Jose Miranda: Twins 2021 Minor League Player Of The Year
Jose Miranda struck out more often in 2021 than he ever had before. Just as the Twins hoped.
“Our scouts have said for years that his bat-to-ball skills are special,” Twins president of baseball operations Derek Falvey said. “The problem was, he was showing it a little too often.”
What he means is, fastball or curve, inside or out, strike down Broadway or practically-a-pitchout, Miranda could get his bat on nearly any pitch and put it in play. Impressive, but useless if the contact isn’t solid. Miranda’s propensity for avoiding strikeouts was remarkable, but less so if it meant he was just trading them for routine grounders.
“At instructs last fall, our guys worked with Jose on the value of hard contact, of going deeper into counts if it meant getting a better pitch,” Falvey said. “He saw the advantage of patience.”
And in doing so, Miranda rewarded the Twins’ patience. Armed with better plate discipline, Miranda spent the first half of 2021 as the best hitter at Double-A Wichita—and the second as the best hitter at Triple-A St. Paul.
The 23-year-old infielder batted .344/.401/.572 with 32 doubles and 30 home runs in 127 games. Minnesota drafted him out of high school in Puerto Rico in the supplemental second round in 2016.
Waiting for his pitch caused Miranda’s strikeout rate to rise to a still-superb 12.5%, a new career high, but it came with a similar rise in his walk rate, to 7.1%.
“He’s making much better contact, much more consistently,” Falvey said, noting that minor league instructor and former big league manager Paul Molitor was struck by Miranda’s progress. “He’s put himself in the (major league) picture, for sure.”
Miranda is an average third baseman, the Twins believe, but his defensive value may lie in his versatility. He also played first base and second base at Triple-A.
“He can handle more than one spot, and you kind of let that sort itself out,” Falvey said. “The important thing is (that) he’s really swinging it, with a really smart approach. He’s come a long way.”