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.
2021 Streamer Record: 38-19
Note: We went back and realized I had missed calculating one streaming win and one loss across the season.
Today’s Starting Pitcher Rankings
- It’s going to be a fantastic game in DC with Max Scherzer and Brandon Woodruff squaring off in the top tier. You don’t want to miss that one.
- Sandy Alcantara and Kevin Gausman each have a pair of tough offenses ahead, though they both have enough talent to succeed regardless of the opponent. Well, Sandy is a little more questionable after his start against the Dodgers, but he should still fare well.
- The second tier is a bit dicey. Yusei Kikuchi leads off as he’s pitching in rhythm and gets a fantastic date with the Rangers. This is nearly a Tier 1 start.
- Tyler Mahle didn’t have his fastball command in his previous outing, making this a bit more concerning than I’d like. However, there’s hesitation with all of the Tier 2 plays today (weird, I know) and I’ll bank on Mahle’s fastball rebound more than the others.
- Zach Eflin and Eduardo Rodriguez seem like safe plays given their opponents, vaulting them above Blake Snell and Aaron Civale, who each present lower floors than you’d like to see given their upside.
- Steven Matz is fresh off a ten-strikeout performance and now gets a field day against Cleveland. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a manager not starting Matz here.
- It’s not comfortable starting Zack Greinke against the Padres, but with his track record, it’s a play that you’ll be making if he’s on your roster.
- The third tier is small for Sunday. Cole Irvin leads the way as he’s acted as a Toby through the season, while Kwang Hyun Kim gets a spot as he has one of his easier matchups of the year…maybe. The Diamondbacks have performed better against lefties this season.
- Tarik Skubal gets the streaming pick of the day as the Yankee offense has floundered as of late + Skubal is leaning more on his slider as of late. I’ve given it the “hesitant” yellow tag, but he presents the highest ceiling on the waiver wire.
- In the final tier, Brad Keller sits at the top as someone who could have his fastball/slider combo working and excel despite the Twins matchup. It’s too risky to place him in tier three, but he’s a solid deep option.
- I’m sorry Kyle Freeland, I just don’t think you’re in a good enough place yet for me to trust you, even if you get to square off against the Pirates.
Tomorrow’s Starting Pitcher Rankings
- Monitor these expected starters for Memorial Day as many could be changing last minute.
- With the way that Carlos Rodon has pitched lately, he’s earned the #3 spot of the day. That heater just keeps adding velocity as he sat over 96 mph with his four-seamer last start. Unreal.
- It’s a small tier two with the hot Rich Hill leading the way. He’s earning a remarkable amount of whiffs with his sub 90 mph four-seamer and took down the Yankees recently. He can do the same again.
- James Kapriellian has upgraded from streamer status after his date with the Mariners last week and he gets to do so again. I’m starting him and figuring out what to do with him after.
- The streaming pick of the day falls to Merrill Kelly as he gets the replaceMets. He’s been on a roll against the Dodgers and Giants and now gets his most favorable matchup.
- Jameson Taillon gets a solid matchup, though he hasn’t had his curveball and slider as of late. Here’s to hoping he gets back on track against the volatile Rays squad.
- It’s a Cherry Bomb situation for both Andrew Heaney and Mike Minor, with Minor getting the nod for the easier matchup despite not having his spring velocity. Heaney is in a dangerous situation, facing a San Francisco lineup that feasts on left-handers. Proceed with caution.
- Wade Miley isn’t going to make many bump their fist in the air, but he’s displayed an ability to provide value and can do so against a middling Phillies offense.
- There are so many arms getting poor matchups or are simply not worth your time. The closest to the third tier is Johnny Cueto, who has produced as a Toby at times throughout the year. It’s unclear if he’ll be able to show up against the Angels, though, making the ceiling not worth risking the floor.
- Triston McKenzie returned and excelled against the Tigers, but the White Sox are plenty tougher and will likely give McKenzie trouble.
- Jose Urquidy is returning from his IL stint and is being served a dish of Red Sox sluggers. I’d avoid this.
- I wonder if this is the start that Logan Gilbert begins to figure out his secondary stuff and blossom in the arm we envisioned before his MLB debut. It’s best for us to watch from afar until he reaches that point.
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