Through the first month or so of the 2023 season, the Minnesota Twins have proven to be surprisingly good as they currently sit at 17-13 and three games up in the American League Central. Sure, some of that has to do with the White Sox forgetting how to play baseball, but a big chunk of it has been the Twins just playing really well especially the pitching staff which, as of 5/3, currently ranks second in the entire league by fWAR at 4.9 trailing only the Mariners.
You would be forgiven, though, if you looked at a pitching staff led by Sonny Gray and thought that this isn't exactly a top 5 rotation in the big leagues going into the 2023 season. However, that is exactly where the Twins find themselves. Sure, things won't always be THIS good because every staff has bad days over the course of a long season and there are some injuries to currently worry about, but there is a lot to suggest that this Twins pitching staff could be among the best throughout the course of 2023. Here are the reasons why they can keep this up.
The peripherals seem to show that this is no fluke
A lot of times when you see a team really hot on one side of the ball, you can point to some sort of "luck" stats going their way like BABIP, xBA, strand rate, and FIP where things should have not gone quite as well, but did over a smaller sample. Weird things can happen in the game of baseball and sometimes every .100 xBA blooper finds a hole, the defense behind a guy makes a string of insane plays, or guy just keeps getting away with having multiple runners on against him with less than two outs.
These things happen.
In the Twins' case, though, there isn't something you can point to and say "this is abnormally lucky". The staff's FIP (3.52) is both very good at second in the league and also right in line with their actual production this season. Their strand rate is right in the middle of the pack-ish so it isn't like they are pitching out of trouble a bunch. Moreover, their strikeout and walk rates are both in the top three in the entire league.
This is just a team that doesn't give out free passes, misses bats, and makes the plays they are supposed to behind these guys.