Starting Nine (Week of June 12th)

The All-Star game is now just over a month away as the season nears the midway point. Let the jockeying for position begin. Here’s our Starting Nine for this week.

Starting Nine (Week of June 12th)

#9. Toronto 37-30 (+850/+1900) - The Blue Jays took three of four from Houston this weekend before stumbling a bit by losing two of three to the Twins. Still, they have won seven of ten. Last Week’s Rank: Unranked

#8. New York Yankees 38-29 (+650/+1200) - The Yankees lost two of three over the weekend to arch-rival Boston but are still in the thick of the playoff race. Make no mistake about it though, this team DEPENDS on Aaron Judge in the middle of that lineup. He can’t come back fast enough. Last Week’s Rank: 8th

#7. Los Angeles Dodgers 37-29 (+270/+550) - The Dodgers have found rough sledding in the last ten days or so with just a 3-7 record with a banged-up pitching staff. Still, the emergence of rookie pitcher Bobby Miller gives the Dodgers another power arm. Last Week’s Rank: 7th

#6. Houston Astros 37-29 (+400/+750) - The Astros were rolling along heading into this week but lost three of four at Toronto and then two of three to Cleveland. Still, they will be a team to be reckoned with the rest of the way. Last Week’s Rank: 6th

#5. Baltimore Orioles 41-24 (+1500/+3500) - I find myself dismissing the Orioles constantly and yet, they still have the fourth-best record in baseball and now get to test themselves against the Blue Jays again. Last Week’s Rank: 4th

#4. Arizona Diamondbacks 40-25 (+1100/+2500) - Don’t look now but the D-Backs have the fifth-best record in baseball and are on top in the NL West. Not sure if they can hold this up but they have defied the odds thus far. Last Week’s Rank: 8th

#3. Texas Rangers 41-23 (+500/+650) - Texas took a big hit this week and not just because they lost two of three to the Rays. It was announced this week that Jacob deGrom is lost for the next year when it was decided that he needs Tommy John surgery. Will the Rangers try to add more pitching at the deadline? Last Week’s Rank: 2nd

#2. Atlanta Braves 40-25 (+190/+420) - The Braves remain the odds-on favorites for the World Series this year and they continue to find different ways to win. This week, the team featured a taste of the late-inning rally to pick up wins. Last Week’s Rank: 3rd

#1. Tampa Bay Rays 48-20 (+230/+500) - Tampa has gone 8-2 in the last ten games, including two of three from AL West-leading Texas. They remain the most dominant team at home as well with a record of 31-7. Last Week’s Rank: 1st

AL/NL MVP Candidates:

Let’s look at the favorites to win the major awards in MLB as we sit halfway through the Month of May.

Top-five AL MVP Candidates

#1. Aaron Judge (+1000) - Judge’s odds shot up this week but I am keeping him in the top spot because no other team is as dependent as the Yankees are on Judge. His absence is only furthering his value. If he returns quickly and keeps going, these current odds will seem ridiculous. Last Week’s Rank: 1st

#2. Shohei Ohtani (-180) - Ohtani’s offensive numbers are now trumping his early pitching success. He remains the odds-on favorite for the MVP. Last Week’s Rank: 2nd

#3. Yordan Alvarez (+2000) - Like Judge, Alvarez’s value has come through even more so with him out of the lineup. The Astros lineup is far less imposing without his bat in the middle. Last Week’s Rank: 4th

#4. Bo Bichette (+3000) - Bichette’s numbers remain among the best in the AL and his team went 7-3 this week to creep up the standings. Last Week’s Rank: 3rd

#5. Marcus Semien (+1900) - Mike Trout slips out of the top five this week as the Rangers add their first candidate to the mix. Semien is top ten in hits, average and total bases in the American League and coming off the longest hitting streak in baseball this season. He is the leadoff hitter for baseball’s best offense. Last Week’s Rank: Unranked

Top-five NL MVP Candidates

#1. Ronald Acuna Jr. (-105) - The award appears to be Acuna’s to lose at this point as he now has the lowest odds on the board. Acuna has 28 steals and 13 home runs while also batting .330 for the NL’s best team. Last Week’s Rank: 1st

#2. Freddie Freeman (+500) - Freeman is second only to Acuna in WAR and leads the NL in total bases. The former MVP has a chance to win his first with the Dodgers and has solid odds at the moment. Last Week’s Rank: 2nd

#3. Luis Arreaz (+3000) - Arreaz is up to .397 and spent part of this week over .400 and is nearly a lock for the NL batting title this season. If the Marlins remain a contender, he will remain an MVP candidate. Last Week’s Rank: 3rd

#4. Corbin Carroll (+2500) - The odds-on favorite to win the NL Rookie of the Year is also a viable MVP candidate for the first-place D-Backs. Carroll is top ten in total bases, and hits, and is third in WAR. Last Week’s Rank: 4th

#5. Mookie Betts (+1000) - While Betts’ candidacy could be slowed by his own teammate, he is also capable of carrying the Dodgers from the leadoff spot and is the best fielder on this list. Last Week’s Rank: Unranked

Top-three AL Cy Young Candidates

#1. Shane McClanahan (+300) - The AL’s leader in wins is also top ten in quality starts, innings, ERA, and WAR. Last Week’s Rank: 1st

#2. Framber Valdez (+600) - Valdez had a bit of a rough start at Toronto this week but remains top ten in quality starts, innings, strikeouts, WHIP, and WAR. Last Week’s Rank: 3rd

#3. Nathan Eovaldi (+1300) - After appearing to have taken a step back in 2022 with lower velocity and some injuries, Eovaldi looks like the ace of the Rangers staff. He is top ten in ERA, complete games, WHIP, wins, and WAR. Last Week’s Rank: Unranked

Top-three NL Cy Young Candidates

#1. Marcus Stroman (+2200) - Stroman’s odds were cut in half this week as he continues to put together his best season ever in the big leagues. Stroman is tops in WHIP, quality starts, and WAR in the NL. You might not see odds this good for him the rest of the way. Last Week’s Rank: Unranked

#2. Zac Gallen (+300) - Gallen’s ERA has slipped over 3.00 for the season but he is still 7-2 and in the top ten in the NL in quality starts, strikeouts, and innings pitched for the first-place Diamondbacks. Last Week’s Rank: 3rd

#1. Clayton Kershaw (+650) - Perhaps the sentimental favorite to win the award again, Kershaw remains the most steady pitcher in the Dodgers staff and is top ten in the NL in ERA, wins, strikeouts, and WAR. Last Week’s Rank: Unranked

*All odds courtesy of

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.