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: 75-54
Today’s Starting Pitcher Rankings
- Nothing crazy in the top tier (is there ever?) but hey, we have Chris Sale back for another! Look for the velocity sitting 94/95 mph this time around + a higher CSW on that slider.
- I imagine some have concerns about Lucas Giolito after his last outing. His slider and changeup were both missing and I expect him to retain at least one against the Rays.
- In the second tier, Alex Wood gets the Athletics and I’d expect him to excel. His slider and heater have been there over his recent bumps in the road and this could easily be the start he showcases his ability to produce is still alive and well.
- It has been a rough few starts for Sonny Gray, but this is Miami. If there ever was a start to help him get his slider and curveball back, this is the one.
- Blake Snell is a hard man to trust these days, but his fastball/slider approach two starts ago could return here against the Phils. If he’s pumping fastballs in the zone with authority, this will go his way.
- It’s a close call, but I’d lean starting Austin Gomber inside Coors as he hosts the Diamondbacks. His secondaries are legit and the Diamondbacks are not a whole lot to fear.
- In the third tier, James Kaprielian’s early season magic may be wearing off and he has a date with the elite Giants offense. Be cautious.
- The same goes for Yusei Kikuchi, who faces the Astros for the first of his three starts against the Astros across his next four games. It’s a rough road ahead and it’s unclear if he’ll be worth the hold.
- Elieser Hernandez returned from the IL on Sunday and gave a decent performance, though it left me wanting more from his elite slider. He’s being thrown into the fire now as he heads to the bandbox that is Great American Ballpark and it’s in your best interest to weigh you options heavily.
- I debated between Jaime Barria and Nestor Cortes for the streaming pick of the day, ultimately landing on Barria’s better secondaries to take advantage of a dire Cleveland offense.
- In the bottom tier, Carlos Carrasco gets his second date with the Dodgers and it’s hard to believe this is the night his changeup and slider will click. Avoid where you can.
- I want to believe Patrick Corbin’s breakout is right around the corner as he’s above 92 mph on his heater and earning slider whiffs, but I’ve been waiting for him to take the leap for at least a month now. Who knows if Friday is the day.
- It’s great to see Miles Mikolas returning to the majors, though this is a clear “Still ILL” as his ceiling wasn’t high prior to his injury & we just don’t know where he’s at now.
- Tyler Gilbert is fresh off throwing a no-hitter and now has to endure the challenge of surviving in Coors. Good luck.
Tomorrow’s Starting Pitcher Rankings
- The top tier is a short one, but it’s top-heavy with Max Scherzer and Gerrit Cole each slated to toss the pearl for their teams. I wouldn’t say Kevin Gausman is part of that label, though, as he hasn’t quite found his splitter across the last month. Time will bring it back – it is the most consistent splitter in baseball – and Saturday could roll out the red carpet for it.
- Look at Wade Miley, getting a comfortable date with the Marlins. He’s been a wonderful surprise for managers this season and he’ll be a gift that keeps on giving as the Reds have a cushy schedule to end the season.
- In the second tier, Eduardo Rodriguez has had his four-seamer command for a good while and with a relaxing matchup against the Rangers, Erod is primed to excel.
- Our faith in Aaron Nola is ever-wavering this season, though the Padres have swung a weaker bat as of late. The stuff is still there for Nola, making him worth the gamble.
- Is this the start Hyun Jin Ryu finds his changeup again? Detroit is a decent offense – surprisingly – and Ryu has looked more like a “Toby” than the ace of years past.
- Triston McKenzie had the best start of his career last time out, executing a proper “BSB” against the Tigers. The Angels haven’t fared well recently and hopefully McKenzie has made a tweak that will stick through the weekend.
- In the third tier, Sean Manaea has been in a downward spiral over his last three starts, dropping in both sinker velocity and his ability to locate. The Giants are a strong offense and this adds up to a possible disaster…though it would be unfair to rule out the chance of recovery for Manaea. After all, he was a legit ace for so long before this stretch. It’s a high-risk/reward play and up to you to decide what’s in your best interest.
- Kenta Maeda is in a different spot as he heads to the Bronx this weekend. He hasn’t looked like the 2020 ace this season, but he’s recovered from his spring cataclysm and could bring enough to the table to stave off a streaking Yankee offense.
- The final five names of this third tier could all be considered a “Toby” and it’s tough to discern who will actually come through with their head above water. Jake Odorizzi seems to be in the best position for a Win and despite his recent volatility, I’d favor him above the options below.
- The streaming pick of the day is Reid Detmers, who can bring his heavy hook to Cleveland and carve out five or six successful innings. He was at his best last time against Houston and there’s a chance he gets a respite in Ohio.
- The final tier is a long one as we have plenty of fantasy irrelevant starters + poor matchups ruining the ranks. Zac Gallen hasn’t found his secondaries and has a major challenge searching for them in the thin air of Colorado, Luis Patiño hasn’t gotten in a rhythm with his fastball/slider and gets the mighty ChiSox, and Logan Gilbert has to deal with the Astros despite note having his slider for weeks. Yikes.
- Maybe consider Eric Lauer against the Nationals if you’re in dire need of a Saturday play. I don’t love this one, but Lauer has shown the ability to produce over five frames and the Nationals aren’t much to write home about.
Photo by Leslie Plaza Johnson/Icon Sportswire | Design by Quincey Dong (@threerundong on Twitter)