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: 78-58
Today’s Starting Pitcher Rankings
- There’s a decent amount of debate about the ranking of the top tier today. While Gerrit Cole is the clear favorite, who should be #2? Kevin Gausman is expected to pitch after being sidelined from receiving the COVID vaccine, but his splitter hasn’t been the same lately and it’s not the best bet to expect him in rhythm with this disruption.
- How about Aaron Nola? He’s been frustrating with his inconsistencies and even against the Sneks on the road, it’s more about his command than it is the opponent.
- So we go Shane McClanahan as the #2 play for Friday against the Orioles. His velocity has been down, but it hasn’t stopped his production and it should be more of the same against the sputtering birds of Baltimore.
- Wade Miley and Max Fried fill out the end of the tier in two different ways. Miley rises up here with a date against the Marlins, while Fried falls to the bottom as he has to endure the tough Giants offense.
- In the second tier, Steven Matz leads the way against the Tigers. It’s a great matchup and having the Jays offense at his back could make this “Toby” squeeze out his full potential.
- It hasn’t been fun watching Eduardo Rodriguez fidget as he attempts to mold his repertoire with changeups and cutters, but his four-seamer has been excellent and should be enough to handle a poor Cleveland crew.
- Sean Manaea kicks off the third tier as he has a date with the Yankees. Manaea’s velocity shot back up to 92/93 mph in his last start and is trending back in the direction of being a legit ace for squads. Monitor his changeup and breaker in this one – if one of them is working and he keeps the velocity, it should be a strong finish to the season.
- I wish I could raise Logan Gilbert into the second tier, but he hasn’t had his slider working for over a month. The Royals will give him a great canvas to work on the pitch, but it’s unclear if it’ll show or not.
- The streaming pick of the day barely belongs to Zach Thompson as he hosts the Reds in Miami. His cutter was plenty better last time out and facing Cincinnati on the road helps plenty when dealing with their dangerous bats.
- In case Thomspon is gone, consider Kris Bubic as well as he heads to Seattle. Bubic sported a full two-tick boost to his fastball velocity in his last start and the extra firepower creates a strong foundation for his breaker and changeup to do some damage.
- In the bottom tier, Taylor Widener is the best desperate option of the lot. There are times when his slider and changeup are on point and can earn plenty of whiffs in a heartbeat. It’s too risky for many situations, but not the worst option for the weekend.
- I really wish Kyle Freeland had an easier matchup than the Dodgers – he came out swinging with a fantastic curveball out of nowhere last time out, leaning on it more than any other pitch. I’m excited to see if the hook is still there.
Tomorrow’s Starting Pitcher Rankings
- Saturday comes with plenty strong outings that should help close gaps in weekly leagues. Adam Wainwright gets the #2 spot as he gets a lovely matchup against the Pirates and I still can’t fully comprehend his ascension this year. That curveball is so dang good.
- Frankie Montas comes in at the bottom of the tier despite facing the strong Yankee lineup. He just earned a “Gallows Pole” against the Giants and is on too good of a roll to sit now.
- In the second tier, Vladimir Gutiérrez gets the top spot as he has a lovely date scheduled with the Marlins. His ROS schedule is cozy and he should cruise through the end.
- The streaming pick of the day is Carlos Hernández as he faces the Mariners. His 96+ mph heater sets a great foundation for his breakers, though there is slight worry about his command. The overall package is worth the start, though.
- In the third tier, I can see some wanting to push both Kyle Gibson and Cal Quantrill into the tier above. Gibson has been a bit better as of late, though there’s still a low floor that brings a level of caution. Quantrill is on a tear, but now gets a challenge in the Red Sox. It’s not a lock for success.
- Néstor Cortes Jr. has been absolutely cruising and the Athletics aren’t a massive threat to stop this train. The wheels can fall off at any point, though, so plan accordingly.
- It’s a nice matchup for Luis Patiño against the Orioles, though he has yet to showcase consistency with his four-seamer and slider. We’ll see if it’ll come out against John Means.
- If you’re looking for another stream, consider Tyler Anderson against the Royals. He’s been playing the “Toby” part incredibly well and may slide into another decently productive outing on Saturday.
- In the bottom tier, Humberto Mejía is fresh off a strong outing but still isn’t to be trusted against the Phillies. But hey, it could happen.
- The same goes for Steven Brault as he has a chance to follow “The Cardinal Rule”. The ceiling is too low to warrant a roll of the dice in standard leagues, though.
Photo by Leslie Plaza Johnson/Icon Sportswire | Design by Quincey Dong (@threerundong on Twitter)