A few members of the Twins watched a recent MLB Network segment that asked whether Royce Lewis was the best player on the team.

There's a good argument for that, they agreed.

But where there is no debate, in the minds of many associated with the club, is who is the Twins' most valuable player.

Carlos Correa is atop that list.

Correa does it all on the field. He's an excellent defensive shortstop. He's a solid hitter. There are few players who perform better in the postseason. But measuring Correa's impact behind the scenes is where he truly stands out.

"There's just a demand to win, to excel, to be exceptional at what you do, and to always be looking toward what we have to do next to win the game, period," Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said.

"He brings that every day, all day long. It's not something you can just talk about. He lives it. It's the only way he knows how to be, and I think it's rubbed off on everybody in this room."

In a roller coaster of a season that featured a 12-game winning streak and three separate losing streaks of at least five games, Correa is a steadying force.

He doesn't waver from his routines. His mindset doesn't change after good or bad games. He spoke up during a players-only team meeting last month, urging position players to start their pregame work earlier.

"You have a lot of players that came up in the COVID years," said Correa, 29. "They are used to showing up late and you have the time set to show up. For them, that's the norm.

"When we came up, that's not the norm for what baseball has been for hundreds of years. I think the COVID year kind of spoiled the new players a little bit. Right now, we're getting back to a place where everyone is putting in the work, everyone is showing up early and everybody wants it. It's beautiful to see."

Before one game on the Twins' last road trip, there were three players surrounding Correa's locker as he discussed the starting pitcher and what he learned from watching video from the pitcher's last start.

Correa is constantly chatting with teammates. He asked hitting coach David Popkins to send him videos of teammates working on their swings in the offseason, so he could be informed of their progress and offer advice. A couple of players flew to Houston to work out with him in the winter.

Fervent feedback

Kyle Farmer, a free agent at the end of the season, says he's never met a player who can break down advanced stats like WAR (wins above replacement), defensive runs saved and baserunning metrics as well as Correa, who will point out specific plays that can boost those numbers. It helps Farmer understand what teams will value when he enters free agency.

"We communicate a lot, especially in between pitches," said Jose Miranda, referencing when he plays third base. "He lets me know when an off-speed is coming, so I can be ready when it's a righty, or when it's a lefty, a fastball is coming. Stuff like that. Little things that obviously people don't know."

Said 15-year veteran Carlos Santana: "I've played with a lot of All-Star players, but I like Correa because he cares about teammates, cares about everything and he's working so hard. I'm very proud to play with him."

Correa is hitting .298 with an .840 OPS. In his third season in Minnesota, he's the team leader in FanGraphs' WAR (2.0) as he plays under a six-year, $200 million contract that expires after the 2028 season.

His preparation, his intensity, came together in the playoffs last year. He threw out a runner at the plate on a botched play in Game 1 of the wild-card round against Toronto. In Game 2, he orchestrated a successful pick-off play with Sonny Gray after he noticed Blue Jays players couldn't hear their third-base coach over the loud crowd.

"His work ethic is second to none," Twins bench coach Jayce Tingler said. "His mentality is second to none. I've been around some great ones. Adrián Beltré did it his way. There are a lot of similar qualities."

Correa broke into the major leagues with the Astros at 20 years old, though the two players he calls his mentors — Brian McCann and Carlos Beltrán — didn't arrive in Houston until his third season. After playing with them in a World Series season, which was later marred by a sign-stealing scandal, he was motivated to become more of a vocal leader.

"It's the way they talked to the team, addressed every situation, the way they made everyone better around them," Correa said. "The way they were not selfish. Not just there for themselves, but for others. The way they helped me with my career, I was blessed to experience it firsthand. Obviously, I want to be like them."

Constant communication

Baldelli says the way Correa communicates with teammates is unique. He marveled at how Correa is always "on" the moment he arrives at the ballpark, demanding a high standard and then exemplifying it. Teammates see it in the gym, batting cages and infield drills.

It's a leadership style the Twins feared they would lose when Correa opted out of his contract after his first year with the club.

"On the field, he obviously does what he does — but just the stability he brings with the younger guys here," said Hank Conger, the Twins' first-base coach. "He talks to every player whether it's a pitcher or a position player. Once we realized there was a chance he might be leaving to a different team, that's when you start realizing, we need this guy back."

Tingler added: "I think he gets better every year, not only physically in the performance, but I think mentally and his leadership skills and all that. He's reading books on leadership. He's constantly challenging himself."

Lewis described Correa's presence and leadership as an aura dedicated to winning. Others said it was hard to convey because it's just who Correa is as a player and person. It's everything he does.

"From his arrival, he has been the one that has changed the environment the most," Baldelli said. "He's the changed the mentality of everyone, myself included, in ways that I really couldn't have imagined."