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: 77-56
Today’s Starting Pitcher Rankings
- It’s the top tier and you don’t need me. There may be some contention starting Charlie Morton against the Yankees, but the man has been incredibly productive through the year and now is not the time to second guess him. Let him fly.
- It’s a road start for Tyler Mahle, which means you’re safe, even if the Brewers are Top 5 in wRC+ over the last thirty days.
- In the second tier, we have Julio Urías likely returning from the IL to face the Padres. The Friars haven’t wielded a sharp bat as of late and I’d feel fine letting Urías go.
- I hope the red Sox will allow Tanner Houck to go at least five frames this time around, but Houck’s stuff certainly deserves the innings.
- In the third tier, we have Cole Irvin leading off as he gets the Mariners. The man is a “Toby” and has done everything to showcase he can be serviceable against a mediocre Seattle offense.
- The streaming pick of the day is Eli Morgan, who is rostered in just 4% of leagues. He’s flexed good enough command to make this start worthwhile as he faces the susceptible Rangers.
- I want to rank Dylan Cease higher and while the Jays are without George Springer, this is still a high risk/reward outing. This choice is in your hands.
- Tylor Megill was able to survive the Giants last week, but he did so without his changeup and with a heavy reliance on heaters. I’m not sure he can replicate success with the same approach, but there’s a chance the slow ball returns and propels production.
- In the bottom tier, Erick Fedde could be of interest as he faces the Marlins. The ceiling is awfully low, though, and remember, Don’t Trust The Feddes.
- I can see Taylor Hearn getting a glance or two for his start against Cleveland. His stuff doesn’t jump off the page, though, and I worry he’ll labor through this one with a decent chance of missing the five-inning mark.
- It’s wild to see Jesús Luzardo in the Do Not Start tier against the Nationals, but we simply haven’t seen him excel in a long time. He’s on some rosters still as an upside stash and hopefully this is the start that gets us talking about him once again. Until that outing arrives, I’d not put myself in harm’s way.
- We’re in the dark when Yu Darvish will be starting for the Padres this week, but there’s a chance it’s against the Dodgers on Tuesday. If so, I’d place him at the end of the second tier. For now, I have this listed as a TBD starter.
Tomorrow’s Starting Pitcher Rankings
- It’s ace day! We have plenty of fun games to watch on Wednesday, which means a guy like Lucas Giolito is shockingly #8 on the ranks as he faces the tough Jays offense. That’s just the way it is sometimes, I’d still very much start him.
- I elected to push Josiah Gray into the top tier, given a gorgeous matchup against the Marlins. He’s earned double-digit whiffs with each weapon in his arsenal at some point this season and has a great opportunity to pad his numbers in Miami.
- In the second tier, Tarik Skubal gets a lovely date against the Cardinals and could capitalize. Look for his changeup and slider to earn plenty of whiffs here.
- Taijuan Walker has added an extra tick to his heater as of late, making his 4 ER game against the Dodgers fall on the unfortunate side. I’d trust him to produce despite a matchup against the Giants.
- It’s the MLB debut of Edward Cabrera and I’d pick him up and start him against the Nationals, making him my streaming pick of the day. He comes with high velocity and legit strikeout upside as he’s already fully stretched out. The command is the only question and as long as he throws strikes, this should be a strong audition.
- I considered Austin Gomber for the second tier, though I am concerned about his recent pitch-mix changes. Gomber is at his best when he features his fastball roughly 30% of the time and we’ve seen plenty of 40-50% usage games return disappointment. Even against the Cubs, it could be trouble if he doesn’t shift back to his old ways.
- Continuing with the third tier, Zach Plesac has a fantastic chance to rebound as he gets the mediocre Rangers lineup. We’re searching for his slider and changeup to look like their 2020 selves and if one or both are there, it can spell success moving forward.
- I wouldn’t overlook Tyler Gilbert as an option against the Pirates. The man threw a no-hitter after all, and the Pirates are a team that will get themselves out against Gilbert’s cutter.
- Blake Snell has a new approach and slowly regained the confidence of managers over the past few weeks. He gets his first big test in the Dodgers, though, and it makes for a high risk/reward situation. Adjust accordingly for your situation.
- We have a few “Toby” plays here as well with Zach Davies and Johnny Cueto. Neither inspire a whole lot of excitement from me, but I understand they can be decent against middling offenses.
- In the bottom tier, it looks like Ryan Yarbrough will go for the Rays as he faces the Phillies. I don’t think the ceiling is high enough to jump after that one, but those in SP/RP leagues could use the volume in the RP slot.
- It’s weird to see Spencer Howard at the bottom as he faces Cleveland, but he simply hasn’t had a long enough leash to put him above anyone else – each pitcher above him at least has the chance of going five frames.
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