Starting MLB Nine (Week of September 11th)

The MLB season is nearing an end and there are still two division titles up for grabs and wildcard spots to be decided. Here is this week’s Starting Nine:

Starting Nine (Week of September 11th)

#9. Philadelphia Phillies 78-64 (+650/+1400) - The Phillies will get an early playoff preview with the Braves in town to start the week. If the Phils want to make a run again this year in the playoffs, they will need more consistency out of the top two starters Nola and Wheeler. Last Week’s Rank: 8th

#8. Seattle Mariners 79-64 (+850/+1700) - The Mariners have charged back into the playoff picture despite having two rookies in the rotation and an underwhelming lineup. Last Week’s Rank: 5th

#7. Toronto Blue Jays 80-63 (+900/+1800) - The Blue Jays get back in our Starting Nine and are also back in the AL Wildcard top-3. This will be a team no one wants to face in the playoffs with one of the game’s best lineups and a dominant back end of the bullpen. Last Week’s Rank: Unranked

#6. Milwaukee Brewers 79-63 (+900/+2000) - The Brewers could be a sneaky pick in the NL playoffs. They have one of the best top three pitchers in the NL in Burnes, Peralta, and Woodward, and a dominant closer. If the bats come through, the Brewers could replicate the run that Philadelphia made in 2022. Last Week’s Rank: 6th

#5. Houston Astros 82-62 (+225/+500) - The Astros have wrestled control of the AL West with less than 20 games to go. With Altuve and Bregman heating up and Valdez and Verlander at the top of the rotation, they might be the favorite in the AL once again. Last Week’s Rank: 7th

#4. Los Angeles Dodgers 87-55 (+200/+425) - The Dodgers have all but sewn up the second spot and a bye in the opening round. They should have the luxury of lining up their rotation for the playoffs going forward. Last Week’s Rank: 3rd

#3. Tampa Bay Rays 88-52 (+425/+900) - The Rays trail the O’s by three games with roughly 20 games left. They do have two games in hand so the division is not out of the question. Last Week’s Rank: 4th

#2. Baltimore Orioles 90-52 (+320/+800) - The Orioles became baseball’s second 90-win team this week and have gone 7-3 in their last ten. The Orioles look to be well on their way to their first AL East Division title since 2014. Last Week’s Rank: 2nd

#1. Atlanta Braves 93-49 (+150/+300) - The Braves became the first MLB team to clinch a playoff spot with their win on Sunday. Complacency may be the team’s only enemy down the stretch. Last Week’s Rank: 1st

AL/NL MVP Candidates:

Ohtani can already begin writing his acceptance speech in the AL while Mookie Betts and Ronald Acuna Jr. will battle it out down the stretch for the NL award.

Top-three AL MVP Candidates

#1. Shohei Ohtani (-20,000) - It is all over but the announcement in the American League MVP race. Ohtani can sit the rest of the way and he will still take home this award. Hopefully, you were able to jump in when the odds were manageable. Last Week’s Rank: 1st

Top-three NL MVP Candidates *It is down to a two-horse race for the NL MVP. As great as Freddie Freeman has been, he will fall a distant third to these two.

#1. Ronald Acuna Jr. (-700) - If you were smart enough to jump on the Acuna for MVP wagon two weeks ago when we kept him at #1 despite the odds flipping, you will be getting a very good cashout. Betts’ injury likely seals the deal for Acuna as the 2023 NL MVP. Last Week’s Rank: 1st

#2. Mookie Betts (+450) - If you are someone who loves a long shot, Betts is your man with three weeks left. It will take a torrid finish for Betts to catch Acuna, however. Last Week’s Rank: 2nd

Top-three AL Cy Young Candidates

#1. Gerrit Cole (-1400) - Cole’s odds lowered dramatically this week to win the AL Cy Young Award in a painfully luke warm field. He has had a solid season and has been the most consistent AL starter but this will be one of the more underwhelming Cy Young seasons in several years. Last Week’s Rank: 1st

#2. Kevin Gausman (+6000) - A dominant start this week moves Gausman ahead of Castillo in our rankings but both an also-ran to Cole at this point. Last Week’s Rank: 3rd

#3. Luis Castillo (+1000) - The ace of an extremely young Mariners’ staff failed to distinguish himself recently and has fallen off the pace to catch Cole for this award. Last Week’s Rank: 2nd

Top-three NL Cy Young Candidates

#1. Blake Snell (-220) - Snell had another solid week and put a bit more distance between himself and the hard-charging Steele. Last Week’s Rank: 1st

#2. Justin Steele (+150) - Steele had yet another quality start this week against the Diamondbacks and lowered his odds. A dominating close could push him past Snell. Last Week’s Rank: Unranked

#3. Zac Gallen (+800) - Gallen is finishing strong after a rough middle of the season that nearly pushed him out of the Cy Young race. He likely won’t catch the top two but this has been a breakout year for the Diamondbacks’ starter. Last Week’s Rank: Unranked

*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.