Twins Land Two Starters in AL Cy Young Rankings

AP Photo: Abbie Parr

The Minnesota Twins’ starting rotation has been one of the best in baseball through the first 40+ games of 2023. On Wednesday, experts recognized the staff’s two best pitchers, (3rd) Sonny Gray and (5th) Joe Ryan, by voting them both into the top-5 of their first American League Cy Young rankings of the season.

Sonny Gray and Joe Ryan make early Cy Young rankings

The full list includes Gerrit Cole (Yankees) in 1st, Shane McClanahan (Rays) in 2nd and Shohei Ohtani (Angels) in 4th, sandwiched between the two Twins. No other team, either AL or NL, had two representatives voted into the top-5.

3) Sonny Gray, Twins (6 first-place votes) — Gray has had his share of success during his 11-year career, but he’s rarely been this dominant for this long of a stretch. The 33-year-old leads the Majors with a 1.39 ERA and the AL with a 1.89 FIP, recording a 56-to-16 K/BB ratio while surrendering nary a home run over 45 1/3 innings. Gray has allowed one or no runs in seven of his eight starts this season.

5) Joe Ryan, Twins (1 first-place vote) — The second Minnesota pitcher in our top five, Ryan has been nearly as good as his teammate Gray in 2023, going 6-1 with a 2.16 ERA over 50 innings. The righty ranks third in the Majors in WHIP (0.84) and fourth in K/BB ratio (8.14).
Do the Minnesota Twins have the best pitching staff in baseball?

Sonny Gray and Joe Ryan are both off to blistering hot starts but, as mentioned earlier, the entire staff has been impressive. They’ve had seven different pitchers grace the rotation, after Bailey Ober and Louie Varland were inserted from St. Paul to replace the injured Kenta Maeda and Tyler Mahle. Six of those seven starters have an ERA+ of over 100. Five of the seven have a WHIP < 1.100 and three have an ERA under 2.20.

1SPPablo López27224.00954.081103.841.0747.31.32.311.04.71
2SPJoe Ryan27612.16850.042032.540.8406.30.71.310.38.14
3SPSonny Gray33401.39845.103161.891.0816.
4SPBailey Ober27301.78530.122483.010.9566.
5SPTyler Mahle (60-day IL)28123.16525.251404.241.0527.
6SPLouie Varland25104.30423.061035.131.2178.62.32.310.64.50

Provided by View Original Table
Generated 5/17/2023.

As a rotation, according to Baseball Reference, the Twins have the most quality starts and most innings pitched per game of any starting staff in the MLB. The Twins, both bullpen and rotation, are 3rd in ERA (3.32), 1st in ERA+ (134), 3rd in FIP (3.29) and 1st in WHIP (1.149).

Most of that success has come via the starting rotation. The bullpen has had its struggles when forced to stretch out. Luckily, they haven’t had to do that very often. As long as the starters continue to pitch well and the back of the bullpen is anchored by Jhoan Duran and Jorge Lopez, this could be one of the best seasons of pitching in recent Minnesota Twins history.

Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan

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