August 10, 2022

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Miranda reaping benefits of BP with Dad

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This story was excerpted from Do-Hyoung Park’s Twins Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

Twins rookie Jose Miranda has been one of the best hitters in the American League over the last two months, having overcome a slow start to his career to continue his immense breakout in the heart of the Minnesota lineup.

With that in mind, can you believe that until Miranda entered the Twins’ organization in the 2016 MLB Draft, he had never had a real hitting coach?

“Never. No,” Miranda said. “I always hit by myself with my dad.”

The first hitting coach Miranda ever had was Javier Valentin, with the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League Twins, when he became a professional for the first time. Before then, he only had his father — also named Jose Miranda. It’s fair to wonder, then, if the elder Miranda was perhaps some sort of baseball guru, but nope — he’d been a volleyball and handball player, not baseball.

There was no secret sauce to it. Father and son would just go to the field every day, where young Jose would take front toss and batting practice from his dad. The elder Jose Miranda didn’t know too much about baseball, his son said, but would offer tips about his swing on occasion, and that swing just came along as a matter of gut feel by the now-Major Leaguer, who also drew from his Yankees fandom and watching Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter as a youth.

That’s the swing that now has the younger Miranda fixed in the middle of the starting lineup for the first-place Twins, trailing only Yordan Alvarez, Aaron Judge, Rafael Devers, Alejandro Kirk and José Abreu in OPS among AL hitters since May 20. He had three consecutive three-hit games entering Friday’s series opener in San Diego.

And at some point each day, Miranda finds time to call his dad in Puerto Rico to talk about the previous day’s game. When he was in the Minors, his father bought MiLB.TV to watch his son play, so that he could comment on the swings. His father still watches every game.

It all goes back to those days out on the fields in Puerto Rico, a hundred or so balls per session, starting when Miranda was 4 or 5 years old, he thinks.

“I had a couple of my friends that would go to me, ‘Hey, can I go to the field with you and hit with you and your dad?’” Miranda said. “And I would go, ‘Yeah, that’s fine,’ with my closest friends. And sometimes, there would be two or three or four different guys hitting with me. But the one thing I liked was just going to the field by myself with my dad. I didn’t like more people hitting with me. That was kind of our time, you know? It was cool.”

Even now that Miranda is a professional and has hitting coaches in the Twins’ organization, he still goes back home to the island during the offseason so that he can hit with his dad. It’s worked so far, right?

“We still go out to the field and we still hit,” Miranda said. “Why would I stop?”

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