The organization’s No. 3 prospect and defending Twins Minor League Player of the Year went through a full season in the Minors with a .973 OPS last year despite seeing fans all around Twins Territory calling for his promotion — and had to deal with being sent back to Triple-A again to start the ’22 campaign.
It’s no wonder he put pressure on himself to make a big first impression.
“Maybe the first week and a half, the first two weeks, I felt like maybe I wanted to do too much, felt like I was pressuring myself,” Miranda said on Monday. “Now, it’s just more comfortable, just going out there and playing and not thinking a lot. Just playing.”
He looks more settled at the plate indeed, with his single and homer in Monday’s series opener against the Tigers giving him four multi-hit games and four extra-base hits in his past five starts. There’s still a long way to go to fully put a 5-for-53 and .094/.143/.189 start in the big leagues behind Miranda, cousin of Tony Award winner Lin-Manuel, but now that he’s endured those struggles and even dealt with a one-day option back to Triple-A St. Paul, he says his mind certainly feels clearer.
“I feel way more comfortable right now,” Miranda said. “I’m seeing pitches better. My load feels good. My swing. Just keep it going and keep swinging at good pitches. I know the results are going to keep coming my way.”
That’s not to say it’ll always be smooth sailing, as Monday’s game also showed. The decisive play of Minnesota’s 7-5 loss came in the seventh inning, when Miranda, playing first base, chased a two-out grounder to his right and made an ill-advised, off-balance throw in the direction of reliever Joe Smith, who was racing to cover the bag. The ball got away and eventually led to the two runs that determined the final margin.
“It’s probably a play that a little bit more of an experienced guy that’s seen that a handful of times is probably more prepared for,” manager Rocco Baldelli said. “But it’s something we have to prepare him for, and that’s our responsibility.”
That was probably another situation in which Miranda was trying to do a bit too much, given another opportunity in the big leagues following the injury to Royce Lewis. But those, too, will come with experience. As Miranda’s bat and glove both continue to settle in, let this serve as a reminder that even the top prospects require time and patience — but soon enough, the talent will start to show through.