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: 53-40
Today’s Starting Pitcher Rankings
- Save for the one and only Jacob deGrom, there is a bit of turmoil in the top tier. Aaron Nola is fresh off his fifth inning disaster against the Marlins, Carlos Rodón is pumping heat but hurting ratios as of late, and we just don’t know what to think of Luis Castillo yet as he doesn’t have the elite changeup of old.
- Framber Valdez also hasn’t been quite the dominant arm we saw in his first handful of starts, but his floor is too high to deny the start.
- There’s a case to be made for Chris Bassitt to get the nod into the top tier given how well he’s performed, though the Astros pack a serious punch. I’m still starting him, but he’s not as safe as the other options.
- Adam Wainwright has done everything to earn your trust as he heads into Oracle Park. With his curveball and cutter working, this could be yet another seven-inning start of destruction. Good destruction.
- As much as I want to auto-start Pablo López against the Dodgers, I can’t ignore the floor created by essentially being a two-pitch pitcher. I’m taking the chance and be aware of the danger.
- Jon Gray has been on a tear and while he has a history of performing worse on the road, he should be safe against the Sneks.
- The Questionable Starts are always the intriguing ones and it starts with a quartet of popular arms who we don’t quite know how to handle. José Berríos just fizzled against the White Sox and is asked to try again. Shohei Ohtani gave trusting managers a horrific start to their previous week against the Yankees, and Nathan Eovaldi is essentially a Cherry Bomb with his heavy reliance on secondary pitches working each time out. We just don’t know if they’ll be there against a solid Angels crew.
- There’s also Steven Matz, who doesn’t get the easiest matchup as the Orioles perform well against southpaws and is only one start removed from his mini-IL stint. Let’s hope we see the better side of him.
- Our streaming pick of the day is Merrill Kelly as he hosted Rockie Road. He hasn’t been the most consistent of starters, but if he can feature 92 mph with solid cutters, changeups, and curveballs, this should work in our favor.
- It’s awfully tempting to give Johnny Cueto a chance as we follow “The Cardinal Rule” in Oracle Park. Cueto is a bit maddening to roster, but the Cardinals are just that poor of a squad.
- Has Jameson Taillon finally turned the corner? I’m not entirely convinced, especially as his breakers haven’t come with the same deception as we saw in earlier seasons. Still, he gets the lowly Mariners and could be well worth your attention.
- Good luck trying to guess what we’ll see out of Tony Gonsolin. Maybe it’s five innings with his old slider, maybe it’s 3.1 frames without the stellar breaker. We’ll see.
- In the bottom tier is Patrick Corbin, who has hinted at legitimacy as of late and is too much of a risk going up against the mighty Padres. Watch him dominate and make us all swoon once again.
- There are some desperate options if you’re looking for volume, including José Ureña and Brett Anderson. The ceiling is far too low to consider in 12-teamers, but it’s not a bad dart throw for those in need.
Tomorrow’s Starting Pitcher Rankings
- The top tier has the usual arms, though I want to mention Sonny Gray as he went over 80 pitches last time out. He apparently tossed more than the Reds would have liked, but I don’t think we’ll see sub 75 pitches in this one against the Royals, allowing Sonny to get the most out of his sliders for a productive outing.
- Yusei Kikuchi gets the volatile Yankees crew and it’s far from enough to stop us from letting him fly. He’s been incredible for many weeks now and he’s an auto-start until further notice.
- In the second tier, Sean Manaea gets the Astros and it’s hard not to have some hesitation. Still, he won’t face Alex Bregman and he’s been firing on all cylinders with fastball whiffs and effective secondaries. Take the leap.
- Alex Wood finally found his slider last time out as he now accepts “The Cardinal Rule”. There’s a chance the breaker eludes him and his previous start was an exception, but it’s worth the chance.
- It’s been a struggle for Hyun Jin Ryu as he’s searched for his changeup and now he faces a Baltimore team known for hitting southpaws. It presents plenty of risk, though we can’t rule out Ryu still making this work. It’s not my favorite play, but still a bit better than the other risky options below him in this tier.
- Speaking of which, Domingo Germán hasn’t been incredibly sharp as of late and we’re crossing our fingers he does well against the lowly Mariners offense. If there’s a place to rebound, it’s in Seattle.
- The third tier is a small one with Eduardo Rodriguez getting the top spot against the Angels. LAA is stronger than you’d think offensively (Ohtani, you’re my hero) and even with Rodriguez’s improved fastball command as of late, this will be a challenge.
- Drew Smyly becomes the streaming pick of the day as he faces Pittsburgh. He hasn’t done a whole lot to suggest that he’s improved through the weeks of the season, but he is coming off one of his best outings and could carry it into this game.
- Keep in mind, Casey Mize is being limited by the Tigers and it’s unclear how deep he’ll be able to go in this one. Given normal circumstances, he’d be in the second tier, but the questionable volume tugs him down to the bottom of the third tier.
- The final tier is a large one, with a ton of dangerous pitchers who could demolish your week. There are sneaky plays that can help – especially in a deep league – but for standard 12-teamers, I’d take my shots elsewhere.
- If you’re gunning for strikeouts, Andrew Heaney can be of service despite facing the Red Sox. He’s a PEAS and a quintessential Cherry Bomb, so brace yourself for impact.
- It’s not confirmed, but Michael Pineda should return to face the White Sox and it’s a Still ILL that I wouldn’t touch. But hey, his slider could be on and dismantle the Chicago club.
- There are a few possible options for deeper leagues. Johan Oviedo may be able to embrace Oracle Park and go 5+ to help your team. Alec Mills just had a fantastic start and may repeat against a middling Phillies crew. And Wil Crowe doesn’t have the worst stuff ever – if he performs at his peak, he’ll reward trusting managers despite facing Atlanta.
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