MLB Starting Nine: July 3

The MLB season is now more than halfway over. The Milwaukee Brewers hit the trade market first, picking up Aaron Civale to add to their banged-up rotation. The deals will get bigger as the month goes on. Here is this week’s Starting Nine:

Starting Nine (Week of July 3)

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

#9. Atlanta Braves 46-37 (+400/+800) - The Braves are going to be in the market for more pitching. They have the hitting to win but this rotation won’t get them deep into October. Last Week’s Rank: 9th

#8. Minnesota Twins 48-37 (+800/1700) - The Twins are getting healthier, especially their everyday lineup and it is showing in the standings. Last Week’s Rank: 8

#7. Seattle Mariners 47-39 (+750/+1600) - The Mariners are going to need to upgrade a lineup that is barely getting by for the AL’s best rotation. Last Week’s Rank: 6th

#6. Milwaukee Brewers 51-35 (+900/+2000) - The Brewers added Civale to their rotation. That is unlikely the last piece this team will add to its pitching staff. Last Week’s Rank: 5th

#5. New York Yankees 54-33 (+225/+475) - The Yankees are starting to look a bit too much like last year’s team that lacked lineup depth and starting pitching. Should they be worried about Gil’s performances in his last three starts? I would be. Last Week’s Rank: 1st

#4. Cleveland Guardians 53-30 (+500/+1300) - The Guardians sent down Triston Mackenzie this week and can only hope he finds his stuff while working things out in the minors. Last Week’s Rank: 7th

#3. LA Dodgers 53-33 (+160/+310) - Somehow, Shohei Ohtani has gotten even more dominant since Mookie Betts went down. Pitching help is on the way as well. Last Week’s Rank: 4th

#2. Baltimore Orioles 53-31 (+380/+800) - The Orioles have the pieces to make the move everyone is waiting for them to make: adding a premier closer. Last Week’s Rank: 3rd

#1. Philadelphia Phillies 56-29 (+275/+550) - The Phils are getting by just fine thus far without Schwarber and Harper. It’ll be an interesting weekend series in Atlanta without them. 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 New York Yankees (-270) - Is it possible Judge is having a better season than he had two years ago when he hit 62 home runs? He has 31 home runs and is hitting a career-best .320 as he carries a struggling Yankees’ lineup at the moment.

  1. Gunnar Henderson, SS Baltimore Orioles (+300) - In any other year, Henderson might be the runaway favorite for MVP. He is still having a dominant season with top five numbers in home runs, WAR, total bases and OPS.

  1. Jose Ramirez, 3B Cleveland Guardians (+2500) - Ramirez is just behind Judge in RBI, has 23 home runs, and stolen 15 bases while continuing his elite play at 3rd base for the first place Guardians.

National League

  1. Shohei Ohtani, DH LA Dodgers (-230) - Ohtani leads the NL in total bases, home runs, slugging, WAR, and he has 16 stolen bases. All this and he hasn’t thrown a pitch this season.

  1. Bryce Harper, 1B Philadelphia Phillies (+800) - It will take a monumental finish for Harper to pass Ohtani, especially with his current trip to the IL. He is, however, fully capable of going on a torrid hot streak. Harper is already top five in the NL in home runs, RBI, total bases, slugging, and WAR.

  1. Marcell Ozuna, DH Atlanta Braves (+1500) - Ozuna is in the midst of a career year and it couldn’t come at a better time for a Braves team that will be without last year’s NL MVP Ronald Acuna Jr for the rest of the year. Ozuna is second in the NL in home runs, RBI and total bases.

*All odds courtesy of

By Mark Ruelle

Author Profile
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.