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Twins ‘really believe’ in slugging prospect Jose Miranda’s future after breakout season

Miranda, the Twins’ No. 3 prospect per MLB Pipeline, was named the organization’s Minor League Player of the Year for 2021.

MLB: Spring Training-Minnesota Twins at Baltimore Orioles
Minnesota Twins third baseman Jose Miranda (64) throws to first base in the second inning against the Baltimore Orioles during spring training at Ed Smith Stadium on March 21, 2022, in Sarasota, Florida.
Jonathan Dyer / USA Today Sports

FORT MYERS, Fla. — When the musical “Hamilton” makes its awaited return to the Orpheum Theatre in Minneapolis next April, Jose Miranda is planning on going to see the show for the first time.

Well, if his schedule will allow it.

More likely than not, Miranda will be in the majors by April 2023. But if he has his way, he will ascend to that level long before the award-winning musical, created by his second-cousin, Lin-Manuel Miranda, returns to the Twin Cities next year.

After a stellar season in 2021 split between Double-A and Triple-A in which Miranda hit a combined .344 with a .973 OPS and a career-high 30 home runs, the 23-year-old infielder is doing his part this spring to show the Twins how he fits into their future plans.

“If that doesn’t get on my radar, I don’t know if anything can get on my radar,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “That’s about as good of a season as a young player can have. It was something that everyone in the major league environment and coaching staff paid a lot of attention to because it’s just an elite performance through and through.”

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Miranda, the Twins’ No. 3 prospect per MLB Pipeline, was named the organization’s Minor League Player of the Year for 2021.

And yet, even after third baseman Josh Donaldson was traded to the Yankees earlier in the spring, Miranda, who is hitting .273 in limited Grapefruit League action, still looks ticketed to begin the season in St. Paul once again, though he certainly has drawn the attention of Twins decision-makers.

“I’ve been really pleased with what I’ve seen from him,” Baldelli said. “He’s made a good impression with the season he had last year, but he continues to make a good impression day to day.”

Miranda’s breakout year came after a wiped-out minor league season in 2020. In lieu of games, he was back home in Puerto Rico, working out, waiting for a call.

He spent his time working on making adjustments, primarily trying to swing at better pitches, take his walks and shrink the strike zone. Because of his contact skills, he had a feeling a season like this could be coming if he could translate his adjustments into games.

In 2021, everything came together.

“It’s a great feeling because you know all the work put (in), it really paid off,” Miranda said. “It feels good at the end of the season when you look back and you see all the things you did. It feels great.”

In the final couple of months of the season, he started thinking about the possibility of a call-up. Playing in St. Paul and being just 20 minute away from Target Field — the big leagues close by — in the midst of the best season of his career, it seemed like it could be on the table. He willed himself to stay calm, though, simply because he didn’t want to drive himself crazy.

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Miranda was blocked at the major league level by Donaldson at the time. Now, Gio Urshela and Luis Arraez appear in line to receive the most playing time at third base, Miranda’s best position.

But he’s doing what he can to try to force the issue. Or, as his cousin might say, he’s not throwing away his shot.

“We told him, ‘Come into this camp and be a sponge. Learn as much as you can. Get better every day. Defensively, offensively. Your future can be bright if you go continue to achieve the way that you have,’” president of baseball operations Derek Falvey said. “We just really believe in his future.”

And at some point in that future, at long last, he will finally sit down and watch “Hamilton.”

“I don’t like telling people what they should and shouldn’t do, especially outside of the ballpark (but) he should go see it,” Baldelli said. “Maybe I’ll go with him someday.”

Related Topics: MINNESOTA TWINSBASEBALL
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