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, there are my streaming picks of the day, and please keep in mind that I am forced to pick a streamer every day. Those highlighted in Green are in the second tier and I’d roll with them everywhere. The most common are those in Yellow in the third tier and should be decent if you’re searching for something on a given day. Finally, those are Red are those I really don’t want to start (they are labeled as “Do Not Start”, after all) but have no other choice. Don’t stream these guys until you are truly desperate. A streaming pick is 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: 71-50
Today’s Starting Pitcher Rankings
- I was a little liberal with the top tier for Thursday, adding Logan Webb to the mix as I sat there and tried to consider a situation where you wouldn’t start Webb, even if he’s not close to earning an AGA label. It’s “Rockie Road” and he’s on a tear. You’re starting him.
- It was wonderful seeing Yu Darvish look like his best self last time out and we should see more of the same against the Diamondbacks on Thursday.
- In the second tier, it’s hard not to have hesitation for Shohei Ohtani as he faces the mighty Jays and there’s a risk/reward balance you’re going to have to decide for yourself. I’m starting him where I have him, I don’t blame you if you don’t.
- John Means was solid in his last start against the Rays, but we still haven’t seen his best heater quite yet. Hopefully it comes out against a Detroit team that struggles against southpaws.
- I led the third tier with Marco Gonzales as he gets the Rangers. Marco is a stable “Toby” and a date with the weak Texas bats should be fruitful.
- The streaming pick of the day is none other than Coffee Cakes himself, JT Brubaker. It hasn’t been a fun month for the slider-heavy Pirate, but he could follow “The Cardinal Rule” and provide dividends for trusting managers.
- I hope Kyle Muller can pitch at his peak against the Reds, but I won’t ignore his inefficient command as he hasn’t fully blossomed yet. Let’s see if hosting Cincinnati can bring out his best.
The Nationals are far from a scary crew and I’m fine starting Rich Hill against them – be warned, though. The ceiling is low and there’s plenty of room for him to fall.It’s Trevor Williams now and I do not want anything to do with that.
- In the final tier, Vladimir Gutiérrez can be considered a “Vargas Rule” given his last three starts, but Atlanta is a strong offense and are a bit too terrifying for my tastes.
- Who knows, maybe pitching in a cornfield will allow Andrew Heaney to be the sweet end of his “Cherry Bomb” nature. Too bad the ChiSox are primed to swat the longball and lean into Heaney’s largest weakness.
Tomorrow’s Starting Pitcher Rankings
- Few surprises here in the top tier, though I should mention Tyler Mahle sliding in at the bottom. While he hasn’t been an ace like those at the top, he’s been a steady mid-3s, 1.20 WHIP, and 25-30% strikeout arm all year. That certainly plays and demands your start each time out.
- There’s also Shane McClanahan as he gets the Twins and he’s done nothing but wow us recently, including a full seven frames in his last outing. He’s blossoming in front of us and I’m excited for what’s ahead, both this year and next.
- In the second tier, I led with Jack Flaherty as he returned from a lengthy IL stint to face the Royals. He’s reported to throw roughly 75 pitches and given his ability, I think we can ignore “Still ILL” for now.
- I absolutely adore Patrick Sandoval (I’m typing this while wearing my 32 Whiffs shirt, after all) but I won’t deny the anxiety I feel seeing him contest the Astros on Friday. If he has his changeup and slider, this will be a piece of cake and that ceiling is worth the gamble. I’m still worried, of course.
- I debated heavily if Blake Snell belonged in this tier, though earning 25 whiffs and spanning seven frames against the Sneks last time out should spell success in a repeat matchup. Hopefully his extreme fastball/slider approach can excel once again.
- The streaming pick of the day is Adbert Alzolay, who I’d start wherever I can. The Marlins are far from an intimidating offense and Alzolay has the tools in his repertoire to tally strikeouts in a hurry.
- For those that need a solid “Toby”, turn to Cole Irvin in the third tier as he faces the Rangers. It’s far from exciting, but he has the skills to churn six comfortable innings.
- The upside play here is Josiah Gray as he faces Atlanta. He’s fresh off a 20 whiff outing and could continue his ascension, despite a strong offense ahead of him.
- Anthony DeSclafani is returning from the IL and is granted a gift in “Rockie Road”, though it’s unclear how long he’ll go for and if he’s back in rhythm. Not a bad play and one you should feel okay making, but you may not get a lot here.
- On the other side of the bump is Austin Gomber, as he hopes to get his redemption in Oracle Park. The Giants are a great offense against lefties and despite the positive signs from Gomber lately, you should proceed with caution.
- It seems a bit hopeless that Jesús Luzardo will suddenly click in a given outing, however if he’s going to do it, the Cubs are the team that would bring out the best. The ceiling is still incredibly high with a mid-90s heater + two strong secondaries and I’d consider Luzardo for an upside play if I needed to chase one.
- Don’t ignore “The Cardinal Rule” for Mike Minor as he’s been oddly productive as of late. The floor isn’t pretty, but there are worse plays for the weekend.
- In the final tier, some may be upset I’m low on Madison Bumgarner after he performed well against Friday’s opponent last time out. The Padres should be able to recover + Bumgarner is still sitting just 90 mph, making me concerned it’s a bit of smoke and mirrors more than a legit hot streak. Feel free to “Vargas Rule” Bumgarner and let him fly, I’d prefer not to take the risk.
- Tylor Megill has hit a few bumps in the road lately and the Dodgers will make it as hard as ever to get back up. Sit this one out if you can.
Photo by Samuel Stringer/Icon Sportswire | Design by Quincey Dong (@threerundong on Twitter)