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: 83-65
Today’s Starting Pitcher Rankings
- We only have eight games on Thursday, making for an interesting top tier. Cal Quantrill has been on such a good roll that I’d continue starting him despite hitting his first obstacle last time out against the Red Sox.
- Let’s hope Marcus Stroman has his cutter and slider working in this one against Miami – he took a step back last time out, but he’s still a clear play against the fish.
- In the second tier, José Berríos (aka “The Flag”) is set to face the Yankees and there’s inherent risk in the matchup. I’d still starting him given the more-often-helpful-than-harmful nature of Berríos, but I can understand some playing it safe.
- The same goes for Sean Manaea as he faces the ChiSox. Manaea has come roaring back from a poor August to feature his hardest fastball of the season last time out, cruising through the Jays lineup. If he can keep his changeup and curveball down, this will be more of the same.
- It’s a battle between John Means and Carlos Hernández in Baltimore on Thursday and I’m slightly favoring the home starter. Means has upped his fastball velocity and featured a solid breaker and I imagine the changeup will fall into place against a poor Royals crew.
- That said, Hernández has performed well despite facing the White Sox consistently and his 96+ heater with a pair of whiffable breakers should help fantasy managers across the board.
- The third tier once again contains our streaming pick of the day, here in Reynaldo López. His last outing came with much to be desired, boasting just a 21.5% CSW and an underwhelming heater, but he could rebound in a major way with his improved slider. There’s plenty of risk given his lack of volume so far, so proceed with caution.
- I know it’s been a great stretch for Néstor Cortes Jr., but don’t underestimate the Jays lineup. They can make this a regrettable start quickly.
- In the final tier, there’s a part of me that wants to raise Randy Dobnak and Antonio Senzatela into the third tier. Dobnak has shown an ability to get outs on plenty of grounders and could cruise through five against Cleveland. Senzatela does the impossible often and he’s out of Coors now and could have a patented 6+ inning game with three or fewer strikeouts.
- I know Erick Fedde has had some nice starts this year, but don’t trust him unless it’s the Marlins. He gets Atlanta, so that’s a clear avoid.
- Keep in mind, Tony Gonsolin tossed just 2.1 innings in his recent rehab start, marking a low pitch count for his return today. It pushes him down to the bottom tier with ease.
Tomorrow’s Starting Pitcher Rankings
- There are plenty of undisclosed starters for Friday and make sure to keep tabs on updates through Thursday.
- It’s a clear top spot for Robbie Ray against the Orioles, but the #2 spot is up for debate. I eventually landed on Framber Valdez given the high floor against the Angels, but both Tyler Mahle and Shohei Ohtani make great cases as well. Mahle is on the road and could easily follow “The Cardinal Rule”, while Ohtani has been pitching like a legit ace.
- There are some concerns about Trevor Rogers and Joe Musgrove, but not enough to deny them the start. I’ll cross my fingers for you, though.
- The second tier leads with Ian Anderson, who has not found his groove since returning from the IL. If there’s a team to recalibrate a starter, it’s the Marlins, and hopefully Anderson walks away with a hop in his step.
- The other four options could be in nearly any order. Jordan Montgomery hasn’t been his best lately (the Orioles forced him to throw 4.2 laborious innings), but I trust his changeup and curveball to come through against the Mets.
- The other three options include Carlos Rodón, who isn’t confirmed for Friday, but if he starts, the Red Sox are in his way and could jump on him if his fastball is still sitting comfortably below 95 mph.
- I know it’s been a good run for Marco Gonzales, but the ceiling isn’t as high as the other names + there’s always risk of a blowup, even against the Sneks.
- The third tier is filled with rookies, starting with Tanner Houck against the White Sox. He came through last time out and I hope he takes another step forward here.
- Our streaming pick of the day is Eli Morgan as he squares off against the Brewers. If Eli has his fastball command working, he can coast through six innings with a chunk of strikeouts and it may be worth the dive.
- I still believe in Josiah Gray, though he’s fresh off the worst performance I’ve seen from him in the bigs. The Pirates are a great team to face in an effort to get his feel back, and let’s hope he can bring it.
- The stuff from Daniel Lynch is still great and he could bring his whiff-heavy slider with solid fastball command against the Twins to surprise plenty of managers.
- Don’t overlook a possible decent outing from both Glenn Otto and Paul Blackburn as they square off in Oakland.
- I’m worried about Taijuan Walker’s drop in velocity as he gets the dangerous Yankee offense. This could get ugly.
- In the bottom tier, Michael Wacha has been his best self lately and now gets the Tigers. It’s too risky to stick him in the third tier, but those desperate for a start could strike gold.
- Despite facing the Mariners, you should be avoiding Madison Bumgarner as his fastball has sat under 90 mph and catalyzed three straight rough outings. Don’t put yourself in harm’s way.
Photo by Samuel Stringer/Icon Sportswire | Design by Quincey Dong (@threerundong on Twitter)
Don’t look for a win from Wacha tomorrow, Archer will be piggybacking.