MLB Starting Nine (May 29)

There’s a new #1 in the Starting Nine and the injury bug bit some of the MLB’s top teams. The trade deadline is still two months away but deals could be coming sooner than later. Here is this week’s Starting Nine:

Starting Nine (Week of May 29th)

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

#9. Seattle Mariners 30-26 (+700/+1700) - The Mariners will need Luis Castillo to take the reins as the ace of a staff that is looking for a leader. The Mariners will need more consistency from a lineup that is still waiting to take off. Last Week’s Rank: 9th

#8. Atlanta Braves 31-21 (+340/+650) - The Braves’ depth will now be challenged with the loss of Ronald Acuna Jr. for the season with an ACL tear. Sean Murphy is back to give them more pop and the time is now for CF Michael Harris II to deliver on his vast promise. Last Week’s Rank: 5th

#7. Milwaukee Brewers 31-23 (+1200/+3000) - The Brewers should get Rhys Hoskins back soon to help their offense. The pitching is a concern with so many injuries and the Brewers' reliance on their bullpen each night. Last Week’s Rank: 8th

#6. KC Royals 34-22 (+1100/2500) - The Royals are still chasing the red-hot Guardians atop the AL Central Division. They have gotten above-average pitching and have an MVP candidate in Witt Jr. at SS. They’ll need more potent arms in the bullpen. Last Week’s Rank: 7th

#5. Baltimore Orioles 34-19 (+400/+950) - The Orioles were swept for the first time in two seasons in St. Louis but remain one of the favorites to win the American League with a diverse lineup and solid starting pitching. Last Week’s Rank: 4th

#4. LA Dodgers 35-22 (+165/+300) - The Dodgers are fighting through some injuries at the moment but still have the most potent lineup in the National League. Help is on the way in the rotation and the Dodgers are never afraid to pull the trigger on a deal to improve their roster. Last Week’s Rank: 2nd

#3. New York Yankees 37-19 (+250/+550) - The Bombers just got back LeMahieu to add to a lineup that is already one of the best in the league. Don’t forget that Cole will eventually be back to strengthen their starting rotation. Last Week’s Rank: 3rd

#2. Philadelphia Phillies 38-18 (+300/+600) - The Phillies earned the distinction of being the hottest team in baseball last week before stumbling a bit on the West Coast. They still have as good a 1-2-3 punch on the mound in Wheeler, Nola, and Suarez. They will likely have to add some depth to their bullpen near the trade deadline. Last Week’s Rank: 1st

#1. Cleveland Guardians 37-18 (+600/+1500) - The Guardians are now the hottest team in baseball and they seem to respond each time someone challenges them in the AL Central. The oddsmakers are coming around as well, with the Guardians dropping from +800 to +600 to win the AL in just a week. Last Week’s Rank: 4th

AL/NL MVP Candidates:

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

American League

  1. Juan Soto RF, NY Yankees (+225) - While Soto still seems non-commital about his return to the Yankees, he’s putting together quite a free-agent resume. It doesn’t hurt that he hits ahead of Judge and that could lead him to career-numbers and a prime MVP candidacy for the Yankees.

  1. Bobby Witt, Jr. SS, KC Royals (+250) - Witt keeps getting better and so do the Royals. He plays the premier position in baseball, has speed, and has power. The Royals are a team on the rise and Witt is ready to take his place among baseball’s elite.

  1. Jose Ramirez 3B, Cleveland Guardians (+2500) - The Guardians are the hottest team in the league and don’t seem to be ready to go away any time soon. If this team makes the postseason, Ramirez has to be a prime candidate for MVP. He will be among the league leaders in hits, runs, RBI, and slugging when all is said and done. This current price is as good as it gets.

National League

  1. Mookie Betts SS, LA Dodgers (+125) - Already a two-time MVP, Betts is arguably off to his best start ever. Like Soto in the AL, it certainly helps Betts having Ohtani hitting behind him. His move to SS from RF will also be taken into account when considering his candidacy.

  1. Shohei Ohtani DH, LA Dodgers (+400) - Ohtani could be a triple-crown candidate when all is said and done. His offensive output thus far does make people question whether he should ever return to pitching at all. His one drawback is that he plays exclusively at DH this season.

  1. Bryce Harper DH/1B, Philadelphia Phillies (+1000) - The Phillies have been dominant for large stretches this season and the sweet-swinging Harper is right in the middle of it. Like Ohtani, his limited play in the field could hurt his chances at surpassing someone like Betts.

*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.