SP Matchups & Streamer Rankings – 5/1 & 5/2

Nick Pollack ranks every SP matchup for today and tomorrow.

With the 2021 season, I’m changing how I’m doing my starting pitcher streamers and daily matchup rankings

Instead of being featured in the SP Roundup, I’ll be highlighting my SP streamer picks 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 Green my streaming pick of the day – Yellow if I wouldn’t actually want to stream them (I have to pick one every 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

 

  • It’s ace day tomorrow and even with Lance Lynn missing a start, he’s a clear start against the weak Cleveland lineup. Don’t overthink this.
  • Despite his struggles this season, Jesus Luzardo should be trusted against the Orioles. His stuff has always been good and we saw an improvement last time out. Starts like this one against Baltimore could be steps on the journey toward earning your trust.

 

  • I have Blake Snell lower in the ranks than you’d imagine based on the Giants’ ability to demolish southpaws. He’s still a start, but this likely won’t be as smooth of a ride as you’d like
  • Dustin May has earned his keep with his new whiff-friendly curveball and should be able to carve up the Brewers’ bats.

 

  • It’s a short tier two with Danny Duffy taking a spot despite a difficult Minnesota squad in his way. He’s pitching too well to stop him now.
  • I’m hoping Jameson Taillon can take full advantage of a date with the Tigers after surrounding 4 ER against Cleveland. Look for his breakers to take more of a role in this one down in the zone as a weapon to earn whiffs.

 

  • In the third tier, it’s hard to argue against Griffin Canning being the streaming pick of the day. His slider struggled last time against the Astros, but the Mariners should give him an opportunity to get comfortable on the bump and find the pitch.
  • Proceed with caution when considering Triston McKenzie against the White Sox. I believe in the long-term success of McKenzie, but he doesn’t quite have his breaking ball command at the moment. Maybe he discovers it here, allowing his four-seamers to flourish, or maybe Chicago has its way.

 

  • I know, you’ve been burned plenty by Patrick Corbin so far this year, but the Marlins lineup is hurting right now and Corbin is at a place where he’s one tweak away from getting back on track. I’m leaning start here.
  • I want to be more excited about Spencer Turnbull‘s return this season, but against the Yankees? He’ll have to be on the top of his game with sliders and four-seamers in order to succeed.

 

  • I can’t ignore that Trevor Cahill is on a roll right now and the Cardinals are far from the scariest offenses out there. There’s a chance this one works.
  • There’s also a chance for Anthony DeSclafanibut the Padres are no joke and I’d rather favor Cahill’s matchup over Tony Disco’s.

 

  • It’s weird seeing Matt Harvey near the top of any tier, I know. He did showcase a better slider last time against the Yankees, though, and maybe that holds against the Athletics.
  • I have Paul Campbell above the final spot as I’d prefer to take him as a “mystery box” over the very likely chance of fantasy irrelevance from the three below him.

 

Tomorrow’s Starting Pitchers


Tomorrow’s Starting Pitcher Rankings

 

  • It’s unclear if Corbin Burnes is starting tomorrow after being placed on the “COVID-IL” but if he is, I’m still ranking him third. Sure, we don’t know if he’ll be at the top of his and how the vaccine affected him, but it’s hard to argue against it. Y’all know Burnes has been legit.
  • It’s weird seeing Trevor Rogers sit at #5, but I’m not afraid of the Nationals offense and I can see some question marks with those behind him. That’s going to be such a fun start against Max Scherzer.

 

  • I’ve demoted Ian Anderson to Tier 2 not because of his skill set, but because the Jays are a legit Tier 1 offense with George Springer returning to the lineup. Be wary.
  • Sean Manaea is throwing harder and now getting whiffs on his secondaries. Paired with a start against Baltimore, this is a no-brainer, even contending for an Auto-Start.

 

  • It’s wonderful to see Zach Plesac get back on track but he’s getting tested quickly as he has another chance for redemption against the ChiSox – the team that’s roughed him twice this season already. It’s hard to let Plesac fly but give him a chance. He’s improved.
  • Corey Kluber finally got whiffs on cutters and breakers last time out and he should be able to take advantage of the lowly Tigers.

 

  • Is Dinelson Lamet actually starting tomorrow? If he is, I’d throw him out there without regarding Still ILL as the Giants are plenty worse against right-handers than southpaws. I just hope he can survive the outing.
  • Zach Eflin is a massive head-scratcher but with the way the Mets are hitting and Eflin’s upside, you’ll be hard-pressed to force yourself to bench him.

 

  • Garrett Richards is in a groove and now gets the Rangers. This should work but I can’t ignore his history of relapses. I hope he can pull through and not ruin our Sundays as I make him the streaming pick of the day.
  • I haven’t been too thrilled about Carlos Martinez but he does get the Pirates and the rest of the tier either has a poor matchup or a highly questionable skillset.

 

  • While Merrill Kelly does get Rockie RoadI still wonder if his cutter & curveball can be good enough to let him take full advantage. He’s a deep option for those who need to chase a quality start.
  • Bruce Zimmermann gets the same label as Kelly, with a bit better command but a harder situation against Oakland. It’s a close call and I’d avoid both if I didn’t need to chase low ratios or a quality start.

 

  • In the bottom tier is the enigmatic Trevor Williams who can whip out a fantastic start in the blink of an eye if he keeps his breaking balls low and flirts with four-seamers up. He gets the Reds, though, and it makes for a very small margin for error.
  • It seems as though Ross Stripling could be returning from the IL to face Atlanta in a very clear Still ILL scenario. Here’s to hoping he pulls it off, though.

 

Tomorrow’s Starting Pitchers


Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire | Design by Quincey Dong (@threerundong on Twitter)

Nick Pollack

Founder of Pitcher List. Worked with MSG, FanGraphs, CBS Sports, and Washington Post. Former pitching coach and Brandeis alum. Wants every pitcher to be dope.

  • Avatar Sean says:

    ESPN and Baseball HQ both have Musgrove starting tomorrow for SD, you guys have Lamet? Anything you guys know that others dont? FWIW, HQ is yet to have Lamet in their 8-day scan.

  • Check your formatting — your streamer highlight for 5/2 is missing.

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