What the Minnesota Twins’ 2022 Opening Day Lineup Looks Like After Surprise Carlos Correa Signing

The Minnesota Twins shocked the baseball world this morning by announcing that they had signed Carlos Correa to a contract worth $65.5 million over six years, with an option for club options for 2024 and 2026. This announcement means that the team has addressed all of its needs in outfielders, infielders, and pitchers already before spring training even begins next year.

What the Minnesota Twins’ 2022 Opening Day Lineup Looks Like After Surprise Carlos Correa Signing

After the 99-day lockout ended, we knew the MLB offseason was going to be crazy. But it’s been completely insane, culminating with the signing of coveted free agent Carlos Correa to the Minnesota Twins.

Days after trading third baseman Josh Donaldson to the New York Yankees, the 27-year-old shortstop agreed to a three-year, $105.3 million deal with the Twins. Correa, who spent his entire seven-year career with the Houston Astros, is undoubtedly the most expensive free-agent acquisition in Twins history and one of the most expensive in baseball history by average yearly value.

Who knows how long Correa will stay in the Twin Cities with opt-outs after his first and second seasons? All we know is that the Minnesota Twins’ Opening Day lineup in 2022 just become a lot more scary for a team that feels it can compete in a crowded American League.

In the Twins’ new lineup, Carlos Correa joins Byron Buxton in the top three spots.

Minnesota Twins teammates Carlos Correa and Byron Buxton share a laugh.

Minnesota Twins teammates Carlos Correa and Byron Buxton share a laugh. Byron Buxton #25 of the Minnesota Twins chats with Carlos Correa #1 of the Houston Astros, his new teammate. | Getty Images/Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins

Byron Buxton (CF), Luis Arraez (DH), and Carlos Correa (DH) are the top three players (SS)

Buxton’s health has always been a major worry since his debut in 2015, when he appeared in 92 games for the first time. When he’s on the field, though, the 28-year-old is a true superstar. Buxton, who was chosen one position below Correa in the 2012 MLB Draft, blasted a career-high 19 home runs in just 61 games last season, slugging.647. Buck has actual 35-15 potential, providing Minnesota a devastating top-of-the-order hitter if he can escape the injury bug.

Arraez, 24, has played all over the field in his first three seasons, but he’ll take over as Minnesota’s new designated hitter for the time being. Arraez doesn’t have much power, with just six home runs in roughly 950 plate appearances. The Venezuelan, on the other hand, understands how to hit, with a career batting line of.313/.374/.403. Last season, he generally led off, but he may easily drop down to the two-spot this season.

Correa isn’t being paid $35.1 million a year to hit anyplace else than the middle of the order. The two-time All-Star is coming off one of his greatest seasons ever, with a.279/.366/.485 batting line, 26 home runs, and 92 RBI. In addition, he earned his first Gold Glove and was voted sixth in MVP voting.

Correa can do some significant damage at the three-hole for the new-look Twins, with an All-Star-caliber player in Buxton and a professional hitter in Arraez front of him.

A trio of foreign players make up the center of the order.

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4. Jorge Polanco (second base), 5. Max Kepler (right field), and 6. Miguel Sano (1B)

Manager Rocco Baldelli will have several choices after Correa after losing Donaldson and Cruz, Minnesota’s two most popular cleanup hitters, in 2021. Let’s place the switch-hitting Polanco here for now. The 28-year-old took some time to develop, but he showed off his power last season with 33 home runs, 98 RBI, and 97 runs scored. He also hit.333 with runners in scoring position and had a 1.048 OPS, making him the ideal bat to accompany Minny’s new star.

Kepler has shown signs of his ability for years, blasting 36 home runs in a breakthrough 2019 season. But the German’s 2021 was a disaster, as he batted.211 with an OPS of.719. Despite this, he still managed 19 home runs and 10 steals in just under 500 plate appearances, indicating that he has the potential to play in the middle of the order. However, it’s not out of the question that Baldelli may deploy him in numerous lineup slots during the season.

Twins fans must be tired of hearing about Sano’s infinite potential by now. If there’s one thing we already know about the 28-year-old, it’s that his power ranks among the best in the majors. All you have to do is put up with a poor batting average and a slew of strikeouts, which prohibit him from being Minnesota’s clear four-hitter.

Polanco, Kepler, and Sano have all hit 30 home runs and are on pace to do it again in 2022.

The Twins’ Opening Day lineup includes two former Yankees.

Gary Sanchez (7th), Alex Kirilloff (8th), and Gio Urshela (9th) (3B)

Few athletes needed a change of scenery more than Sanchez, who is 29 years old. Sanchez was seen as an important element of New York’s core after coming second in Rookie of the Year voting in 2016 and earning an All-Star berth in 2017. However, he has hit below-average in three of his previous four seasons, including a.204 average with a.730 OPS in 2021. The backstop still has a lot of pop, so he could be able to reclaim his All-Star status at Target Field.

Kirilloff, a first-round selection of Minnesota in 2016, had his first big-league play in 2021. The 24-year-old hit.251 with eight home runs in 316 plate appearances, but his OBP was only.299. However, the lefty still has plenty of time to live up to the lofty expectations he set for himself as a prospect. But, at least at first, Baldelli is likely to keep him towards the bottom of the order.

Sanchez and Urshela were both acquired as part of the Donaldson trade. Correa’s return to third base, where he spent the previous two seasons with the Bronx Bombers, is a result of his new contract. He does, however, have a good bat, slashing.267/.301/.419 in 2021. Gio hit.314 with 21 home runs in 2019, which is impressive for a man who may close out Minnesota’s starting order.

The Twins should be well-positioned to contend in the AL Central, with two All-Star bats up front, a tempting assortment of power hitters in the middle, and intriguing promise at the bottom.

Baseball Reference provided all statistics.

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