Scouting Yankees Prospect #13: Juan Miranda

The Yankees signed first baseman Juan Miranda, who defected from Cuba back in the summer of 2005, as an International free agent in the fall of 2006. Considering his two-year layoff from professional baseball, the Yankees were extremely pleased with his offensive showing last season and they believe he could provide a powerful left-handed bat real soon.

Vital Statistics:
Name: Juan Miranda
Position: First Base
DOB: April 23, 1983
Height: 6'0"
Weight: 220
Bats: Left
Throws: Left

"You know what, I'm so happy because number one, you're talking about a kid that had been away from the game for two and half years until he did all of his paperwork to get out of Cuba and to be able to get to the states," said Carlos Rios, the Yankees Director of Latin American Scouting. "A lot of people don't realize that it takes a lot away from you as a player.

"At the end of the season, he was so tired because he had never played this much. I thought he handled it very well. He was very mature. He went up to Double-A, I thought that was a great move. They changed the scenery on him and he had a fresh start over there, and that continued to carry on with his numbers. We're happy and proud with how he handled himself and he's highly regarded here in the organization."

Hitting .315 with 20 home runs and 68 RBI in just 85 games for Pinar del Río Vegueros [the same team former Yankee Jose Contreras pitched for] of the Cuban National League in 2005, it took Miranda a while to shake off the rust as he batted just .238 with one home run through his first 23 games with the Tampa Yankees last season.

Striking out once every 3.6 at-bats through the first month of the season, he improved his ratio to once every six at-bats over the course of the rest of the season and hit .271 along the way.

"I can say there was some concern on my part earlier in the season that he would get off to a better start than he did," said former Yankees hitting coordinator and current Toronto Blue Jays hitting coach Gary Denbo, "but when you consider the fact that he hadn't played organized baseball for the last couple of years and he was just kind of getting back into it and getting his timing back, if you look at the numbers at the end of the year, it was just outstanding. It was an outstanding season for him."

Finishing the year with a solid .265 average with 16 home runs and 96 RBI between high-A Tampa and Double-A Trenton, Miranda himself admits it took a little while to find a comfort zone at the plate.

"I was feeling better as the season went on," Miranda said through the help of a translator. "I hadn't played baseball for more than two years and I think that's why I got off to a slow start. I was more relaxed in Trenton even though there were more experienced pitchers [in Double-A]. I felt more complete there and I was able to compete more."

Statistics aside, what has the Yankees excited was the ability he showed to make adjustments over the course of the season.

"He's got a great work ethic and he's a student of the game," said James Rowson, Miranda's hitting coach in Tampa last season and current Yankees hitting coordinator. "If you see him a lot, he's not going to let you get him out the same way too many times, which is a good trait of a good hitter.

"He knows what's going on, he knows how guys are trying to attack him, and he's going to constantly make adjustments at the plate. That's what you're looking for in the higher level hitters, guys who are going to be able to make adjustments when pitchers are making adjustments."

Signed for his powerful left-handed stroke, while the Yankees were very impressed with his ability to make adjustments, they quickly realized he's more than just a power hitter.

"Juan's a guy that has the ability to use the entire field when he hits," said Denbo. "I mean he can drive balls out of left-centerfield and he can certainly drive the ball into the gap into left-centerfield. His strength is actually to that side of the field, more to center and left-centerfield.

"When he focuses on using the entire field when he hits, he's a very good hitter. He's like most guys, when he gets a few hits to the pull-side they get away from using the whole field - that's the development that I saw this year."

"Juan's another guy who has strike zone discipline," Rowson added. "He's got it. He does a great job of laying off of pitches that aren't in the zone or pitches that he's not going to drive. He's gotten so much better at that too.

"He came in and he was good at that and he keeps getting better with the more at-bats he gets. He did a nice job this year facing left-handed pitchers as a left-handed hitter. Juan's a quality hitter, I can't say enough good things about him."

A member of the 40-man roster who signed a big league contract last offseason, Miranda hit .295 with five home runs, 17 RBI, and 16 walks in 22 games for the Peoria Javelinas in the Arizona Fall League this offseason, and he believes he is close to making his mark at the big league level.

"I'm always looking to improve and I always strive for more, but because of the big league contract that I signed I want to get there as soon as possible," he admitted. "I have the strength and physical conditioning to get there.

"I don't know if I'm ready, I mean that's up to the team to decide if I'm ready, but I'm feeling good and believe I could contribute. I know I can hit in the big leagues."

Year

Team

AVG

AB

2B

HR

RBI

R

SB

BB

SO

OBP

SLG

2007

Trenton

.265

196

17

7

46

29

0

23

46

.352

.480

2007

Tampa

.264

250

17

9

50

35

1

29

60

.348

.464



Batting and Power. The strength of Miranda's game is his bat. While his batting average in 2007 might not support it, he is a very good hitter who gives a good at-bat every time. He employs a patient approach at the plate and works diligently to get the counts in his favor. He is also very adept at driving pitches to the opposite field and doing so with power. If there is one knock on his offensive game it's his propensity to start his swing a bit late and it was the main reason for the majority of his strikeouts, a problem he started to rectify as the season wore on and one that could correct itself as he gains more experience.

