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: 86-70
Today’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.
- Keep in mind, Germán Márquez and Ian Anderson are both starting today after getting rained out on Thursday. Make sure they are in your lineups against the Nationals and Giants, respectively. Yes, I’d start both.
- 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.
- Luis Patiño looks to be starting today and quickly becomes our Streaming Pick of the Day. Do I like this one? Not really – it’s a bit risky with his slider disappearing last time out – but if that sweeper returns, his heater should have the freedom to overwhelm the Tigers offense.
- 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.
- 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.
Tomorrow’s Starting Pitcher Rankings
- Would you rather start Corbin Burnes or Max Scherzer? Honestly, it doesn’t matter, but there is an idea that Burnes will toss fewer pitches after his 115 pitch affair last week. Something to think about.
- There’s another tough call with Charlie Morton vs. Adam Wainwright and ultimately I went with Morton’s fastball/curveball over Waino’s hook and sinker + cutter. Awfully close though, just start them both because duh.
- In the second tier, Aaron Nola has been far from the man you want him to be, but his ceiling is too high to deny him a start. He has been one of the unluckier pitches around as well and should rebound at some point before the season ends.
- Alex Wood is returning from COVID to make his start against Atlanta, potentially reducing his volume on Saturday. I’d expect five frames of quality, but you should weigh it in your decisions.
- Leading off in the third tier is Sonny Gray as he faces the Dodgers in Cincinnati. It’s far from an ideal matchup and despite Gray’s success as of late, I have legit concerns this could be a rocky affair.
- Yes, Yu Darvish is here as his command from start-to-start is as volatile as it gets. The man is a “Cherry Bomb” and could be well worth the risk against the Cardinals.
- Our streaming pick of the day is Luis Gil, who went six full frames against the Twins earlier in the week. He had a rough first frame but recovered to salvage the start for trusting managers and has a decent shot at excelling against the weak Cleveland crew.
- Another arm to consider is Daulton Jefferies as he makes the start against the Angels. He’s essentially a “Toby” and could capitalize against a pedestrian Angels lineup.
- In the bottom tier, I wouldn’t feel comfortable starting Aaron Civale against the Yankees. He hasn’t found his groove yet and the Yankees have the bats to exploit mistake pitches.
- We have five starters all with excellent matchups but carry rocky track records – Bryse Wilson, Patrick Corbin, Ryan Yarbrough, Edward Cabrera, and Kris Bubic. I imagine at least one of these will come through but good luck figuring out which one.
Photo by Leslie Plaza Johnson/Icon Sportswire | Design by Quincey Dong (@threerundong on Twitter)
Do you prefer Gil vs. Cleveland
Lauer on Sunday versus Milwaukee?
Sorry Lauer versus Cubs*