B.  And by that time Austin Martin should be about ready to take over in LF.  SS is the gaping hole in the Twins defensive alignment and whatever positions certain players fall into will be dependent on filling that gaping hole in whatever fashion this FO chooses to fill it.  

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    This seems a little high for someone who grades out as an average defender at a corner position. We all know he's not going to hit .340 in the big leagues. I'm hopeful for a .260/.330/.480 slash line. That's a solid starter in the corners - pretty similar to current-day Josh Donaldson. 

    I think I'd rather have Kirilloff in LF and Miranda at 1B. 

     

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    I expect the Miranda we saw last year is what he will be going forward.  As for defensive home, let's remember what type of third baseman Corie Koskie was while working his way thru the minors.  If memory serves, not anything special.  Well, he worked hard and became a special glove with the Twins.  I cringe when I read comments like Jamie's above that, at best, he will be a slightly-below average defender.  You may be right, Jamie, but you don't know that.  If he puts in the work there is no reason to believe he can't become average or even a bit better at the hot corner.

    The position for him on the Twins over the next few years has to be third base.  Like most of us, I have never seen him in the outfield, but I am guessing he is better at third.  And AK is the Twins best option at first, both with the bat and certainly the glove.  So it behooves the Twins to get him into their lineup whenever JD is injured this spring/summer.  Then they need to move JD by the deadline so Miranda can settle in for 2023 and the future. 

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    19 minutes ago, TopGunn#22 said:

    I think his immediate future position is LF.  The Twins will have to add someone at SS, whether it's Story in an uncharacteristic HUGE signing or trading for a Mondesi/DeJong kind of player.  Donaldson, at least in 2022, will be the 3B.  Kiriloff should be at 1B with Sano the everyday DH.  Polanco at 2B means (once SS is addressed) that the infield is FULL. 

    I could see Miranda playing a lot of LF with an occasional appearance by Arraez (unless he's traded for pitching--which he should be to make room for Miranda) along with Larnach.  I just don't see what else Miranda needs to prove in St. Paul.  It's not like we won the division and he's got talented players stacked ahead of him.  We finished in dead last place and LF is WIDE OPEN at this point.  Glove-wise, he's got to be at least marginally better than Rooker.  Get him in the lineup !!

    Once the Twins move on from Donaldson...whenever that is, he can transition to 3B.  And by that time Austin Martin should be about ready to take over in LF.  SS is the gaping hole in the Twins defensive alignment and whatever positions certain players fall into will be dependent on filling that gaping hole in whatever fashion this FO chooses to fill it.  

    I think you are spot on TopGunn.  JD stays this season. Miranda (and Arraez) gets lots of ABs playing left with Larnach and spelling JD at 3B.
     

    For nearly $25MM/yr I’d still prefer Story at SS than JD at 3B, but - sadly - it’s unlikely that scenario comes to fruition. Also, its unlikely the Twins add Story without moving JD (we can dream - theoretically it’s possible). As you point out, this still leaves a gaping hole at SS. 

    Having said that, if the Twins are not competitive by the deadline, JD gets moved and hopefully some combo of Martin, Celestino and Larnach split left and Miranda is full time at 3B with Arraez and Gordon in utility roles. Depending on how Martin, Larnach, Celestino and/or Lewis are developing, Max could be moved too at the deadline. 
     

    Boy, it’s just so much easier for the Twins to deal with a hole at 3B than it is at SS. Miranda (with Arraez in the backup role) at 3B with Story at SS and Polanco remaining at 2B is just a stronger, and better for the future, lineup. 

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    If the Twins have a problem with too many quality bats for too few positions, great!  It is a great problem to have, and these things have a way of working out.  I suspect it is a one year problem anyway as Sano is likely gone after this year unless he has a monster year, Donaldson will move to the DH role, Kirilloff will be at first, so both third and left should be available next year, giving Martin, Larnach, Miranda (and maybe Lewis if the Twins sign Story) the opportunity to compete for playing time.  I agree with TopGunn#22 that left looks the most likely for this year.  And, he could play some third when Donaldson is the DH or when his legs act up.  Who knows, maybe with some work he can be average or slightly above average at third.  Koskie certainly improved through hard work.

