Early MLB takeaways on best teams, new rules, injuries and trends

Justin Verlander was one of a record-breaking number of players to hit the IL in the early days of the 2023 season. What else stands out so far? Jeff Passan breaks down baseball's biggest early storylines. Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

The two best records in baseball belong to the teams with the 27th- and 28th-ranked payrolls in the game. The six division leaders are the Tampa Bay Rays, Minnesota Twins, Texas Rangers, Atlanta Braves, Pittsburgh Pirates and Arizona Diamondbacks. And the average time of a Major League Baseball game is at its lowest since 1981.

April is always full of questions about what's real and what's not, what's sustainable and what's folly. With the four-week mark of the season arriving tomorrow, here are 10 takeaways from the early going that range from a spate of injuries -- the origin of which is flummoxing people around the game -- to how pitch-clock baseball might not be all that different from what we've seen in recent years.