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: 42-33
Today’s Starting Pitcher Rankings
- Look at how far Shohei Ohtani has come, earning the #3 spot as he has been granted the gift of the Tigers for a day. His velocity is down, though I believe it’s by design as he doesnt’ go max-effort and has lowered his walk numbers across his last five starts.
- Marcus Stroman earns the #4 spot as he’s been a steady arm for managers everywhere through the year. The Cubs are decent, but not scary enough to avoid.
- In the second tier, I’m leading off with Charlie Morton, even if he disappointed all of us against the Marlins. He still has his curveball and heater intact, though, and should rebound against the Cardinals.
- Rich Hill hasn’t had the pitch counts we want as of late, but he gets the Mariners. This should be well worth your time.
- It’ll be a fun matchup watching Dylan Cease and Jose Urquidy duke it out and I’m leaning on Cease to return the more productive outing, despite the tougher matchup. His slider has been excellent and all it will take is one of his changeup, four-seamer, or curveball to tip the scales in his favor.
- While Kyle Hendricks hasn’t been the sexiest of arms as of late (roughly a 4.00 ERA and 16% strikeout rate across his last four starts), he’s a solid play against the middling Mets.
- The third tier is a small one and begins with German Marquez as he hosts Milwaukee. On the road? I’m game, but in Coors, Marquez is fresh off a diaster against the Reds (on the road, FWIW) and could stumble again.
- Wade Miley has been a rock for those fortunate to pick him up, though San Diego could shatter his foundation. That offense is no joke.
- In the final tier, I’m forced to make Justin Dunn my streaming pick of the day and I’ve given him the abhorred RED label as I’d avoid this one completely. He was shaky in his Still ILL last week and I would look to future days for my weekly streaming plays.
- I’m excited to watch Matt Manning make his MLB debut after we’ve been talking about him for what seems like years. I’m all for picking him up, but I’d leave him on the bench as we hope for the best. We just don’t know what we’re going to get and Manning hasn’t been the sharpest through the minors this season.
- And look at that, Zac Gallen is returning! He tossed a 45-pitch simulation game instead of a full rehab stint, so don’t expect him to go long in this one. I’d bench and hold.
Tomorrow’s Starting Pitcher Rankings
- The top tier kicks off with Trevor Bauer as he faces the Sneks. While his spin rates have dropped and led to worse outcomes on his four-seamer, he’s still an ace and faces a weak offense.
- Look at Robbie Ray and Carlos Rodón earning the #2/#3 spots today, despite matching up against two teams who perform exceptionally well against southpaws. Ignore the matchup and start them both.
- There’s some concern about Corbin Burnes heading into Coors as he’s trending in the wrong direction, especially with his drops in spin rates. It’s a dangerous situation, but it feels wrong sitting Burnes here.
- Yusei Kikuchi has earned a place in the top tier as he faces the Rays following a string of excellent performances as he pitches deep into games. Let the man eat.
- Tier 2 contains just one pitcher for Friday – Chris Paddack. He looked as good as I’ve seen him all season in his previous start, sitting just under 97 mph with changeups located down in the zone. The bad news here is the at-times explosive Reds offense, but I’d take the gamble with Paddack.
- The third tier is always where it gets dicey, and there’s a hard choice to be made with Luis Garcia, who wasn’t able to put it together last time out and now faces an elite offense in the White Sox. His slider and cutter mixed with a heater that can get whiffs is a wonderful thing when it works, we just don’t know if he can both rebound and nullify Chicago’s strong crew.
- The streaming pick of the day is Alex Cobb, who gets the yellow highlight as he sits in the third tier (green = tier 2, red = Tier 4. It’s how I’m doing it moving forward). Cobb didn’t have “The Thing” in his last start, but gets the Tigers now. Let’s hope it returns.
- Zach Davies is an interesting choice as he faces the Marlins but there is little margin for error as there is little in his repertoire save for his changeup. Let’s hope the slow ball can dominate.
- Nick Pivetta and Vince Velasquez can be considered for those needing strikeouts over the weekend, though I wouldn’t have any faith in productive ratios, even with their decent matchups.
- Yes, I prefer James Kaprielian over Jameson Taillon in the OAK vs. NYY matchup. Kap has been a little more consistent with his stuff while Taillon is still struggling to nail down his approach with curveballs and sliders.
- In the final tier, I can understand those chasing a QS to consider Carlos Martinez or José Ureña as they have a history of going far into games. It’s too risky for normal situations, though.
- Lastly, Michael Wacha gets a great matchup, but I don’t trust him to get many pitches as he hasn’t been fully stretched out yet. This isn’t the play you’re looking for.
Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire | Design by Quincey Dong (@threerundong on Twitter)