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    We've always been able to get a good number of at bats to 11 or 12 different guys a year, so I'm never worried about a dude being blocked as long as they're versatile, and it sounds like he can survive 1B, 2B, and 3B even if he's not a plus defensively. Also, it's nice that he's a righty since it feels like he could be a regular guy vs lefties being in a rotation vs righties. So yeah, I'm not concerned about playing time, for me it's just about if his bat plays and hopefully we see pretty soon. He should be the first call up after an IF injury and none of our IFs are all that clean health wise so I hope to see him by May.

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    6 minutes ago, roger said:

    I expect the Miranda we saw last year is what he will be going forward.  As for defensive home, let's remember what type of third baseman Corie Koskie was while working his way thru the minors.  If memory serves, not anything special.  Well, he worked hard and became a special glove with the Twins.  I cringe when I read comments like Jamie's above that, at best, he will be a slightly-below average defender.  You may be right, Jamie, but you don't know that.  If he puts in the work there is no reason to believe he can't become average or even a bit better at the hot corner.

    The position for him on the Twins over the next few years has to be third base.  Like most of us, I have never seen him in the outfield, but I am guessing he is better at third.  And AK is the Twins best option at first, both with the bat and certainly the glove.  So it behooves the Twins to get him into their lineup whenever JD is injured this spring/summer.  Then they need to move JD by the deadline so Miranda can settle in for 2023 and the future. 

    Agree as well 100%. It’s just too bad that, if we are likely to move on from JD by the deadline, we won’t bite the bullet now and replace his cash outlay with Story. With Miranda manning 3B, solve SS for at least four years and eliminate the pressure to move Polanco to across the diamond.  If at some point either Lewis or Miller look like everyday SSs, we deal with that then.

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    38 minutes ago, roger said:

    Then they need to move JD by the deadline so Miranda can settle in for 2023 and the future. 

    If they move Sano at the deadline a spot opens up to rotate players through DH. Donaldson will probably get most of those at-bats.

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    31 minutes ago, Nashvilletwin said:

    Agree as well 100%. It’s just too bad that, if we are likely to move on from JD by the deadline, we won’t bite the bullet now and replace his cash outlay with Story. With Miranda manning 3B, solve SS for at least four years and eliminate the pressure to move Polanco to across the diamond.  If at some point either Lewis or Miller look like everyday SSs, we deal with that then.

    Why do the Twins need to move JD to sign Story? They're basically $40M under the payrolls they've had the last few years. There's plenty of room to sign Story and keep JD to start the year. There's no pitchers available worthy of taking up a large chunk of that $40M so Story makes the most sense as SS is just as big of a need as pitching. Don't let the Pohlads/FO off the hook by saying JD's contract is stopping them from doing anything. They have payroll space.

    But onto Miranda...as others have said, I'm not worried about finding him playing time this year. "Logjams" always seem to work themselves out due to injuries or slumping performance. They'll have plenty of opportunity to get him ABs in Minneapolis this year. I'm not an advocate of moving proven MLB talent to clear space for any prospect, ever. I'm a huge prospect nerd and love the hope they represent, but they're still just prospects. Injuries and poor performance open plenty of doors and the prospects can push out veterans when their chance arrives. I don't want the Twins using prospects as Plan A unless they absolutely have to. They're always Plan B because Plan B is always needed. If you have Miranda as Plan A and he turns back into the pumpkin he was until last year your Plan B is a career minor leaguer and you're in a real bad spot. Let him take a job throughout the year even if that means having to start in St Paul and wait for openings througout the year.

    And can we please stop with this "just put him in LF" idea? He played a few games out there and they immediately moved him back to the IF. Corner OF defense matters. Everyone is trying to lift and separate at the plate so why are we so willing to put slow footed, no defense guys in the places where players are trying to hit the ball? He's an infielder, leave him there. Versatility is good, but everyone who's bad at their primary defensive spot isn't versatile just because we move them around to be bad at other spots. Maybe if we just let some guys, like Miranda, stick at 1 spot they could improve. You want versatile guys on your team, but they don't all have to be moved around all the time. Put the kid at 3B in St Paul and tell him he's the heir apparent to JD. Let him go to work there and give him every chance to establish himself as the future Twins 3B. Moving Gordon around makes sense. It's his ticket to a big league roster. Moving Kirilloff and Miranda around doesn't make sense. They're (hopefully) your corner IF for the next 6-12 years. Put them in their places and let them work on perfecting them.

