Starting 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 81-68 (+650/+1400) - The Phillies are a popular pick to go deep in the NL playoffs again this year. Be wary of the struggles of Wheeler and Nola before you pencil in the Phillies to return to the World Series. Last Week’s Rank: 9th

#8 Minnesota Twins 79-71 (+750/+1900) - The Twins return to the Starting Nine as they close in on the AL Central Division crown. They’ll host the third wildcard on Wildcard weekend and have the pitching to dominate a short series. Last Week’s Rank: Unranked

#7. Toronto Blue Jays 83-67 (+900/+1900) - The Jays surged ahead of both the Mariners and Rangers this week in the AL Wildcard race. If they can hang on and get in, the Jays will be a dangerous team with a solid rotation, sluggers throughout the lineup, and a dominant backend of the bullpen. Last Week’s Rank: 7th

#6. Houston Astros 84-66 (+225/+500) - Houston lost two of three in KC this weekend and blew a golden opportunity to pull away from Seattle and Texas, who were both swept this weekend. They are still the likely AL West Champion. Last Week’s Rank: 5th

#5. Milwaukee Brewers 84-65 (+900/+2000) - The Brewers are likely playing on Wildcard Weekend but are perfectly constructed to win a short series with the 1-2-3 punch of Burnes, Woodruff, and Peralta in the rotation. Last Week’s Rank: 6th

#4. Los Angeles Dodgers 91-57 (+200/+450) - The Dodgers are 7-3 in their last ten games and clinched the NL West yet again. The uncertainty surrounding Urias certainly will impact their playoff picture. Last Week’s Rank: 4th

#3. Tampa Bay Rays 92-59 (+425/+900) - The Rays took the first two games of their series in Baltimore but dropped the final two almost guaranteeing that they’ll have to settle for a wildcard spot. Last Week’s Rank: 3rd

#2. Baltimore Orioles 93-56 (+330/+750) - The Orioles regrouped over the weekend to take the final two games against the Rays and earn a split. They have a three-game lead in the loss column over Tampa with 13 to go. Last Week’s Rank: 2nd

#1. Atlanta Braves 96-53 (+150/+310) - The Braves get back Kyle Wright on Monday night to add to baseball’s best team. They appear deeper and even more equipped to navigate the NL playoffs this season. 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) - Ohtani has been shut down for the season but he is still your AL MVP. He is baseball’s best player and will soon be baseball’s highest-paid player this offseason. 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. (-600) - Acuna’s odds dropped a bit this week but he’s still the heavy favorite to take home this award with his record-setting combination of speed and power this season. Last Week’s Rank: 1st

#2. Mookie Betts (+300) - It would take a torrid final two weeks for Betts to catch Acuna at this point but that isn’t going to happen. The Dodgers have already clinched the NL West Division title and are going to get a bye into the Divisional round. Without much to play for, they will certainly be judicial with Betts’ playing time. Last Week’s Rank: 2nd

Top-three AL Cy Young Candidates

#1. Gerrit Cole (-1800) - Cole’s 6.3 WAR is head and shoulders above the field in the American League Cy Young candidates. With three starts left, Cole would have to be battered in at least two of them to lose this award. Last Week’s Rank: 1st

#2. Luis Castillo (+1100) - Castillo has surpassed Gausman as the only viable candidate behind Cole in the AL. He’s a distant second, however, and he’d have to dominate his final few starts and Cole would have to fall flat. Last Week’s Rank: 3rd

Top-three NL Cy Young Candidates

#1. Blake Snell (-750) - Snell is pulling away in what has become a two-horse race in the NL. He is tops in the NL in WAR and ERA and is in the top five in K/9, strikeouts, wins, and quality starts. Last Week’s Rank: 1st

#2. Justin Steele (+550) - Steele may have come to the party too late to catch Snell at this point. Still, he has had a breakout season ranking in the top five in wins, ERA, quality starts, and WHIP. Last Week’s Rank: 2nd

*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.