Starting Nine (Week of May 30th)

With Memorial Day in the rearview mirror, the heat of summer baseball is nearly upon us. Very soon, we will see the separation of the contenders and the pretenders. Let’s take a look at this week’s starting nine in Major League Baseball.

Starting Nine (Week of May 30th)

#9. Minnesota Twins 28-26 (+900/+2000) - The Twins continue to remain in the top nine but, like Milwaukee, remain on top of a mediocre division. The Twins have blown an opportunity to get distance between themselves and the division with their inconsistency. Last Week’s Rank: 9th

#8. Milwaukee 28-26 (+1000/+2500) - The Brewers have benefitted from a weak NL Central thus far despite their own issues, particularly with starting pitching. It will be interesting to see how the Brewers approach the trade deadline this season after last season’s misstep. Last Week’s Rank: 8th

#7. Houston Astros 31-22 (+340/+650) - It is starting to look like it will be a two-team race in the great state of Texas this summer. The Astros are 7-3 in their last ten games and are rounding into form with Altuve back in the lineup. Last Week’s Rank: 7th

#6. New York Yankees 33-23 (+500/+950) - The Yankees took two of three from San Diego over the weekend and have to be enthused by another great outing from Luis Severino. Last Week’s Rank: 6th

#5. Atlanta Braves 32-22 (+210/+425) - The Braves have looked vulnerable as of late without two of their key starting pitchers, going 4-6 in their last ten. The lineup may need to carry the load in the short term. Last Week’s Rank: 2nd

#4. Los Angeles Dodgers 33-22 (+240/+500) - A grueling 10-game road trip ended at 4-6 before returning home on Monday. Rookie pitcher Buddy Miller gave the Dodgers a second straight quality start to kick off the home stand with a win. Last Week’s Rank: 5th

#3. Baltimore Orioles 34-20 (+1600/+4,000) - The Orioles have hit a bit of a rough patch, losing three of four games following Monday’s loss to the Guardians. Can they return to form despite an unspectacular starting five? Last Week’s Rank:3rd

#2. Texas Rangers 34-19 (+850/+1800) - The Rangers took two of three games in Baltimore and continue to get quality pitching across the board to support baseball’s most potent offense. Last Week’s Rank: 5th

#1. Tampa Bay Rays 39-17 (+290/+610) - The Rays took two of three from the Dodgers over the weekend and welcome Tyler Glasnow back to the rotation. 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 (+700) - Judge surpasses Ohtani in our MVP rankings for the first time this season. Judge is tops in the AL in slugging and home runs and the Yankees’ offense is more reliant on his presence than any one player for any other team. Last Week’s Rank: 2nd

#2. Bo Bichette (+3000) - Is it possible to lead baseball in hits over the past three seasons and still be vastly underrated? In Bichette’s case, it is. He is tops in the league in hits, average, total bases, and WAR. If the Blue Jays make a run as I suspect, these odds will seem foolish later on down the line. Last Week’s Rank: Unranked

#3. Shohei Ohtani (-130) - Ohtani is the bookmaker’s darling to win the MVP still but his numbers aren’t quite matching up. He’s top 15 in slugging, home runs and WAR but has yet to put together a dominant stretch at the plate. Last Week’s Rank: 1st

#4. Mike Trout (+1500) - Like Ohtani, Trout has been solid but unspectacular thus far. He remains in our top five because he’s a hot streak away from rising to the top of the heap. Last Week’s Rank: 3rd

#5. Yordan Alvarez (+2200) - Alvarez is top three in slugging, home runs, and RBI. The Astros' rise back to the top of the standings will only help his cause. Last Week’s Rank: 3rd

Top-five NL MVP Candidates

#1. Ronald Acuna Jr. (+100) - Acuna has a legitimate chance at a 40-40 season this year and plays for a team that has title aspirations. He continues as the front-runner for this award. Last Week’s Rank: 1st

#2. Freddie Freeman (+1000) - Freeman is back in the hunt for another MVP award himself as his hot bat has coincided with the Dodgers' rise to the top of the National League West. Last Week’s Rank: Unranked

#3. Bryce Harper (+2000) - The field in the National League beyond Acuna is wide open and Harper has the star power to gain traction in this race. Last Week’s Rank: Unranked

#4. Pete Alonso (+1100) - Alonso leads the NL in all the sexy categories including home runs and RBI and he’s second in slugging for a Mets team that is moving back near the top of the NL East. Last Week’s Rank: 4th

#5. Fernando Tatis Jr. (+2200) - I am confident that the Padres will eventually put things together and, when they do, Tatis will be in the middle of it. He belted two home runs in the Bronx over the weekend, proving once again his love for the spotlight. Last Week’s Rank: 3rd

Top-three AL Cy Young Candidates

#1. Joe Ryan (+1000) - Ryan has taken the third-year leap and looks like a true ace. He is 7-1 and he is top-ten in WHIP, innings, and strikeouts for the first-place Twins. Last Week’s Rank: Unranked

#2. Shohei Ohtani (+600) - Ohtani has been outstanding on the hill this season and is top-ten in innings, quality starts, strikeouts, and K/9. Last Week’s Rank: 2nd

#3. Shane McClanahan (+350) - McClanahan is back in the top three this week after two great starts. He is 8-0 and second in the AL in ERA and quality starts. Last Week’s Rank: Unranked

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.