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: 50-38
Today’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.
Tomorrow’s Starting Pitcher Rankings
- Yes, I’m still ranking Gerrit Cole atop the rankings despite the spin rates and stuttering performance as of late. His stuff and command are still excellent and look for him to dominate a middling Mets crew.
- Max Scherzer and Zack Wheeler each have their work cut out for them, but their ceilings and 2021 campaigns are just too good to hesitate.
- A start in Seattle for Kyle Gibson looks to be more of the same dominance we’ve seen for the first three months of the year. Let him eat.
- Taijuan Walker gets the bump to the top tier as he faces the Yankees. I can see some asking for a second-tier label, but with the way he’s pitched all year, we’re comfortably slotting him in for Friday’s lineups.
- The second tier features our Gal, Zac Gallen as he faces the Giants once again. He hasn’t had his secondary pitches locked in since coming off the IL and I’ll be watching closely in hopes of their return.
- Despite a major step back in his last outing, I’m still starting Chris Paddack against the decent Phillies offense. Let’s bank on the blip instead of the descension.
- I know, Alex Wood just had a great start and now against the Sneks, you want him in that second tier. Sadly, that game didn’t feature his elite slider, a pitch that’s been on vacation for multiple weeks. I’m worried Wood just doesn’t have enough in the utility belt to make it worth your time.
- Casey Mize has been on a roll, but the tough challenges will continue against the White Sox. I’m holding my breath like the rest of you.
- Oddly enough, Zach Thompson is not the streaming pick of the day as he faces Atlanta – he’s rostered in over 25% of leagues. I’m not sure I’d have picked him up myself as even if he survives this one, the Dodgers loom ahead.
- It forces me to reluctantly select Drew Smyly as the streaming pick with a date against the Marlins. I’d try to avoid this one if I could as Smyly just doesn’t have the elite repertoire he once hinted.
- In the final tier, Adrian Houser gets the Pirates and I’m not sold he can provide value in 12-teamers. His WHIP has been detrimental, he rarely strikes out more than four, and he couldn’t handle Rockie Road last time out. Consider this only in deeper leagues.
- I’m excited to watch Luis Patiño get his chance in the Rays rotation and while he should be stretched out, we just don’t know how the Rays will use him. In concert with enduring an elite Jays offense, it’s best to pick up Patiño and leave him on the bench.
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