Twins

Jose Miranda Is Writing A Second Act With The Twins

Photo Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

In the fall of 2022, José Miranda began making a name for himself. A top prospect from the Minnesota Twins organization, Miranda enjoyed a strong rookie season as the Twins headed to Yankee Stadium to take on the New York Yankees.

During that series, Miranda made plans to meet up with his cousin Lin-Manuel Miranda, known for writing the Broadway play Hamilton. Lin-Manuel couldn’t make it to a game, but they met for dinner, and Miranda later hit a home run to put an exclamation point on his trip to New York.

Two years later, José has a fitting connection to his cousin. Miranda’s first act with the Twins was a smash hit, but his encore disappointed many. Still, Miranda has found a way to write a second act this season and is re-introducing himself to Minnesota’s long-term plans.

It started in the summer of 2021 when Miranda had one of the best seasons by a Twins prospect in the past 20 years.

Miranda began the year at Double-A Wichita. He crushed baseballs with the Wind Surge, hitting .345/.408/.588 with 13 homers and 36 RBI in 46 games. When the Twins promoted Miranda to Triple-A St. Paul, he continued to rake, hitting .343/.397/.563 with 17 homers and 56 RBI in 80 games with the Saints.

The total production helped Miranda become a consensus top 100 prospect, and he made his major league debut on May 2, 2022. Miranda’s first month in the majors was tough; he only hit .169/.200/.312 with two homers and seven RBI in his first 22 games. However, something clicked in the summer of 2022, and Miranda began to take off.

Miranda hit .332/.382/.536 with 10 homers and 44 RBI over his next 57 games and became a fixture. He rotated between first base, third base, and designated hitter. While his production tailed off in the season’s final months, Miranda still produced a final line of .268/.325/.426 with 15 homers and 66 RBI in 125 games in his rookie season.

Miranda’s rookie year drew rave reviews, and he was ready to produce an encore, changing his diet and dropping 12 pounds over the offseason. The Twins traded Gio Urshela and were prepared to give Miranda the everyday third baseman job until a shoulder injury in Spring Training prevented him from playing for Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic.

The injury lingered into the season, and Miranda experienced a sophomore slump. He only hit .211/.263/.303 with three homers and 13 RBI in 40 games. Miranda returned to the field in August, but it was with St. Paul, where he posted a .255/.326/.360 line with three homers and 23 RBI.

At the same time, Miranda was becoming the forgotten prospect in the Twins’ system. Royce Lewis took over third base upon his return from injury in June, and another promising prospect, Alex Kirilloff, manned first. Miranda’s lack of power didn’t make him an option down the stretch, and he went home to prepare for next season.

This is the moment when the main character in a play faces adversity that leads to a big payoff at the end. Alexander Hamilton overcame a challenging upbringing to become the first United States Secretary of the Treasury. Miranda’s cousin used that as the inspiration for one of the highest-grossing Broadway shows ever.

Even The Lion King, the top-grossing Broadway show of all time, had some sort of redemption story that led to an ultimate payoff at the end of the play. While Miranda’s adversity wasn’t as dramatic, he still was entering a crucial point of his career.

Unlike the year before, we didn’t hear much about Miranda’s offseason. Miranda’s shoulder healed, but he still didn’t produce the exit velocity or power from his rookie season during Spring Training. That led to another option to St. Paul at the beginning of the season, but injuries helped him make his way to St. Paul shortly after the season began.

In 44 games, Twins fans are seeing the player who created so much optimism during his rookie season. Miranda is hitting .280/.311/.469 with six homers and 20 RBI and has carved out consistent playing time, particularly at third base.

The greatest example of Miranda’s resurgence might have been Sunday’s win over the Houston Astros. Hitting in the three-spot in the batting order, Miranda launched a sixth-inning home run to tie the game and played the hero in the top of the eighth, crushing a double that drove in the go-ahead run in a 4-3 victory.

While his defense is still an issue, his bat has returned to his rookie form, keeping him on the major league roster even as Lewis returns from injury this week.

“We’re going to move him around and find ways to get him into the lineup most days,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said after the game. “When Royce comes back, he’s going to play, of course, but he’s not going to be out there seven days a week. [He’s been out] a very long time. So he may play a couple of games, get a day [off], play two or three games, get a day.”

That plan seems to leave Miranda in the fold either as a key reserve at third base or a corner-utility infielder with a bat that doesn’t take anything from the lineup. It could lead to Miranda getting a start during this week’s series at Yankee Stadium, and maybe Lin-Manuel will be able to catch his cousin in action.

It would be a fitting chapter in Miranda’s career because he’s producing a second act that even a screenwriter like his cousin could love.

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