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: 39-20
Note: We went back and realized I had missed calculating one streaming win and one loss across the season.
Today’s Starting Pitcher Rankings
- I’m considering shifting my philosophy for these four tiers moving forward. If I can say “if he’s on my team, I’m definitely starting him”, then they are in Tier #1. That’s why you’re seeing Robbie Ray, Chris Bassitt, and Dylan Cease in the top tier.
- For the second tier, I’m asking “Do I want to start them but they come with a touch of hesitation?” – that leads to Sandy Alcantara moving to Tier 2 as the Jays are no joke, as Buffalo is still a hitter’s park, even if it’s not Dunedin.
- Domingo German is a solid start against the Rays, but Tampa Bay has shown some life and Domingo doesn’t always have his curveball and changeup working.
- Meanwhile, I love the matchup for Michael Pineda, but there is a sense that his ability to generate outs with just his fastball and slider will inevitably fade.
- Brady Singer and Matthew Boyd close out the second tier as they’ve both been given great opportunities to succeed as they face the Tigers and Brewers. I don’t love either long term – Singer doesn’t have quite enough in his repertoire outside of a sinker + slider, while Boyd is still struggling to get slider whiffs – but they should help on Tuesday.
- I considered Andrew Heaney for the second tier, but the Giants offense is plenty better against left-handers, making this a volatile play – that’s what the third tier has become “the volatility tier”. I can imagine situations where I’d take the chance with guys here, but it’s more nuanced league-by-league.
- With that in mind, it’s unclear if you’re safe to start German Marquez as he hosts the Rangers in Coors. On one hand, German has displayed a good slider and curveball throughout the season + Texas is far from a strong offense. On the other, it’s Coors, where nightmares can become reality.
- Stephen Strasburg is in a tough spot as he’s sitting just 91.8 mph on his four-seamer. If he had an easy matchup, I’d feel a bit better he can rely on his curveball and hope his changeup takes shape, but against Atlanta? I’d be cautious if I could.
- I know Luis Garcia has been performing well, but the Red Sox are swatting pitches with ease and make for a difficult time at the park.
- It’s no fun to type this, but it looks like Eric Lauer is the streaming pick of the day as he faces the Tigers. I wouldn’t take this chance, especially early in the week. There will be better options.
- In the final tier, Marco Gonzales is returning from the IL in a clear Still ILL situation. There’s a chance is does work, but you’re better off playing it safe.
- I really hope Garrett Richards is able to find his slider against Houston. If the breaker isn’t there (as it hasn’t been for a couple weeks), this could get ugly.
Tomorrow’s Starting Pitcher Rankings
- After making it a point to add more arms to the top tier, here we have just two pitchers for Wednesday. Walker Buehler and Lance Lynn are clear starts and there isn’t much more to add here. Start them. Duh.
- You could have a case that Alek Manoah is an auto-start as well as he faces the Marlins, though it feels strange to elevate him after just one start in the majors. We just don’t know if he can perform at a high level with consistency.
- Pablo Lopez is on the opposite side of Manoah, and like Sandy Alcantara, it’ll be a tough evening against the Jays. If you have him, you’re starting him, and let’s wish him luck
- It’s great to see Sean Manaea carrying 92+ mph velocity with changeups and curveballs working in his favor. Start him with confidence against the mediocre Mariners squad.
- It’ll be a fun matchup between Shane McClanahan and Jordan Montgomery, two southpaws with high CSW marks, yet get there with dramatically different stuff. I think both should perform well enough to benefit your teams, though Shane is in a better place to justify the higher ranking.
- Leading off the third tier is Madison Bumgarner, whose command has been shaky the last few outings. Still, his fastball velocity is still elevated and this start may pay dividends against the Mets if he’s able to calibrate.
- The streaming pick of the day is Randy Dobnak as he faces the Orioles. I’m not in love with this one as Dobnak sputtered against the middling Royals lineup last time out, but he has the best mix of floor and ceiling out of the options available. Let’s hope the slide piece is there and BABIP is in his favor.
- We’re all falling for Adbert Alzolay these days, though he gets a legit challenge against the Padres. It’s a tough call and I’d start him if I needed to pad my strikeout totals at the cost of possibly damaging ERA and WHIP.
- In the final tier, I don’t believe Dinelson Lamet will get enough innings to make the start worthwhile. It’s sad, really, and I look forward to future days where Lamet can throw 90+ pitches again.
- David Peterson may be considered a decent streaming option, though he failed to come through against the Diamondbacks a few weeks back, as the crew performs better against left-handers. It’s not for me.
Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire | Design by Quincey Dong (@threerundong on Twitter)