Base Running and Speed. Less than agile with virtually no speed at all, he is a below average runner, even as a corner infielder. He is a station-to-station runner all the way.

Defense. A thick-bodied slugger, one who is built more like a middle-linebacker, Miranda is a defensive project of sorts at first base. He has quick hands and that allows him to make the necessary scoops in the dirt, but he lacks both athleticism and agility around the bag and that makes his range below average. He is very stiff in his motions and his lack of flexibility, and being shorter in stature, doesn't allow him to stretch for too many throws either. His defensive game is a work in progress.

Projection. Miranda's less than stellar defensive game limits his overall value as a starting first baseman at the big league level but being a left-handed thrower - one able to make the necessary throws - and his ability to scoop balls will give him some opportunities. His special offensive potential however, especially with his ability to drive pitches with power to left-center, has some scouts envisioning him as a version of the Mets' Carlos Delgado at the plate. Like Delgado, while he could play a serviceable fist base if need be, Miranda is better suited as a designated hitter, one who could hit in the heart of a big league lineup and be a very good run producer.

ETA. 2008. A member of the 40-man roster gives him the opportunity for one extended hot streak to get him his first big league look. He finished in Double-A last season and while he could begin the 2008 season there again, he should see ample time in Triple-A next season with a probable call-up to the Bronx at some point.

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Pinstripes Plus Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\nVital Statistics:
\r\nName: Juan Miranda
\r\nPosition: First Base
\r\nDOB: April 23, 1983
\r\nHeight: 6'0\"
\r\nWeight: 220
\r\nBats: Left
\r\nThrows: Left
\r\n
\r\n\"You know what, I'm so happy because number one, you're talking about a kid that had been away from the game for two and half years until he did all of his paperwork to get out of Cuba and to be able to get to the states,\" said Carlos Rios, the Yankees Director of Latin American Scouting. \"A lot of people don't realize that it takes a lot away from you as a player.
\r\n
\r\n\"At the end of the season, he was so tired because he had never played this much. I thought he handled it very well. He was very mature. He went up to Double-A, I thought that was a great move. They changed the scenery on him and he had a fresh start over there, and that continued to carry on with his numbers. We're happy and proud with how he handled himself and he's highly regarded here in the organization.\"
\r\n
\r\nHitting .315 with 20 home runs and 68 RBI in just 85 games for Pinar del Río Vegueros [the same team former Yankee Jose Contreras pitched for] of the Cuban National League in 2005, it took Miranda a while to shake off the rust as he batted just .238 with one home run through his first 23 games with the Tampa Yankees last season.
\r\n
\r\nStriking out once every 3.6 at-bats through the first month of the season, he improved his ratio to once every six at-bats over the course of the rest of the season and hit .271 along the way.
\r\n
\r\n\"I can say there was some concern on my part earlier in the season that he would get off to a better start than he did,\" said former Yankees hitting coordinator and current Toronto Blue Jays hitting coach Gary Denbo, \"but when you consider the fact that he hadn't played organized baseball for the last couple of years and he was just kind of getting back into it and getting his timing back, if you look at the numbers at the end of the year, it was just outstanding. It was an outstanding season for him.\"
\r\n
\r\nFinishing the year with a solid .265 average with 16 home runs and 96 RBI between high-A Tampa and Double-A Trenton, Miranda himself admits it took a little while to find a comfort zone at the plate.
\r\n
\r\n\"I was feeling better as the season went on,\" Miranda said through the help of a translator. \"I hadn't played baseball for more than two years and I think that's why I got off to a slow start. I was more relaxed in Trenton even though there were more experienced pitchers [in Double-A]. I felt more complete there and I was able to compete more.\"
\r\n
\r\nStatistics aside, what has the Yankees excited was the ability he showed to make adjustments over the course of the season.
\r\n
\r\n\"He's got a great work ethic and he's a student of the game,\" said James Rowson, Miranda's hitting coach in Tampa last season and current Yankees hitting coordinator. \"If you see him a lot, he's not going to let you get him out the same way too many times, which is a good trait of a good hitter.
\r\n
\r\n\"He knows what's going on, he knows how guys are trying to attack him, and he's going to constantly make adjustments at the plate. That's what you're looking for in the higher level hitters, guys who are going to be able to make adjustments when pitchers are making adjustments.\"
\r\n
\r\nSigned for his powerful left-handed stroke, while the Yankees were very impressed with his ability to make adjustments, they quickly realized he's more than just a power hitter.
\r\n
\r\n\"Juan's a guy that has the ability to use the entire field when he hits,\" said Denbo. \"I mean he can drive balls out of left-centerfield and he can certainly drive the ball into the gap into left-centerfield. His strength is actually to that side of the field, more to center and left-centerfield.
\r\n
\r\n\"When he focuses on using the entire field when he hits, he's a very good hitter. He's like most guys, when he gets a few hits to the pull-side they get away from using the whole field - that's the development that I saw this year.\"
\r\n
\r\n\"Juan's another guy who has strike zone discipline,\" Rowson added. \"He's got it. He does a great job of laying off of pitches that aren't in the zone or pitches that he's not going to drive. He's gotten so much better at that too.
\r\n
\r\n\"He came in and he was good at that and he keeps getting better with the more at-bats he gets. He did a nice job this year facing left-handed pitchers as a left-handed hitter. Juan's a quality hitter, I can't say enough good things about him.\"
\r\n
\r\nA member of the 40-man roster who signed a big league contract last offseason, Miranda hit .295 with five home runs, 17 RBI, and 16 walks in 22 games for the Peoria Javelinas in the Arizona Fall League this offseason, and he believes he is close to making his mark at the big league level.
\r\n
\r\n\"I'm always looking to improve and I always strive for more, but because of the big league contract that I signed I want to get there as soon as possible,\" he admitted. \"I have the strength and physical conditioning to get there.
\r\n
\r\n\"I don't know if I'm ready, I mean that's up to the team to decide if I'm ready, but I'm feeling good and believe I could contribute. I know I can hit in the big leagues.\"
\r\n
\r\n\r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n
\r\n

