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: 49-38
Today’s Starting Pitcher Rankings
- Despite his rough patch, a spot outside the Top 25 of The List, and a removal of his AGA label, Aaron Nola claims the top spot for Wednesday as he faces the Marlins. He’s fresh off a 12-strikeout game and is situated to continue his redemption tour back into the Top 20 arms.
- Chris Bassitt and Luis Garcia aren’t too familiar with the top tier, but with their cushy dates, you won’t find managers forcing them to ride the bench.
- I placed Max Fried at the bottom of the tier as he returns from a short IL stint. There’s a touch of confusion as to how much Fried will throw, while it also could be an interruption of his rhythm. Still start him, but not as confidently as his Top 25 SP rank would suggest.
- Shohei Ohtani and Joe Musgrove each have a somewhat difficult matchup but are simply too good to sit.
- In the second tier, it’s just one man. I completely grasp hesitation with Dylan Cease as he gets the Twins. He’s fallen a bit out of his slider command as of late and it may linger against a Minnesota lineup who can punish mistakes. The season-long track record is too much to ignore, though.
- There’s an argument that Jon Gray could belong inside the second tier as well, though he’s my reluctant streaming pick of the day and settles in the third tier as he has to face the Pirates in Coors. Keep in mind, his heater was a blistering 96 mph last time out – he was averaging ~94 before his injury.
- Inside that third tier sits Steven Matz, who is returning from a COVID-IL stint and easing back into the role with a matchup against the Mariners. I want to raise him into the second tier, but we just don’t know what to expect.
- Domingo German has been far from the sneaky-good rock we’ve wanted him to be, though the upside is still there to pull off six frames with a collection of strikeouts. The Angels are shockingly good despite missing Trout and enduring a mediocre version of Rendon, making this one of the more volatile starts of the night.
- In the bottom tier, it’s a lot of decent arms with poor matchups or arms I wouldn’t trust at the moment regardless of the opponent. Cal Quantrill isn’t in a good place in his development to trust against the Tigers, for example, nor am I going after David Peterson despite looking decent last time out as he gets Atlanta.
- One of the more intriguing names here is Kwang Hyun Kim, who gets a lackluster Arizona lineup but has seen his pitch counts vary wildly across the last month. Now coming off a short IL stint, we may not see a high pitch count, once again.
Tomorrow’s Starting Pitcher Rankings
- We have more aces on Thursday and Framber Valdez takes the second spot as he could cruise through 6+ frames against Cleveland. Corbin Burnes may fight for the spot, but his RPM drops are a little more concerning and he doesn’t have quite the same leash as Valdez.
- Carlos Rodón is coming off a rough outing and a dip in velocity, I’m obviously still starting him, but I can’t hide that I’m anxious to see how he performs against Minnesota.
- If you didn’t realize, Sean Manaea is sitting 92+ after hovering 90 mph in previous years and it has propelled him toward a breakout 2021 campaign. Hold tight.
- Pablo Lopez jumps into the top tier as he’s been as steady as any arm out there. I still have some longterm concerns as he doesn’t quite have a third pitch to trust when the fastball/changeup combo isn’t enough, but he’s proven to have it plenty more than not.
- In the second tier, Hyun Jin Ryu gets a slight demotion as he faces the Mariners. He simply hasn’t had his changeup nor his cutter this season and while most managers will still be starting him, I felt I had to express my concern for Ryu as I hope he reclaims the ridiculously good slow ball.
- Zach Eflin jumps ahead of a trio of better arms against tough lineups as Eflin was gifted a date with the Marlins. This should work well in your favor.
- In the third tier, Nathan Eovaldi sits atop the pack with a start against the Royals. Despite the mediocre opponent, Eovaldi has proven himself to be a Cherry Bomb – reliant on his inconsistent secondaries to carry him through starts. It’s a coin-flip if they’ll appear or not.
- Merrill Kelly is Thursday’s streaming pick as he faces our backup option, Johnny Cueto, and the San Francisco Giants. Both have the ability to go six frames and strikeout a decent amount, I’m leaning Kelly as he’s performed at a high level a bit more often than Cueto.
- It’s been agonizing to watch the ebb and flow of Jordan Montgomery’s 2021 season and while I adore his changeup and curveball, we’ve yet to see him get into a consistent rhythm start-to-start with the two offerings. Hopefully he can bring it against a dangerous Angels crew.
- The case of Tony Gonsolin is an odd one as he has two aspects working against him: 1) A lack of his elite slider from previous years 2) #Dodgeritis making it unclear how long he’ll be able to go in this outing (he reportedly has some shoulder soreness). It makes for a riskier outing than I’d like for a previously dominant arm.
- The final tier is a short one, but it does contain Ryan Weathers, who is returning to the rotation for the Padres. I’d avoid this one as he heads to the hitter-haven in Cincy, while his upside doesn’t even the scales in our favor.
- Lastly, Kris Bubic sits at the bottom despite having moments of bliss over the last few weeks. His previous outing was a disaster and he isn’t stretched out. He’ll return to higher tiers some time in the future.
Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire | Design by Quincey Dong (@threerundong on Twitter)