Ariel Miranda signed with the Baltimore Orioles this May in a relatively under-the-radar manner. The Cuban-born left-hander did not come stateside with the buzz of a Jose Contreras or Aroldis Chapman. At 26-years-old, the left-hander did not come with an extreme amount of upside, but did post a respectable 3.24 ERA in his final Cuban season.
Through five starts at the Double-A level, Miranda appears to be rounding back into form nicely after missing the entire 2014 season to establish residency outside of Cuba. The lefty has allowed just five earned runs in his five starts with Bowie. In 28.2 innings, he has struck out 29. His most recent outing was a seven-inning, 10-strikeout performance against the Harrisburg Senators. Miranda worked through the Senators with ease, had good command, and could use both his changeup and splitter to finish hitters off.
Miranda has good command on the mound, and generated weak contact early in the count. His fastball will not blow anyone away, but he gets it over the plate with good consistency, which allows him to go to his split-finger and change. In his time at Bowie, he has walked only nine, but four of those came in one start. Miranda has allowed just two home runs on the year. He had a brief rough patch with High-A Frederick, allowing nine earned in 11.0 innings at one point, but it has been smooth sailing since.
The Orioles have made a few low-key forays into the Cuban market in recent years without much return. With the team’s bullpen frequently taxed this year by inefficient starting pitching, Miranda should figure into the team’s September plans. At 26, Miranda does not need much more seasoning in the minor leagues, and there’s very little reason to continue having him dominate 22 and 23-year-olds. The club has a need for bullpen depth, and there is very little reason not to see what they have on their hands in the Cuban veteran.