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    24 minutes ago, chpettit19 said:

    Why do the Twins need to move JD to sign Story? They're basically $40M under the payrolls they've had the last few years. There's plenty of room to sign Story and keep JD to start the year.

    Agreed. They aren't even spending half of the revenue sharing money on payroll at the moment.

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    45 minutes ago, chpettit19 said:

    Why do the Twins need to move JD to sign Story? They're basically $40M under the payrolls they've had the last few years. There's plenty of room to sign Story and keep JD to start the year. There's no pitchers available worthy of taking up a large chunk of that $40M so Story makes the most sense as SS is just as big of a need as pitching. Don't let the Pohlads/FO off the hook by saying JD's contract is stopping them from doing anything. They have payroll space.

    But onto Miranda...as others have said, I'm not worried about finding him playing time this year. "Logjams" always seem to work themselves out due to injuries or slumping performance. They'll have plenty of opportunity to get him ABs in Minneapolis this year. I'm not an advocate of moving proven MLB talent to clear space for any prospect, ever. I'm a huge prospect nerd and love the hope they represent, but they're still just prospects. Injuries and poor performance open plenty of doors and the prospects can push out veterans when their chance arrives. I don't want the Twins using prospects as Plan A unless they absolutely have to. They're always Plan B because Plan B is always needed. If you have Miranda as Plan A and he turns back into the pumpkin he was until last year your Plan B is a career minor leaguer and you're in a real bad spot. Let him take a job throughout the year even if that means having to start in St Paul and wait for openings througout the year.

    And can we please stop with this "just put him in LF" idea? He played a few games out there and they immediately moved him back to the IF. Corner OF defense matters. Everyone is trying to lift and separate at the plate so why are we so willing to put slow footed, no defense guys in the places where players are trying to hit the ball? He's an infielder, leave him there. Versatility is good, but everyone who's bad at their primary defensive spot isn't versatile just because we move them around to be bad at other spots. Maybe if we just let some guys, like Miranda, stick at 1 spot they could improve. You want versatile guys on your team, but they don't all have to be moved around all the time. Put the kid at 3B in St Paul and tell him he's the heir apparent to JD. Let him go to work there and give him every chance to establish himself as the future Twins 3B. Moving Gordon around makes sense. It's his ticket to a big league roster. Moving Kirilloff and Miranda around doesn't make sense. They're (hopefully) your corner IF for the next 6-12 years. Put them in their places and let them work on perfecting them.

    You are 100% correct. The Twins have the cash to sign Story. And they should.

    An additional reason being is that they can always move on from JD at the deadline if we are not competitive (which given the state of the starting staff is not unlikely).  So it only costs a little over 1/2 year of additional JD in the worst case.

    The additional advantage is that Miranda can be eased in as desired. Either give him ABs at AAA and wait his turn. Or, break camp with him in the utility role along with Arraez and Gordon and seeing ABs mostly in the infield but some in the outfield maybe as well. If JD is moved, then Miranda hasn’t just been thrown in the fire. 
     

    This is probably the best case scenario. I just don’t feel it is going to happen. 

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    I got to see him in St. Paul and was impressed with this eye at the plate. He didn't seem like a free swinger, but I guess he has a low walk rate? Anyone have more info on how that. might play out in the Majors? 

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    I think the Twins have a very bright future.  I think our prospects will serve us well, with deep strong pitching prospects and deep strong hitting prospects.  But, what we need to do is concentrate on 2022.  I believe that MLB teams should be trying to win the WS every year.  The Twins need a SS and pitching this year.  Sign Story, sign Rodon and use Arraez, Kepler, Donaldson and or Sano as trade bait for another starter or two.  We have the players to replace at least two of the trade pieces IMHO now.  Miranda could and probably should be one of the replacement options.  I believe this would make us a very competitive team this year.  Next year we re-evaluate just like every year.  If you are not trying to win, what is the point.  The FO should be showing the fans that "they are trying to win".  EVERY YEAR.  That is their job.  (LOL, what a dreamer, eh?)

