Doosan Bears signed LHP Aríel Miranda to a 1-year, $550,000 contract
The Bears lost in game 6 of the 2020 Korean Series. As soon as the game was over the Bears were well aware that they were more than likely to lose their staff ace, Chris Flexen, to the big leagues. Even without losing Flexen, they needed to improve their pitching and they did that by signing Walker Lockett. Lockett is a good signing, but Miranda is the big signing for the three-time Korea Baseball Organization champions (yes, I am one of those weirdos who says if a team moves or changes their name then they are different than the team they were so I’m not counting OB Bears titles).
The Cuban left-hander has been all over the world. He’s played for professional leagues in Cuba, Japan, the United States, and most recently, Taiwan. His approach hasn’t changed much from league to league. The 6’2 lefty will bring a power fastball and a nasty changeup to the Bears rotation. He does throw a few different breaking pitches, including a slider that when right is a real beauty to watch dance away from hitters. That being said, the power fourseamer and changeup are his bread and butter pitches. For the most part, they have served him well.
The question for Miranda, and the Bears, is whether they will get the pitcher of the first half of the 2020 Chinese Professional Baseball League or the pitcher of the second half? During the first half of the Taiwanese league’s season, Miranda was lights out. He was by far the best pitcher in the league. The CTBC Brothers rode him hard and he went deep into every game and looked every bit the big signing that the Brothers had hoped for when they shelled out a record amount of money for him.
The wheels started to come off for Miranda shortly after the second half started. The main culprit was a familiar foe of Miranda’s; a lack of control. He’s never been the most efficient pitcher, but when he is at his best he is able to keep his wildness at a sustainable level. In the second half of the CPBL season, Miranda was not able to do that and his WHIP skyrocketed to 1.340 as he lost the strike zone. Still, it’s hard to feel all too negative about a season where he still put up an ERA+ of 138 in 156 innings and finished with a tWAR of 3.5. Not to mention throwing a one-run complete-game effort in game 3 of the Taiwan Series when the Brothers needed him to come up big.
Miranda was a big fish in Taiwan, but in South Korea, he will only be a medium fish. He’s still as talented as ever, but hitters throughout the KBO are better equipped to handle his heat than hitters in the CPBL initially were. Though, being equipped to handle it doesn’t mean actually handling it. The Bears are counting on the well-traveled Miranda to limit his walks and use his power fastball/changeup approach to keep hitters off balance. Miranda definitely has the pedigree to succeed in the KBO, whether or not he does is all dependent on if he can stop giving opposing hitters free passes all game long.
Lead photo courtesy of Unknown – CPBL Stats