Starting Nine (Week of May 21st)

Summer is in the air and so will the baseballs very soon as the warm weather leads to some more offensive fireworks. All the major players are taking their place near the top but is there room for some new blood? Here is this week’s Starting Nine:

Starting Nine (Week of May 21st)

Hope to see you back: Minnesota Twins; Welcome Back to the Show: Seattle Mariners

#9. Seattle Mariners 26-22 (+650/+1500) - The Mariners are atop the AL West with one of the best pitching staffs in the league. Imagine this team when Julio Rodriguez heats up. Last Week’s Rank: Unranked``

#8. Milwaukee Brewers 27-20 (+1700/+4000) - The Brewers got some key pieces back last week, most notably Christian Yelich. His presence instantly improves a lineup that has overachieved thus far. Last Week’s Rank: 7th

#7. KC Royals 30-19 (+1800/5000) - Seth Lugo has been the best free-agent signing this side of Shohei Ohtani thus far. Lugo and Ragens give the Royals as good a 1-2 punch as there is in the AL Central. Last Week’s Rank: 8th

#6. Atlanta Braves 27-17 (+225/+400) - Don’t look now but the Braves offense seems to be waking up. They’ll still need to shore up their rotation but that is for a later date. Last Week’s Rank: 5th

#5. Baltimore Orioles 29-16 (+400/+900) - Kyle Bradish’s return has given the rotation more balance. The lineup remains one of the AL’s most dangerous. Last Week’s Rank: 4th

#4. Cleveland Guardians 31-17 (+800/+2000) - Quietly, Triston Mackenzie has improved with each start. Logan Allen has given the Guardians consecutive strong starts and Jose Ramirez is rounding into form. Last Week’s Rank: 6th

#3. New York Yankees 33-16 (+275/+600) - Talk of Aaron Judge’s early struggles is a thing of the past and Juan Soto has begun to float the idea around of a long-term deal. Things are looking up in the Bronx. Last Week’s Rank: 3rd

#2. LA Dodgers 33-17 (+170/+300) - This lineup is relentless. The Dodgers have depth to spare and, if they can keep him healthy, Glasnow can be a legitimate ace in October. Last Week’s Rank: 2nd

#1. Philadelphia Phillies 34-14 (+450/+850) - If you are confident that Ranger Suarez’s start is the real thing, these are pretty good numbers to jump on the Phillies at this point. Last Week’s Rank: 1st

AL/NL Cy Young Candidates:

This week we take our first look at the Cy Young candidates in each league.

American League

  1. Tarik Skubal LHP Detroit Tigers (+175) - Health is the only thing standing in the way of Skubal and a dominant season. He continues to mow down the competition with a perfect 6-0 mark, 1.80 ERA, and a WHIP of just 0.78 while making seven quality starts of nine.

  1. Tanner Houck RHP Boston Red Sox (+2500) - Houck has come out of the gates hot with an ERA of 1.94 and a WHIP of just 0.95. He has struck out 62 batters and has eight quality starts in his first ten.

  1. Seth Lugo RHP Kansas City Royals (+3000) - Lugo has been a revelation for the Royals thus far after signing this winter from San Diego. He has eight quality starts out of ten, is 7-1, and has an ERA of 1.79.

National League

  1. Ranger Suarez LHP Philadelphia Phillies (+550) - Suarez has jumped to the front of the line of a talented Phillies rotation. He is a perfect 8-0 in nine starts thus far. Suarez has an ERA of 1.37 and a WHIP of just 0.76 with seven quality starts already.

  1. Shoto Imanga LHP Chicago Cubs (+400) - Imanga has given the Cubs a true ace this season. He is 5-0 in nine starts including six quality starts. He has an ERA of 0.84 and a WHIP of 0.91 thus far.

  1. Zack Wheeler RHP Philadelphia Phillies (+300) - Wheeler is ranked third but has been the second-best pitcher on his team thus far. Still, the veteran has the track record that both Suarez and Imanga lack. He is 5-3 with an ERA of 2.52 thus far and a solid 0.97 WHIP. Wheeler has 71 strikeouts and seven quality starts in his first ten this season.

*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.