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    There's a ton to like about Miranda to be sure. That bat will play regardless of position, but he looks like he could fit in very nicely at 3B if/when the team moves on from Donaldson. personally, I would have him on the roster from opening day (hopefully they get rid of the service time manipulation nonsense that made it wise for teams to leave a top prospect in the minors for a month) backing up 3B to get his feet wet, while filling in the OF and getting some reps at DH. (I expect Donaldson to get a fair amount of time at DH)

    I don't think he'll hit .300+, but to me he looks like a player who's going to be in the .280/.330/.475 slash range, which plays nicely almost anywhere in the field. We've also seen players who struggled defensively improve their work at the MLB level (Trevor Plouffe went from being the Butcher of Cairo at 3B to being a quality defender there and Koskie went from being a guy who looked like he had a frying pan instead of a glove out there at time to deserving a gold glove. even if he didn't get one). So it wouldn't surprise me if Miranda is able to improve his skills on the defensive end, especially if he's getting some tutoring from Donaldson

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    3 hours ago, DJL44 said:

    This seems a little high for someone who grades out as an average defender at a corner position. We all know he's not going to hit .340 in the big leagues. I'm hopeful for a .260/.330/.480 slash line. That's a solid starter in the corners - pretty similar to current-day Josh Donaldson. 

    I think I'd rather have Kirilloff in LF and Miranda at 1B. 

     

    You just compared him to Donaldson, and said ranking him 3rd best prospect is high.....

    If he's an average defender with that bat, he's a 2.5-3.5 WAR players. That would be great. 

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    22 minutes ago, Mike Sixel said:

    You just compared him to Donaldson, and said ranking him 3rd best prospect is high.....

    If he's an average defender with that bat, he's a 2.5-3.5 WAR players. That would be great. 

    I compared him to 35 year old Josh Donaldson

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    2 minutes ago, Mike Sixel said:

    Who is still a good player.....and legit starting 3B. Fans should be happy if Miranda is a legit good starter.

    If the prospects ranked below him can't meet the "legit good starter" bar then this pitching staff is in serious trouble.

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    I recall Miranda being described as an average defender at 3rd base all last season, and I've only seen this narrative that he's a defensive liability emerge over the offseason. Where did this come from? Is this some statistical trend that only became clear after the season was over? Are we letting Keith Law color our perception of Miranda's defense? Do we have enough data to even clearly evaluate him, especially when he's been playing all over the field? I'm prepared to accept that his defense is a problem, but I'd want to know why.

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    13 minutes ago, DJL44 said:

    If the prospects ranked below him can't meet the "legit good starter" bar then this pitching staff is in serious trouble.

    If the pitchers aren't legit good starters, that's bad? Like, being a number 2-3 is bad? I don't think we see things the same way at all. I'd be THRILLED if the Twins have 2 number 3s. Thrilled.

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    There is some data which suggests a general correlation between hitting results at the higher levels of the minors and eventual competency in MLB. But this correlation is tenuous at best so we can hope for Miranda to be a better than average hitter in MLB, but not sure it reaches the level of an expectation for him to do so.

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    IF JD is healthy and Miranda rakes the first part of the summer, then trade him for pitching.

    That's a big IF though.  JD's calf is half dead at this point, so he probably misses a fair amount of time which will give Miranda plenty of ab's.

    If he rakes in his debut...trade him for pitching.

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    2 hours ago, Mike Sixel said:

    If the pitchers aren't legit good starters, that's bad? Like, being a number 2-3 is bad?

    A #2-#3 starter would be worth as much as an average 3B or more. If the top pitching prospects are #2-#3 starters they should be ranked ahead of Miranda. If they aren't as valuable as an average 3B then the team is going to have a rotation full of #4 starters. That's bad. That means they shouldn't expect to contend any time soon.

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