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: 86-69
Today’s Starting Pitcher Rankings
- The top tier is short but sweet on Thursday. Tyler Mahle heads to Pittsburgh on the road, far away from his detested home field and ready to take on one of the weakest offenses in the majors.
- Meanwhile, Ian Anderson displayed the best curveball of his career last time out (over 50% CSW!) and has a cushy matchup against Rockie Road. If he still has his curveball through September, he may be one of the best draft discounts next year.
- The second tier features Framber Valdez despite his stumble against the Angels last week. He’s still a safe play against the pedestrian Rangers crew and you should be anticipating a clean rebound.
Carlos Hernández has carved innings across the last eight weeks and is worth the gamble against a dangerous Athletics squad. His strikeouts are a bit volatile and let’s hope he can be more of the 6-8 punchouts pitcher instead of the HAISTBMBWT?! character.Daniel Lynch is starting for the Royals today as Carlos went yesterday (and struggled…). I’d be cautious with Lynch, but if you need to take a shot, at least he has a ceiling to reach as opposed to other options inside the bottom tier.
- It’s a tough call with both Germán Márquez and Jordan Montgomery as each has given managers pause as of late. The Bear has accrued just eight frames across his last two starts but should be able to rebound in a revenge matchup against the Orioles. Márquez was great last time out despite his slider and curveball not at their peaks and could step up in Atlanta.
- The streaming pick today lies in the third tier with Reynaldo López as he squares off against the Angels. I haven’t been incredibly impressed with his arsenal as of late, but the Angels are as weak as any lineup these days, and ReyLó could earn a cheap Win for your clubs.
- Are we starting Kyle Hendricks against the Phillies? After multiple disasters, Hendricks survived the Giants but doesn’t seem out of the woods yet. It’s your call here.
- In the bottom tier, you could do worse than Paul Blackburn against the mediocre Royals bats. He’s essentially a Toby who could pull off a Win with the Athletics on his side.
- Otherwise, there really isn’t anything to chase. Maybe Alex Cobb in his return against the White Sox…? That’s a clear Still ILL but if his splitter is back and paired with first pitch curveballs, things could be okay.
- Don’t overlook Dietrich Enns as he’ll follow for the Rays today against the Tigers. There’s a chance he can go four frames and grab a cheap Win for those in need.
Tomorrow’s Starting Pitcher Rankings
- Legit aces are going on Friday, including Walker Buehler, Zack Wheeler, and Chris Sale. Logan Webb has been acting like one in the second half…outside of his last outing against the Cubs. He should rebound here, don’t worry about it.
- The same goes for Dylan Cease, who stumbled against the Red Sox last week. He gets a lovely evening in Texas to help ease his wounds and get a new hop in his step.
- In the second tier, Taijuan Walker has reclaimed his lost fastball velocity and is sitting above 95 mph. Don’t let his recent outing against the Yankees deter you.
- It may be a shock to see Adrian Houser in the second tier, but his sinker is looking like its 2019 September self and he has a gorgeous date with the Cubs. This has all the makings of a productive outing.
- The third tier doesn’t carry our streaming pick, but it does have Brady Singer with a 26% rostership rate as he goes against the Mariners. He’s just one start removed from a three-game stretch of 15+ whiff games and the Mariners could welcome in another dominant outing.
- Yes, you’re not happy seeing Luis Castillo this far down, though I want to validate your anxiety as Castillo has allowed 3 ER in half of his last ten starts. Now he’s slated to face the toughest offense of the lot in the Dodgers and there’s worry it could go south. It’s a major high risk/reward play.
- The final tier is a lot stronger than we normally see it. For example, if Tyler Alexander were starting Friday instead of Thursday, he would be down at #27 in these rankings, not the #12 spot as he is for Thursday. There’s inherently too much risk involved with these pitchers that I’d avoid where I could.
- Take Corey Kluber against Cleveland. He hasn’t returned to 91 mph on his fastball, though the breaker is looking sharp. Now a few starts removed from his return from the IL, he could turn on the jets and get back into rhythm…or get ousted before five frames.
- I’ve adored Josiah Gray plenty this year but he’s lost his command over his last three starts, including a game against the Pirates. Normally I’d be enthused about a start against Rockie Road, but we just don’t know where his ability will be on Friday night. He’s my reluctant streamer of the day simply because of that upside.
- Hyun Jin Ryu simply isn’t the man you think he is. His heater is hovering 90 mph with a changeup that’s a shadow of its former self. There’s a shot he pulls it out, but you’re better off skipping.
- I want to be excited about Kyle Freeland going against the Nationals on the road, but he just faltered against the Phillies and hasn’t had the legit curveball for a few weeks now. Be careful.
- Hey, maybe Wil Crowe can show up with his slider and changeup to exploit the Marlins bats as the questionable Nationals rotation has done across the last week.
Photo by Samuel Stringer/Icon Sportswire | Design by Quincey Dong (@threerundong on Twitter)