AFL Review: Juan Miranda


miranda-profile.gifJuan Miranda
Bats: Left Throws: Left
Age, DOB: 24, 4/25/1983

AFL Stats: AVG 295 OBP 423 SLG 551 with 5 HR’s and 17 RBI’s

Juan Miranda played for the Cuban National Team from 2001-04, where he put together a career batting average of .303 with 27 HR’s, 73 BB’s while striking out only 87 times. He was used as an outfielder and first baseman in Cuba but his best tool has always been his ability to hit for power while still showing great plate discipline. He defected from Cuba in 2004, after two prior attempts, and was granted his citizenship in the Dominican Republic in 2005. After defecting, he stood firm on his contract demands and was finally able to come to terms with the Yankees when they announced his signing in December of 2006. He was signed to a four-year major league contract that was reported to be worth just over $2 million. He was immediately added to the 40-man roster and assigned to the Tampa Yankees of the Florida State League (Class A Advanced).

Miranda’s first year in the minors received mixed reviews. He batted .265 with 16 HR’s and 96 RBI’s while splitting the year between Class A Tampa and AA Trenton. The biggest concern was the drop in his batting average and BB/K rate (52/106) but that should be expected from a player that was away from the game for nearly two years. There was also strong speculation that he’s actually two years older than reported, which would make him 26yrs old if his DOB is in fact 4/25/1981, as listed on Rotowire.

During the AFL, Juan Miranda had an uncanny ability to hit the ball hard to any part of the field. He‘s primarily a pull hitter but he’s shown the ability to go with a pitch when needed and has tremendous power to the opposite field. He relies mostly on powering through the ball, rather making solid contact, so I have some doubt about whether he can maintain a high average in the majors. However, he should be able make up for that with a good on-base percentage. His advanced plate discipline returned during the AFL where his BB/K rate (16/18) returned to the levels he produced in Cuba.

He uses an open batting stance and steps in with his front leg when the pitch is delivered. Early in the season, he had a tendency to let his front hip fly open a little bit early, which resulted in a lot of ground balls to the right side of the infield. He was at his best with runners are on base, which is quickly becoming his calling card in professional baseball. In those situations, he seems to make more of a concerted effort to stay back and just make good contact with the ball. I’m sure the Yankees are working with him to implement that approach in every at bat.

He received some glowing reports during the AFL but the biggest compliment may have come from Tony Franklin’s (Javelinas Manager) decision to bat him in the cleanup spot in every game that he played. The AFL teams are traditionally stocked with the best hitters from each organization and the Javelinas’ lineup was no different. They had a prospect laden line-up that included high profile names like the Seattle Mariners first round pick Jeff Clement (third overall in 2005), Justin Maxwell who debuted with the Nationals this year after collecting 27 HR’s in the minors, as well as Matt Tuiasosopo who comes from a legendary sports family in the Pacific Northwest. But Franklin got to see what Miranda was capable of when he managed him in Trenton last season and his loyalty paid off. He was an RBI machine and was challenging for the HR and RBI lead until he was removed from the roster about a week before the season ended.

His main objective in the AFL was to get more exposure against LHP’s and he did just that by facing them in over 40% of his AB’s. He didn’t have a good average against lefties (.152) but he didn’t look over-matched (BB/K was 4/6) and he had good power numbers (1 HR, 2 doubles and 5 RBI). However, his numbers against righties were exceptional. He hit an even .400 with 4 HR’s, 3 doubles 12 RBI and had a ridiculous OPS of 1.268. He’s been compared to Carlos Delgado because of his power to all fields and he could be ready to share a platoon role with Shelly Duncan as early as next spring.

To be honest, I didn’t expect much from Miranda on defense but he turned out to be much better than expected. He was adept at keeping his body in front of the ball and knocking down the one’s that he couldn’t field cleanly. He even showed some decent range with a couple diving catches to his glove side before throwing the runners out at first. However, his main shortcoming was his ability to dig throws out of the dirt. There were a number of errant throws that hit the ground a few feet in front of first base and he had a lot of trouble fielding them. I wouldn’t say they were easy plays by any means but it’s definitely an area that could use improvement. He should be a serviceable first baseman as things stand today but he has the potential to be slightly above average if he can improve on that aspect of his game.

Categories : Minors
  • dan

    First base is incredibly crowded with mediocre players, he might have a shot if no one from that group emerges.

  • Barry

    I’d rather see Shelley than Miranda.

  • Chofo

    Miranda could be a good answer at 1b in the future, and his potential added with Shelley, Giambi and Betemit should inspire the Front Office to stay away from the Lowell types in FA.

    • JP Surget

      I think Shelley and Miranda could be a two headed monster. It would take away from Miranda’s development but it might be worth a try.

  • Jamal G

    I really wanna see this kid in action and I hope he is given a chance to make the 2-man come April.

    Knowing Jason Giambi to be a sensitive guy, it must really be hard for him because he must know that everyone in the front office is just marking the days off the calender until he’s a FA. BTW do you guys think that with a ood year this year that Giambi can become a ranked FA? Then again it might be too dangerous to offer him arbitration b/c he might accept

    • dan

      I honestly think that those rankings are completely random. If Giambi has a year like Jack Cust did last year, then he might not be ranked (Cust didn’t make the B ranking, yet somehow Lyle Overbay did, and JD Drew was a type A). You know whats insane that I just noticed? Elias’s rankings (using MLB’s formula) think tat Michael Cuddyer is better than Curtis Granderson, Ichiro, and Crawford, among others.

      • Mike A.

        The Elias rankings are a joke, plain and simple. And until they disclose the formula they use, then they’ll continued to be viewed as a joke. They’re basically saying “we’re the experts and we’ll tell you who the best players are, but we won’t tell you how we know that.”

    • dan

      And they’d only offer him arbitration if he previously agreed to decline it.

  • E-ROC

    I would like to see Miranda and Shelley as a two headed monster at 1B. Actually, I’d like to see the both of them in the starting lineup, but that won’t and can’t happen.

    • Barry

      It may be possible after this season.

  • RollingWave

    He should be given a look in ST that’s forsure.

  • E-ROC

    Ummm…what is everybody’s take on Elijah Dukes? Would ya’ll trade for him, if u had the chance? Just curious.

    • Kanst

      In a second, but I also dont care whatsoever about makeup, I would also sign Bonds is the price was right.

      Talents trumps all in my opinion

  • inman

    two answers. no. hell no.

  • Mike N (Stamford, CT)

    I bet the Yanks give Miranda another year in the minors, with possibly a call up in September. He should arrive in the Bronx in 2009 splitting time with Shelley or even in the DH role if they sign Tex…

  • Pounder

    With the #4 slot in the batting order fixed,we will not have to rely on Giambi for added power,so why not take along look at Miranda.We can even showcase him for future trades.

  • parker

    The organization needs more bats in the pipeline. The more talent the better.

  • Kanst

    I think a Miranda/Shelley platoon has to be at least capable of a .850 or so OPS, that would be fine for our #8 hitter, and would be an improvement over what we had, and if either guy goes on a tear you just let them have the position. A lineup of :

    Should be fantastic

  • Spike

    “However, his main shortcoming was his ability to dig throws out of the dirt.” Jeter’s gone have 200 errors a year with this guy.

  • Joy

    John I am so proud of you :o)

  • Colter

    Unfortunately the reality is:


    Plus when Duncan first came up the people said he was a “player without a position”. Now he’s going to play first base? I know he’s played there before, but there was a reason he didn’t have a position when he came from the minors and eventually he’d be exposed at first even in a platoon. I’m not so quick to throw away that position defensively.