\r\n Year

\r\n

\r\n Team

\r\n

\r\n AVG

\r\n

\r\n AB

\r\n

\r\n 2B

\r\n

\r\n HR

\r\n

\r\n RBI

\r\n

\r\n R

\r\n

\r\n SB

\r\n

\r\n BB

\r\n

\r\n SO

\r\n

\r\n OBP

\r\n

\r\n SLG

\r\n

\r\n 2007

\r\n

\r\n Trenton

\r\n

\r\n .265

\r\n

\r\n 196

\r\n

\r\n 17

\r\n

\r\n 7

\r\n

\r\n 46

\r\n

\r\n 29

\r\n

\r\n 0

\r\n

\r\n 23

\r\n

\r\n 46

\r\n

\r\n .352

\r\n

\r\n .480

\r\n

\r\n 2007

\r\n

\r\n Tampa

\r\n

\r\n .264

\r\n

\r\n 250

\r\n

\r\n 17

\r\n

\r\n 9

\r\n

\r\n 50

\r\n

\r\n 35

\r\n

\r\n 1

\r\n

\r\n 29

\r\n

\r\n 60

\r\n

\r\n .348

\r\n

\r\n .464


\r\n
\r\nBatting and Power. The strength of Miranda's game is his bat. While his batting average in 2007 might not support it, he is a very good hitter who gives a good at-bat every time. He employs a patient approach at the plate and works diligently to get the counts in his favor. He is also very adept at driving pitches to the opposite field and doing so with power. If there is one knock on his offensive game it's his propensity to start his swing a bit late and it was the main reason for the majority of his strikeouts, a problem he started to rectify as the season wore on and one that could correct itself as he gains more experience.
\r\n
\r\nBase Running and Speed. Less than agile with virtually no speed at all, he is a below average runner, even as a corner infielder. He is a station-to-station runner all the way.
\r\n
\r\nDefense. A thick-bodied slugger, one who is built more like a middle-linebacker, Miranda is a defensive project of sorts at first base. He has quick hands and that allows him to make the necessary scoops in the dirt, but he lacks both athleticism and agility around the bag and that makes his range below average. He is very stiff in his motions and his lack of flexibility, and being shorter in stature, doesn't allow him to stretch for too many throws either. His defensive game is a work in progress.
\r\n
\r\nProjection. Miranda's less than stellar defensive game limits his overall value as a starting first baseman at the big league level but being a left-handed thrower - one able to make the necessary throws - and his ability to scoop balls will give him some opportunities. His special offensive potential however, especially with his ability to drive pitches with power to left-center, has some scouts envisioning him as a version of the Mets' Carlos Delgado at the plate. Like Delgado, while he could play a serviceable fist base if need be, Miranda is better suited as a designated hitter, one who could hit in the heart of a big league lineup and be a very good run producer.
\r\n
\r\nETA. 2008. A member of the 40-man roster gives him the opportunity for one extended hot streak to get him his first big league look. He finished in Double-A last season and while he could begin the 2008 season there again, he should see ample time in Triple-A next season with a probable call-up to the Bronx at some point.
\r\n
\r\n

\r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n\r\n
\r\n

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\r\n

\r\n

Become an annual subscriber today!

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