Starting Nine (Week of June 4th)

June is upon us in MLB and teams are starting to maneuver their rosters and consider whether they will be buyers or sellers in July. Let’s take a look at our latest Starting Nine.

Starting Nine (Week of June 4th)

#9. Milwaukee 32-27 (+900/+2200) - The Brewers closed the weekend with their third straight win and remain atop the NL Central Division. Last Week’s Rank: 8th

#8. Arizona Diamondbacks 35-25 (+1900/+4500) - The D-Backs make their first appearance in the Starting Nine despite losing on Sunday to the Braves. They are tied with the Dodgers for the lead in the NL West and have as good a one-two combo as any team with Gallen and Merrill Kelly. Last Week’s Rank: Unranked

#7. New York Yankees 36-25 (+500/+950) - For the second straight weekend, the Yankees have taken two out of three from a team from the NL West. Giancarlo Stanton’s return bolsters the middle of the Yankees' order. Last Week’s Rank: 7th

#6. Los Angeles Dodgers 35-25 (+250/+550) - The Dodgers dropped two of three to the Yankees over the weekend but are still in a prime position in the NL West as they wait for the health of their starting rotation Last Week’s Rank: 4th

#5. Houston Astros 35-24 (+340/+650) - The Astros are back in the thick of the AL playoff picture and have shown improvement at home lately which is bad news for the rest of the American League. Last Week’s Rank: 7th

#4. Baltimore Orioles 37-22 (+1800/+4,000) - The Orioles are still 15 games over .500 on the season and have the third-best record in baseball. Why doesn’t if feel that way lately? Last Week’s Rank:3rd

#3. Atlanta Braves 35-24 (+210/+425) - The Braves keep finding ways to win, even with various starting pitchers keeping them afloat. Sunday’s win over Zac Gallen and the Diamondbacks perfectly exemplifies this team’s resiliency. Last Week’s Rank: 5th

#2. Texas Rangers 38-20 (+700/+1600) - Texas keeps rolling along with baseball’s most potent offense and a pitching staff that continues to defy the critics despite the absence of Jacob deGrom. Last Week’s Rank: 2nd

#1. Tampa Bay Rays 42-19 (+290/+600) - Tampa continues to pace the AL East and all of baseball despite a depleted starting staff and bullpen. They have looked a bit more vulnerable recently and have been passed by Texas in run differential. 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 (+500) - Judge continues to pace a Yankees’ team that is moving up the rankings in the AL. He leads the AL in slugging and OBP as well as second in WAR. Last Week’s Rank: 1st

#2. Shohei Ohtani (-145) - Ohtani had a big week and is now up to 15 home runs and is second in the AL in total bases. All this and his quality numbers on the mound. Last Week’s Rank: 3rd

#3. Bo Bichette (+3500) - Bichette continues to remain a quiet MVP candidate with stellar numbers. He leads the AL in hits, hitting, and is in the top five in total bases, slugging percentage, and WAR. Last Week’s Rank: 2nd

#4. Yordan Alvarez (+2000) - Alvarez is first in the AL in RBI and second in home runs for the defending World Series champions as they continue to rise in the standings. Expect his odds to improve as the weeks go by. Last Week’s Rank: 5th

#5. Mike Trout (+2500) - Trout’s MVP campaign will likely hinge on whether or not Ohtani drops off at all. If Ohtani keeps up his pace, he will keep Trout out of the mix. Last Week’s Rank: 3rd

Top-five NL MVP Candidates

#1. Ronald Acuna Jr. (+110) - The Braves’ offense goes as Acuna goes this season and he has yet to disappoint. The NL leader in WAR has 12 home runs and 26 stolen bases as he makes a bid for a 40/40 season. Last Week’s Rank: 1st

#2. Freddie Freeman (+600) - Freeman’s rise has been fast and furious as he now has the second-best MVP odds in the National League. He is second in the NL in batting and first in total bases. Last Week’s Rank: 2nd

#3. Luis Arreaz (+7500) - Arreaz is hitting .391 and looks to be one of the first major beneficiaries from the removal of the shift. He has also given a poor-hitting Marlins lineup life and will remain in the MVP conversation as long as he is hitting near .400. Last Week’s Rank: Unranked

#4. Pete Alonso (+1400) - Alonso is tops in the NL in home runs and RBI thus far and is the monster in the middle of a Mets lineup desperate for power. Last Week’s Rank: 4th

#5. Fernando Tatis Jr. (+2500) - Tatis’ odds went up slightly this week but his production remains strong. He remains a solid long-shot bet with the Padres due to make a push to the top by the season’s second half. Last Week’s Rank: 5th

Top-three AL Cy Young Candidates

#1. Shane McClanahan (+350) - McClanahan lost his first game but remains 8-1 with the best ERA in the AL on the best team with 8 quality starts in his first 12. Last Week’s Rank: 3rd

#2. Joe Ryan (+1400) - Ryan lost two tough starts this week to drop a spot but remains the ace of the first-place Twins. He is still top five in WAR, WHIP, and innings pitched in the AL. Last Week’s Rank: 1st

#3. Framber Valdez (+800) - Valdez has taken over from Justin Verlander as the ace of the Astros staff in 2023. He leads the AL in quality starts and is top five in innings, strikeouts, WAR, and WHIP. Last Week’s Rank: Unranked

Top-three NL Cy Young Candidates

#1. Spencer Strider (+190) - Strider’s odds dropped again this week in the Cy Young race in the NL. He is tops in the NL in strikeouts and K/9 and top five in WHIP. Last Week’s Rank: 1st

#2. Zac Gallen (+240) - Gallen labored a bit against the Braves yesterday but still left the game with a 5-3 lead. He is in the top five in innings, wins, and top ten in WHIP and strikeouts in the NL. Last Week’s Rank: 2nd

#3. Marcus Stroman (+4500) - Stroman makes his first appearance in the Starting Nine Cy Young rankings thanks to a stellar start that has him in the top five in WAR, innings, WHIP, and ERA. Last Week’s Rank: Unranked

*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.