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!) – and Red if I really don’t want to start them but have no other choice. 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: 62-45
Today’s Starting Pitcher Rankings
- Lots of fun guys are going on Saturday including Kevin Gausman, who I expect should fully bounce back after his short three-inning outing earlier in the week. Remember, he was on personal leave until the day he started. He’ll be back in rhythm to take down the Pirates.
- I’m not completely sold that Hyun Jin Ryu is completely back, but he took a major step forward last time out, giving me the confidence to let him fly.
- It’s unclear if Sandy Alcántara will start against the Padres as he’s currently on the bereavement list. It’s not easy to jump back into the game + San Diego is a strong team. Proceed with more caution than usual.
- At the bottom of the second tier is Tony Gonsolin, who I heavily debated sliding down into Tier 3. At the end of the day, if I have Gonsolin, I’m starting him as his floor is decently high with a good chance of getting a Win against mediocre Rockie Road.
- In the third tier, I’m leading with Kyle Gibson who has seen a fall from grace after two straight disasters against the Tigers. I’ve called this a Vargas Rule PLUS, meaning Gibson gets two starts instead of one before we start abandoning ship. Now with the Astros ahead and the two poor starts at his back, it’s hard to keep the faith.
- Normally you’d see Taijuan Walker in the second tier at least, but the Jays are an elite offense and Walker could find himself in trouble.
- The streaming pick of the day is Alec Mills against the Diamondbacks. I wouldn’t call myself thrilled for this one and I would feel a bit more comfortable with Merrill Kelly against the Cubs, but he’s at 24% rostered and those are the rules.
- Jameson Taillon has been on a roll after shifting his approach to embrace a wider arsenal of sinkers and breakers. The Red Sox swing a heavy bat, though, and I’d avoid this one where I could.
- At the end of the tier, there’s always a chance Drew Smyly can be effective, but I just don’t like taking that gamble. He did have 12 curveball whiffs last time, for what it’s worth.
- It looks like a tasty matchup against the Royals, but the Tigers have been heavily restricting Casey Mize, capping him around four innings per start. That just isn’t going to cut it.
- And then there’s Ryan Weathers, who is returning from the IL and is expected to throw few pitches against the Marlins. He hasn’t expressed a high ceiling in the past and his low pitch count makes it not worth your time.
Tomorrow’s Starting Pitcher Rankings
- Tier one has little excitement, but the games themselves look great, including Yu Darvish vs. Trevor Rodgers. That should be an absolute blast of an afternoon.
- I know Sonny Gray wasn’t at his best last start, but you have to follow “The Cardinal Rule” and let him fly.
- Alex Wood is back in full form and gets a date with the Pirates, making him the top play of tier two. I was even tempted to vault him into the top tier given his slider whiffs + 92/93 mph velocity last time out.
- I wonder if the Tigers will begin limiting Tarik Skubal tomorrow. I sure hope not and I can’t make these rankings with that assumption.
- I know it hasn’t been great for Aaron Nola as of late, but Atlanta is missing Ronald Acuña and I truly don’t believe Nola is destined to be detrimental for you in the second half. Your trust will be rewarded over the last two months.
- John Means wasn’t at his best when he returned from the IL, but the Nationals aren’t scary enough to hold him back. The odds of a step forward are greater than a catastrophic day.
- In the third tier, we have the battle of the overcast skies with J. Gray facing J. Gray. Josiah Gray is my streaming pick of the day as his stuff was legit in his debut and the damage came on some poorly commanded pitches that should be corrected now that he has his feet under him.
- Meanwhile, Jon Gray has survived the Dodgers in Coors and is still sitting 95/96 mph. He’s got this.
- I can’t say I’m enjoying much else of this tier. Touki Toussaint did well in his return last week, but his fastball command is a legit question. Triston McKenzie’s fastball is still a tick above his season average, but he had two ticks last week and I wonder if it’ll fade completely against the Rays.
- The most interesting arm here is Caleb Smith, who finally – FINALLY – showcased slider and changeup whiffs in his last start, propelling him to a Gallows Pole. It’s a risky play, but if he can retain that ability against the Cubs, this could very much work. This is your sneaky high risk/reward Sunday play.
- In the bottom tier, Ross Stripling has been all kinds of concerning and hasn’t had his secondaries this season save for one outing weeks ago. I can see some taking the chance, I personally think it’s too dangerous.
- I’m excited to see Daniel Lynch return to the majors and face the Tigers and I wouldn’t rule out a successful game. There’s less pressure in his return to the show and his stuff is legitimate. Hopefully he’s ironed out some of his command issues.
Photo by Leslie Plaza Johnson/Icon Sportswire | Design by Quincey Dong (@threerundong on Twitter)