Ranking Minnesota Twins position groups heading into 2023 based on projected WAR

Minnesota Twins v Boston Red Sox
Minnesota Twins v Boston Red Sox / Brace Hemmelgarn/GettyImages
1 of 5

It's easier to start at the top and work our way back to the weakest group since it's sort of obvious what two position groups lead the way for Minnesota, although the top spot is a bit surprising. Also keep in mind that these projections are based on complete position groups, not just the 26-man roster, so there are some players contributing to projected wins who won't be on the Opening Day roster.

1. Starting Pitching - Projected WAR: 11.4

Top Players: Joe Ryan (2.3 WAR), Pablo Lopez (2.2 WAR), Tyler Mahler (2.1 WAR)

One of the most frustrating position groups for the Twins last season could end up being the team's best and most exciting in 2023. Who to blame for the issues depends on who you talk to, as the stats suggest Minnesota's starters were sub-par, but ask fans why that was and the finger gets pointed at Rocco Baldelli and his managerial decisions.

That's all in the past, though, and the upside for the starting rotation this year is rather exciting.

Minnesota projected starting rotation combines for 10.3 WAR, which is enticing and says a lot about the potential of the unit. Kenta Maeda's 1.4 WAR feels a bit conservative, albeit fairly, as he's expected to return to his 2020 Cy Young form this season -- or something closer to that than what he was before needing Tommy John surgery last year.

Both Pablo Lopez and Joe Ryan will lead the rotation beyond just this season, but it could be Sonny Gray who has the best bounce-back season of the entire crew. He wasn't too pleased about his innings usage last season, and if Rocco loosens his grip a bit on pulling starters so early, leaving Gray to go deeper into his starts could put him in a position to get the most out of his 2.1 WAR.

2. Shortstop - Projected WAR: 5.8

Top Player: Carlos Correa (5.0 WAR)

Shortstop is both the best non-pitching group but also the most volatile. Carlos Correa accounts for almost all of the WAR in the position group, with Royce Lewis and Kyle Farmer making up 0.5 WAR between them.

As we saw last year, if Correa gets hurt the Twins are in big trouble. His surgically reconstructed leg wasn't as much of an issue as it was made out to be in free agency, but Correa missing anytime will be problematic, especially considering Lewis is the second-best player at the position and is already starting the season on the 60-day IL.

Kyle Farmer can help step in and play some shortstop, as he’ll play that Nick Punto-style utility role in the infield this season, but the gamble with Correa is the team will only be a good as he allows them to be — something directly reflected in his projected WAR.