With the 2021 season, I’m changing how I’m doing my Starting Pitcher Matchup Rankings & Streaming picks.
Instead of being featured in the SP Roundup, I’ll be highlighting my pick for today and tomorrow inside this article, while also introducing four tiers and adding notes to each table.
The four tiers are as follows:
Auto-Start – Just do it. Don’t overthink this, start the man.
Probably Start – I’m likely starting these arms, though I recognize there is more risk than we’d like there to be. Either it’s a tough matchup for a good pitcher or a weak lineup for a volatile arm.
Questionable Start – There are situations where I’d take the chance, either with strong enough upside on the ability side, or a poor offense that a pitcher could take advantage of.
Do Not Start – The reward is not worth the risk. Don’t do it.
Obviously, there will be circumstances where pitchers should move between teams for your situation specifically and these new tiers should act as a little more help than the straight table from last year.
Please keep in mind that streaming is far from a perfect play. In fact, if they work out over half the time, I’d consider it a success. These matchup rankings & streamer picks are going to be wildly different than the actual results through the year, so please, have sympathy before the scathing comments and tweets. I’m only trying to help!
Make sure to read the notes if you’re wondering why I’m favoring certain pitchers over others – I won’t get to everyone and hopefully I answer what questions you will have.
There is a second table for tomorrow’s starting pitcher matchups as well, helping everyone get a jump on their nightly pickups. Please note that these matchups are subject to change, though, and there will be times when I have the incorrect pitcher going. I thank you for your future understanding.
Finally, I have highlighted in Yellow my streaming pick of the day. These are defined as “rostered in 20% or fewer leagues,” which really emphasizes the point that I’d be happy if over 50% of these worked. I could do the whole sub 30/40% rostered, but there’s no fun in that. You can use the rankings to realize who would be those picks, instead.
Today’s Starting Pitcher Rankings
- With Red Sox & Orioles raining out on Thursday, John Means and Nathan Eovaldi are pitching today. I’m a fan of Eovaldi’s matchup, but Means will likely take a few weeks before becoming the pitcher we envision.
- The Auto-Starts are pretty clear, you drafted Blake Snell, Trevor Bauer, and Pablo Lopez for a reason.
- I’m a little more cautious with Jesus Luzardo against the strong Houston offense, but in most cases, I’d have few problems with it. I heavily debated putting him in the tier above.
- Yusei Kikuchi suddenly got the #2 spot in the Mariners rotation, meaning he now has a lovely matchup against the Giants (even if their right-handed bats took advantage of southpaw Marco Gonzales on Thursday). I’m a fan of his increased velocity and improved secondaries, helping secure the clear streamer pick of the day.
- Andrew Heaney is known for his inconsistencies and a matchup against the White Sox is terrifying.
- I question is Cristian Javier has the stamina to survive past five frames effectively, while Oakland bats could give him some trouble. I’d pass.
- Lastly, Johnny Cueto gets a decent matchup against Seattle, but it doesn’t really matter. The reward is too small to put yourself in harms way.
|Do Not Start|
Tomorrow’s Starting Pitcher Rankings
- The auto-starts are pretty straightforward, as usual. I wouldn’t be concerned with Zack Wheeler against the Braves, nor Charlie Morton on the other side – they should both be able to comfortably toss six frames.
- I am excited to watch Joe Musgrove get the ball for the Padres, though it’s hard not to be slightly worried after the D-backs put up seven runs on opening day. Still, don’t overthink it.
- We’re hoping that the Mets and Nationals are able to begin their seasons on Saturday, though this may change. Monitor the news here.
- I went back-and-forth during the livestream about the order of this one and settled on Mike Minor first. He’s the only one with both the high expected volume and a weak lineup ahead of him. Surprisingly, he’s rostered in exactly 20% of leagues, making him my Streaming Pick of the Day. Webb and Houck are the two backup options.
- It was really close with Corey Kluber and Logan Webb. I leaned Kluber in the end given a slightly higher floor as we simply haven’t seen Webb perform at a high level during the regular season yet. Regardless, start both.
- I can’t help but wonder if Tyler Mahle will be allowed to truck through more than five frames as he doesn’t have a long track record of going deep into games.
- I’m a fan of Tanner Houck getting the ball against the Orioles, though I pushed him into the third tier as I’m not sure he’ll be allowed to go a full five. Let’s hope he does and carves up the O’s with that filthy slider.
- Elieser Hernandez’s strikeout upside alone makes him a viable start on Saturday, though the Rays offense may be able to take advantage of a shallow repertoire. Don’t underestimate the low floor here.
- Let’s be honest. We’re all relieved that I didn’t have to force a Jake Arrieta streaming pick today. The Pirates jumped on Hendricks and they could do the same to a post-prime Arrieta.
- There has been a decent amount of hype around Chris Flexen and I could see a scenario where someone would stream Flexen, but there’s too much haze at the moment and I’ve slotted him as the best play in the worst tier.
- I’m not saying that Caleb Smith is a “Do not start” all year, but there’s no reason to put yourself in a dangerous situation against the Padres. Let’s hope he’s sitting 92+ mph on that heater for future games.
- And I’m just going to throw it out there – I wouldn’t be shocked if Matt Harvey was streaming viable at some point this year. There. I said it.
|3||Zach Plesac||@ DET|
|4||Walker Buehler||@ COL|
|5||Lance Lynn||@ LAA|
|6||Zack Wheeler||vs. ATL|
|7||Corbin Burnes||vs. MIN|
|8||Charlie Morton||@ PHI|
|9||Lance McCullers Jr.||@ OAK|
|10||Jose Berrios||@ MIL|
|11||Joe Musgrove||vs. ARI|
|12||Mike Minor||vs. TEX|
|13||Tyler Mahle||vs. STL|
|14||Corey Kluber||vs. TOR|
|15||Logan Webb||@ SEA|
|16||Tanner Houck||vs. BAL|
|17||Elieser Hernandez||vs. TB|
|18||Jake Arrieta||vs. PIT|
|19||Chris Flexen||vs. SF|
|20||Rich Hill||@ MIA|
|21||Adam Wainwright||@ CIN|
|22||Julio Teheran||vs. CLE|
|Do Not Start|
|23||Cole Irvin||vs. HOU|
|24||Ross Stripling||@ NYY|
|25||Kohei Arihara||@ KC|
|26||Alex Cobb||vs. CHW|
|27||Caleb Smith||@ SD|
|28||Tyler Anderson||@ CHC|
|29||Jon Gray||vs. LAD|
|30||Matt Harvey||@ BOS|
Photo by Leslie Plaza Johnson/Icon Sportswire | Design by Quincey Dong (@threerundong on Twitter)