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
- 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.
Tomorrow’s Starting Pitcher Rankings
- Despite the lower strikeout totals as of late, Walker Buehler still earns the top spot of Saturday’s ranks as he faces the Diamondbacks. It doesn’t get much safer than this start.
- Lance Lynn and Framber Valdez face off in a wonderful matchup of high-volume pitchers and should both be trusted. I’d anticipate a Quality Start from both.
- In the second tier, Chris Bassitt narrowly leads ahead of Alek Manoah, despite the tougher matchup. Bassitt has expressed a higher ceiling this season and has pitched incredibly well across the last two months. I’ll take that just above the solid-but-not-dominant outlook for Manoah.
- Dinelson Lamet’s volume continues to solidify and despite facing the Reds, his quality of inning warrants your attention and trust.
- Saturday’s streaming pick of the day is Patrick Sandoval, who gets a delicious matchup against the Tigers. Detroit struggles against lefties and Sandoval is flexing legit strikeout upside. Let this one fly.
- Logan Gilbert had himself his best outing last time out, showcasing an improved slider and changeup approach that could stick in his start against Tampa. His pitch count has soared past 85 pitches as well, making him capable of a strong performance in Seattle.
- It’s hard not to love what Austin Gomber has been achieving as of late and while he’s forced to pitch in Coors, I’m liking his chances to take down the mediocre Brew Crew.
- Lastly, a backup streaming option would be Joe Ross as he looks to take down the Mets. He’s been surprisingly consistent over the past few weeks and could produce yet another Quality Start.
- In the third tier, Josh Fleming is an intriguing option as he heads to Washington State. While he hasn’t always taken advantage of great matchups (cough Texas cough), there’s hope he can be stretched out a bit and take advantage on Saturday.
- It’s been sink-or-swing with Adam Wainwright this season as we don’t know if he’ll have his cutter working on a given night. Let’s hope it’s there as he gets a difficult matchup in Atlanta.
- At the bottom of the tier, there’s Jon Lester and Drew Smyly. I’m not thrilled with these options, but I recognize they could give you 5-6 frames of production if you’re looking for volume.
- I’m a bit of a fan of Vladimir Gutiérrez but the Padres are scary and the floor is making me lean bench. Still, not a bad desperate play entering the weekend.
- In the bottom tier, the most intriguing option is Wil Crowe, who looked plenty better last time out and gets Cleveland’s stumbling offense. If you’re looking for the sleeper play of the weekend, it may be this.
Photo by Leslie Plaza Johnson/Icon Sportswire | Design by Quincey Dong (@threerundong on Twitter)