Twins

Jose Miranda Is Fulfilling His Prospect Prophecy

Photo Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

When José Miranda first started gaining significant attention as a surging Minnesota Twins prospect in 2021, he represented hope for better days ahead. The big league club had been mired in a tired cycle of inconsistency and sloppy play, leading to their first losing record in three years.

Miranda was breaking out with the Triple-A St. Paul Saints during an 89-loss season for the Twins. He slashed a once-thought-to-be otherworldly .343/.397/.563, which was good for 56% better than the league average. Miranda’s stock as a prospect surged at that point, in a time when the organization desperately needed a good break.

“I know it’s been tough for fans this year with all the ups and downs that have happened this season,” Miranda told me on a July afternoon that year. “But I want to tell [Twins fans] to be patient because better days are going to come.”

Twins fans are starting to see the flowers from the seed of hope Miranda planted three years ago. He’s not just living up to his word; he’s making history. Not only did he tie an MLB record by reaching base safely in 12 consecutive at-bats, but his season slash line of .331/.373/.533 that once seemed otherworldly is suddenly within orbit.

“It’s something really special, and it’s really great to be part of history,” said Miranda after Saturday’s win over the Houston Astros. “I’ve been feeling pretty good at the plate. With a good rhythm and balance.”

His historic streak tied him for the all-time major league record, alongside Johnny Kling (1902), Pinky Higgins (1938), and Walt Dropo (1952). Those names aren’t just fascinating because of their quintessentially old-fashioned nature but because they represent feats from a style of baseball that is essentially extinct in today’s game. With strikeouts becoming more common than ever and high-caliber pitching becoming the norm, on-base streaks just cannot grow as organically as they once did.

Miranda’s re-emergence as a force in the middle of Minnesota’s lineup regularly has paid dividends through various points of this season. He presents an ideal complement to Trevor Larnach as a designated hitter platoon tandem, and he can hold his own at third base semi-regularly if needed. First base has become a rarely used defensive option for the young slugger, but he could theoretically take on a large portion of playing time should Carlos Santana land on the shelf at any point.

No matter where he plays defensively, Miranda’s opportunities in the lineup will be paramount, especially if it’s alongside his friend and mentor, Carlos Correa, who is also surging offensively and was named the team’s only All-Star representative (for now). The two had had a close relationship since the 2022 season when they both made their Twins debuts on the left side of the infield.

Their combined ascent over the last few months means a lot. However, it means even more to do it for a team that appears to be hitting its stride in tandem as it crosses the midseason point.

“We’re clicking as a team, and it’s fun. We’re seeing everyone have good at-bats and hitting the ball hard,” Miranda said as he tried to find a tangible reason for the lineup’s prolonged success. “We have a good game plan. That’s really important for us.”

That teamwide approach has led to far more contact than in recent years, with fewer strikeouts and batted balls of far better quality. When the team was scuffling to a 7-13 record over their first 20 games, their offensive game plan, whether by design or failed execution, mirrored their MO from 2022 and 2023, where many key hitters were swinging freely, hoping to drive the ball – even if it came at the expense of a sky-high chase percentage.

Now we’re seeing Minnesota’s offense regularly chew up opposing starting pitchers to the point that their pitch count is approaching its limit far earlier, setting up key pinch-hit opportunities more often.

Therefore, it’s no surprise that the Twins have gone 8-4 over the last 14 days. Their hitters have the best batting average (.335) and slugging percentage (.516) against opposing starters, which is eerily close to Miranda’s overall production in his bounce-back 2024 campaign (.331 batting average, .533 slugging percentage).

Have Miranda and his red-hot teammates meaningfully improved? Or are they due for regression? Time will tell. But if you ask Rocco Baldelli what he thinks of Miranda’s historic streak and the overall production they’ve seen from their hitters, he’ll tell you it’s pretty special.

“I mean, there are no real words,” he said as he thought about his young slugger’s development that has led to a historic streak. “You’ve just got to stop talking and enjoy it.”

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