Baseball's Starting Nine (Week of June 12th)

Another week and the same nine teams occupy the top nine spots in the Starting Nine. The order has changed however as the deck shuffles slightly, particularly at the top. Here is this week’s Starting Nine:

Starting Nine (Week of June 12th)

Hope to see you back: The More Things Change; Welcome Back to the Show: The More They Stay the Same

#9. Atlanta Braves 35-29 (+380/+750) - The Braves have stumbled a bit this week including three losses in DC over the weekend. They will need production from Riley and Olson soon. Last Week’s Rank: 6th

#8. KC Royals 39-29 (+1300/3000) - The Royals still have the makeup of a team that can and maybe even should make the playoffs. They were humbled in the first two games this week against the Yankees however and there may be a gap between the Royals and the top teams. Last Week’s Rank: 9th

#7. Seattle Mariners 39-30 (+600/+1400) - The Mariners’ rotation took a hit this week when it was announced that righty Bryan Woo had to skip a start with an arm issue. Still waiting for a JRod explosion. Last Week’s Rank: 8th

#6. Milwaukee Brewers 39-28 (+1100/+2500) - The Brewers just send them out and the pitchers keep performing in the ultimate next-man-up mentality. It helps that the Brewers’ offense has been exceeding expectations. Last Week’s Rank: 7th

#5. Cleveland Guardians 43-22 (+600/+1400) - The Guardians keep on rolling with a tenacious lineup lacking in stars save for Jose Ramirez and a stellar bullpen. They have thus far thwarted the advances of first Minnesota and now Kansas City for the top spot in the AL Central. Last Week’s Rank: 3rd

#4. LA Dodgers 42-26 (+155/+290) - The Dodgers flexed their muscles in the Bronx this last weekend, taking two of three. This team still hasn’t hit its stride. Last Week’s Rank: 4th

#3. Baltimore Orioles 39-20 (+380/+800) - The Orioles shut out the Braves in their series opener on Tuesday after sweeping the Rays in four games over the weekend. Lineup depth and solid pitching have this team looking like a serious threat to get to the World Series in 2024. Last Week’s Rank: 5th

#2. New York Yankees 48-21 (+220/+500) - The Yankees flipped spots with the Phillies after dropping two of three to the Dodgers over the weekend. They’ve bounced back with two straight wins in KC to start this week. Last Week’s Rank: 1st

#1. Philadelphia Phillies 46-20 (+300/+600) - The Phillies have starting depth and a powerful lineup with playoff experience. That lineup will get stronger soon with the return of Trea Turner. They may represent the best odds on the board to win it all. Last Week’s Rank: 2nd

AL/NL MVP Candidates:

Here are this week’s Top Three MVP candidates for each league.

American League

  1. Aaron Judge, CF NY Yankees (+150) - There was a time that playing CF for the Yankees nearly guaranteed a player the MVP. Judge is putting together the kind of numbers that might guarantee him his second MVP in three seasons.

  1. Bobby Witt Jr., SS KC Royals (+350) - Witt Jr. is clearly the best player at one of the marquee positions in baseball for a Royals team that looks playoff bound. If they get there, he will be a prime MVP candidate.

  1. Jose Ramirez, 3B Cleveland Guardians (+1700) - Juan Soto of the Yankees has better odds but Ramirez has a chance to knock in 150 runs while Soto will lose some steam on the same team with Judge.

National League

  1. Mookie Betts, SS LA Dodgers (+125) - Betts is second in the NL in hits and fourth in batting average. He is also second in runs scored. Betts trails teammate Ohtani in two of those three categories but he also plays shortstop while Ohtani is exclusively a DH.

  1. Bryce Harper, 1B Philadelphia Phillies (+400) - The marquee player on baseball’s best team, Harper is always an MVP candidate. His numbers back that up as well. He is third in slugging, fourth in HRs, and fourth in OBP.

  1. Fernando Tatis Jr., RF San Diego Padres (+1200) - Tatis is the long shot on my board at +1200. He is showing the form that helped him belt 40 home runs just a few seasons ago as the SS for the Padres. He has 13 home runs, 8 steals, and now has a WAR of 2.1

*All odds courtesy of

By Mark Ruelle

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Mark Ruelle

Mark has been a sports fanatic since childhood. He is also an avid follower of sports analytics and has used it in his own betting analysis for over two decades. Now we have Mark on our team here at Stat Salt. He holds degrees in marketing, broadcasting, and English and uses this vast array of assets to dissect and analyze game matchups. Mark will provide you with a wide variety of statistics to consider and a strong opinion in each matchup that he covers. Please follow him daily for an up-to-the-minute analysis of all the important games.