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: 54-40
Today’s Starting Pitcher Rankings
- The top tier has the usual arms (sup Jacob deGrom), 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 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, making him the heavily reluctant streamer of the day. And Wil Crowe doesn’t have the worst stuff ever – if he performs at his peak, he’ll reward trusting managers despite facing Atlanta.
Tomorrow’s Starting Pitcher Rankings
- It’s going to be a wonderful matchup of Yu Darvish and Max Scherzer in San Diego and if you roster either or both, have no hesitation. Duh.
- Sandy Alcántara gets the Dodgers and I can sense your hesitation – the Dodgers lit him up and pushed him out after two frames. Keep the faith and trust the skills of upper-90s heat with two strong secondaries.
- In the second tier, Tarik Skubal gets the Twins and puts managers at risk. He has been a bit volatile this season, though the ceiling is too high to ignore. I’m starting him everywhere I have him rostered.
- I didn’t expect to place Jordan Montgomery so high, but it’s the Mariners and his changeup and curveball could work well in his favor. I’m not in love with it, but it’s a start that should be made.
- JT Brubaker is still a very capable pitcher and the Mets are middle of the pack offensively. Coffee Cakes’ slider is certainly good enough to provide dividends to those who trust him.
- It was wonderful to see Adbert Alzolay have his slider for the first time since his blister injury and while the Phils have the ability to ruin a pitcher’s evening, Alzolay looks be on the right path moving forward.
- Opposite Montgomery is Logan Gilbert, who has leaned heavily on his excellent heater. The changeup and slider are still coming along but if just one shows up, this can go in his favor.
- Zach Eflin is far from a sexy start, though he’s fully capable of volume against a tame Cubs offense.
- The questionable starts are few and lead with Zach Plesac, who could be out of this tier in future starts. He’s returning from the IL and will likely throw around 60 pitches, limiting his ability to take advantage of a mediocre Royals squad. It’s unclear if his few innings will be of enough quality to justify a start.
- Frankie Montas has seen better days and a date with the Astros is a bit terrifying. There’s a chance his bowling-ball fastballs make quick work and allow him to cruise through six frames, though you’d be wise to proceed with caution.
- Like Plesac, Danny Duffy is likely to be limited as he faces Cleveland. It’s unknown what his pitch count will be, but the Royals have made it clear that they want to limit Duffy to keep him on the field. Still sporting 94+ mph makes Duffy a tantalizing option, it’s just a question of volume.
- And finally, there’s our reluctant streaming pick of the day, J.A. Happ as he’s a southpaw against the Tigers. Detroit has been better lately with Grossman and Baddoo performing well, making this far from a lock. There are likely better streams to make later in the week.
- The final tier is awfully short, but if you’re in need of a desperate start, Jake Faria vs. Chi Chi González could work for both arms and neither offense is exceptional and both could go at least five frames. Just a thought.
- Adrian Houser is fresh off a solid outing against the Pirates, but I wouldn’t chance it against a strong Reds crew.
Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire | Design by Quincey Dong (@threerundong on Twitter)