The Minnesota Twins have raced out to an impressive start in 2023, powered by some superb pitching from Sonny Gray and, unfortunately, in spite of star shortstop Carlos Correa, who has gotten off to a slow start.
At the time of publishing, the Twins are 19-14 and hold a four-game lead over the Detroit Tigers in the American League Central division.
The Twins’ pitching staff boasts the third-best team ERA in the big leagues, and while the lineup has struggled a bit out of the gate, it’s still a batting order that features some of the better hitters in the majors.
If players in the lineup can begin to hit more like the back of their baseball cards, this Twins team could be even more formidable.
But rather than make predictions, it’s time to overreact to the Twins’ hot start.
Without further ado, let’s go over the top with our reactions to Minnesota thus far.
Twins’ Overreactions To 2023 Start
3. The Carlos Correa contract was a mistake
After the way Carlos Correa’s offseason played out- he was poised to sign contracts with both the San Francisco Giants and New York Mets before the deals fell through due to medical concerns- Twins fans were likely expecting him to get off to a fast start.
Well, that’s the exact opposite of what he has done, as Correa has posted a .198/.280/.369 slash line with just four home runs and 28 strikeouts in 125 plate appearances thus far.
Those numbers are a far cry from the 22 homers and .834 OPS he posted in year one with the Twins.
So, what gives?
Well, for starters, Correa is simply not making contact as well as he has in the past, as his contact rate has dipped well below the rate fans have been accustomed to seeing, per FanGraphs.
Oddly enough, when Correa has made contact, he’s been hitting the ball on the ground less and driving it into the air for a line drive or a fly ball more than he did last year.
It’s not clear if it’s a mechanical issue or if Correa, who has his fair share of medical red flags, is dealing with an undisclosed injury.
He did miss a couple of games due to back tightness earlier this year, though the Twins said it was expected to “resolve” itself quickly- and there’s been no mention of it since.
Historically, Correa has struggled in the month of April, as his .787 career OPS in March/April is the second-lowest mark of his career in any month.
History suggests Correa will be better. Is it concerning that he has performed so poorly at the plate thus far? The Twins have 200 million reasons to be concerned.
But it’s far too early to write this contract off when it’s likely that Correa turns things around sooner rather than later.
2. Sonny Gray is the best pitcher in the American League
Sonny Gray has been outstanding. Gray, 33, leads the majors in ERA with a miniscule 0.77 mark to go along with 41 strikeouts against just 12 walks in 35 innings.
He is sporting a perfect 4-0 record.
Why isn’t Gray the best pitcher in the American League?
Well for starters, New York Yankees ace Gerrit Cole and Tampa Bay Rays hurler Shane McClanahan have arguably been just as dominant.
And Gray’s own teammate, Joe Ryan, has gotten off to an equally fast start.
Gray might be the best pitcher in the league now, but there’s no way he’s maintaining a 0.77 ERA all year.
Having said that, this could be the best version of Gray the league has ever seen.
He is inducing groundballs with his sinker just like always, getting more strikeouts with his slider and has been using his cutter more than ever.
Gray will continue to pace this Twins rotation, which looks like one of the best in the league.
The Twins will run away with the AL Central
The Twins already have a four-game lead over the second-place Tigers and a whopping 11 game-lead over the last-place Kansas City Royals.
The Chicago White Sox, who had high hopes under first-year manager Pedro Grifol, have been lousy.
The reigning division champions, the Cleveland Guardians, have been plagued by one of the worst run-producing lineups in the league.
It’s too early to say that the Twins will run away with this division, though.
The Guardians still have Shane Bieber, one of the best pitchers in the league- and a lineup that has the pieces to be performing better than this.
The Tigers are young and exciting but are probably not ready to contend yet.
Make no mistake, the Twins are more than likely going to win this division, barring a collapse.
But it’s too early to definitively say that.