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: 92-76
Today’s Starting Pitcher Rankings
- We have a good amount of aces going for their final (?) start of the season. That question mark is there as Max Scherzer, Gerrit Cole, Nathan Eovaldi, and José Berríos could all be involved in a Game 163 on Monday, adding one bonus outing for the year.
- Alex Wood hasn’t gone six frames in a bit, but this could be his moment as he faces a weak Arizona crew. If you have him on your roster, you’re starting him with ease here.
- The second tier is a short one. Taijuan Walker hasn’t had a sharp September, but he’s throwing 95 mph and gets the Marlins. You want to do this.
- I know, I know. Aaron Nola has been a huge disappointment throughout the year. At the same time, he has 219 strikeouts, and a 1.11 WHIP, which means even if the ERA doesn’t come through, you’re going to get value from this outing against Atlanta.
- The third tier is…a lot. Luis Garcia hasn’t had his slider + cutter combination for a while and may continue to struggle against the Rays. Carlos Rodón will get an outing though I believe it’ll be closer to three frames than five proper. Kyle Hendricks hasn’t been himself and may struggle even against the Pirates. And the list goes on. Welcome to the true tier of coin flips.
- I think you’re relatively safe going with Michael Pineda or Taylor Hearn, though. They don’t carry the same upside as the others above, yet they could go five innings strong against middling lineups. Consider them if you need some volume this week.
- The Pirates have turned to Roansy Contreras to get the ball today and there could be some value here. He throws mid-to-upper 90s with solid secondaries and he could escape with 5+ strong frames against the Cubs.
- In the final tier Merrill Kelly has the best chance of going 5-6 frames if you need it, though I don’t expect a Win and the ratios likely won’t help enough.
Tomorrow’s Starting Pitcher Rankings
- Only a few guys at the top today and it’s a little dicier than usual. First, you have the clear plays in Robbie Ray and Lance McCullers facing tough teams in the Yankees and Rays, but you have no choice. Start them and don’t think twice.
- Then Ian Anderson gets the middling Phillies and should be fine, while Shane Bieber makes his second start against the pedestrian Royals offense. He pitched three stellar innings against the ChiSox and I don’t see why he can’t go five frames here. If you have Bieber, start him.
- The second tier is small but gets to the point. I was tempted to throw Joe Ryan into the top tier with a date against the Tigers, though he doesn’t pack a whole more than a low 90s heater that has gotten great results thus far. I hope it can last for one more start.
- The streaming pick of the day is Tylor Megill as he faces the Marlins. Despite his recent struggles, it’s the Marlins. Megill is good enough to make this worthwhile, even if he doesn’t his best changeup.
- In the third tier, Alex Cobb and Glenn Otto are both low-rostered arms I’d consider if I needed an extra start or two. Only one has the chance for a Win in their head-to-head matchup, but each could provide strikeouts and decent ratios along the way. Cobb has a bit more of a volume ceiling, making him the better play.
- Tony Gonsolin is also someone to consider after five successful innings against the Sneks. He was limited to just 68 pitches, though, and it was his first taste of production for a good while. Let’s hope he can keep the momentum up for one more game.
- In the final tier, I wonder if Edward Cabrera can finally have his breakout start as he faces the average Mets lineup. He certainly throws hard enough to do so, but things haven’t quite clicked yet. Maybe Thursday is Edward’s day.
- For those in deep leagues, Max Kranick, Jon Heasley, and Justin Steele all have the chance to go five frames and steal a Win against weak opponents. I don’t love their abilities, but a “Birthday Party” could be in order.
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