MLB Starting Nine (Week of May 15th)

The MLB season is pushing toward Memorial Day Weekend meaning the heat will be on soon and teams will be considering where they stand. Get ready for even more offense as the weather warms and the baseballs fly. Here is this week’s Starting Nine:

Starting Nine (Week of May 15th)

Hope to see you back: The more things change; Welcome Back to the Show: The more they stay the same

#9. Minnesota Twins 24-17 (+1800) - The Twins won 17-of-20 games heading into this week’s series with the Yankees. Buxton is scheduled to return soon to give the lineup more pop. Last Week’s Rank: 7th

#8. KC Royals 26-18 (+75,000) - The Royals’ rotation is rounding into form and their lineup got a jolt with the return of 2B Massey. They look to be here for the long haul. Last Week’s Rank: 9th

#7. Milwaukee Brewers 25-17 (+4500) - The Brewers continue to pace the NL Central despite some young and hungry teams looking to upend them. Starting pitching will be a concern going forward. Last Week’s Rank: 8th

#6. Cleveland Guardians 27-16 (+2200) - The Guardians had to feel good about the performance of Logan Allen this week with six shutout innings. They don’t have a true ace but do have several strong, young arms. Last Week’s Rank: 6th

#5. Atlanta Braves 26-13 (+400) - Fried continues to look to be back in form and that is critical for the Braves. Now if they can get their bats going across this deep and talented lineup. Last Week’s Rank: 4th

#4. Baltimore Orioles 26-14 (+900) - The Orioles took care of the Yankees last weekend and look like the best team in the American League right now. Last Week’s Rank: 3rd

#3. New York Yankees 28-15 (+700) - The Bombers are finally getting production out of other parts of the order, particularly since moving Rizzo down in the batting order. If they can hold the forte until their pitching gets healthy, they will be a problem. Last Week’s Rank: 5th

#2. LA Dodgers 29-15 (+310) - The Dodgers welcomed back Walker Buehler this week and Clayton Kershaw will be along shortly. Those two can give a pitching staff in need of depth a real boost. Last Week’s Rank: 2nd

#1. Philadelphia Phillies 30-13 (+950) - The Phillies look like a more complete team than the Dodgers at the moment. Their top three starters are better than the Dodgers’ top three and they can hit with the Dodgers as well. Last Week’s Rank: 1st

AL/NL MVP Candidates & AL/NL Cy Young Candidates:

Here is our inaugural look at the MVP in each league halfway through May. We will add the Cy Young candidates starting in June.

American League

  1. Juan Soto RF, New York Yankees (+200) - Soto is going to be paid quite well this winter as he builds an MVP resume. He is benefitting from Judge hitting behind him and a watchful eye at the plate that has resulted in a ton of walks as he patiently waits for his pitch.

  1. Bobby Witt SS, KC Royals (+250) - Witt may be ahead of schedule but he’s the heart and soul of this Royals team. He hits for power, average, and runs the bases well. He also plays an above-average shortstop. If the Royals stay in the playoff hunt, he’ll stay in the MVP hunt.

  1. Gunner Henderson SS, Baltimore Orioles (+500) - Henderson has lived up to the hype and then some as part of the Orioles’ deep and talented farm system. He looked to be a tweener SS/3B but has handled the rigors of SS while also providing top-level pop at the plate.

National League

  1. Mookie Betts SS, LA Dodgers (+165) - Betts has thrived leading off in front of two fellow former MVPs in Ohtani and Freeman. He is fourth in batting average, second in total bases, and 11th in stolen bases all while shifting over to arguably the most important position on the field, shortstop, without missing a beat.

  1. Shohei Ohtani DH, LA Dodgers (+330) - The only thing holding Ohtani back from the top spot is that he is a full-time DH thanks to his arm injury. He leads the NL in home runs, batting average, and total bases. He could put up the kind of numbers that overcome his status as DH this season.

  1. Marcell Ozuna DH, Atlanta Braves (+3500) - Like Ohtani, he’ll have to overcome the fact that he’s a full-time DH at this point bt Ozuna is having a career year. He is tied with Ohtani for the home run lead, leads the league in RBI, and is hitting .329.

*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.