Every day of the 2022 baseball season, I’ll be looking at today and tomorrow’s slate of scheduled starting pitchers and ranking their matchups for your fantasy baseball streams.
There’s a lot that goes into this and you can hang out with me on Twitch.tv/pitcherlist to talk about the specific ranks as I make them every weekday morning from 9am – 11am ET. If you have questions to these ranks, please ask during the morning Twitch AMA. Those are my office hours as I generally don’t answer comments on the site.
There are four tiers to these rankings with 12-teamers in mind:
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 throughout 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.
(Opener) – Outlines that a pitcher is being opened for that day & the pitcher listed will follow the opener.
As I do my rankings, I thought it would be helpful to showcase a table of how we’re ranking offenses. Dave Swan does an incredible job of showcasing future SP matchups every 2-3 weeks in this article, and I’ve elected to use his offense ranks to share with all of you here:
I’m sure it’ll change through the year + there are differences to be made about teams vs. LHP or RHP, but it’s a great general table that y’all should keep in mind.
Alright, let’s get to it.
2022 Streamer Record: 43-31
Today’s Starting Pitcher Rankings
- The top tier is clear as day on Thursday, with Joe Musgrove returning from COVID, Clayton Kershaw going in Cincy, and Robbie Ray fresh off two stellar outings and ready to sport his sinker against a poor Oakland lineup.
- Both Frankie Montas and Kyle Wright have shown some signs of volatility, but it’s pretty clear that you’re starting them indefinitely at this point.
- The second tier is…a little shaky. I can see some wanting to place this matchup of Framber Valdez vs. Jameson Taillon in the Questionable Start tier, though both have showcased the ability to survive against strong opponents. You don’t want to give up on the chance on a Win, either, making them likely starts in my book.
- There’s also a touch of temptation to slot Johnny Cueto into the second tier as he faces the Orioles. He’s our streaming pick of the day (PLEASE, LET ME HAVE ONE) given his shocking consistency to go deep into games, though I won’t ignore his cataclysmic floor that could rear its ugly head, even against Baltimore.
- Further in the third tier is Devin Smeltzer, who let us down as a stream last time out but could rebound against Cleveland. He’s trying to be a “Toby” and may pull through here.
- We have a pair of “Cherry Bomb” pitchers in Hunter Greene and Dakota Hudson in the Questionable Start tier. Don’t forget, Greene was able to soar against the Dodgers earlier this year and I won’t rule out the possibility of a repeat in Cincinnati. Hudson…well he’s always been a coin flip. Your call.
- The final two arms of the third tier are interesting but not something I’d normally chase. Alex Wood struggled against the Pirates and now gets a tougher matchup against an Atlanta team that performs well against southpaws. He has the ability to succeed, but is it ultimately worth it?
- And then there’s Justin Steele, whose fastball/breaker combo is overwhelming…maybe once or twice this year. Even against the Pirates, there’s considerable risk I’d rather avoid.
- In the bottom tier, José Quintana has commanded his pitches well and yet still carried poor ratios in his starts. Stuff is super important, y’all.
- There’s a “Rockie Road” vs. Marlins matchup that could return dividends for either side in Braxton Garrett or Kyle Freeland, and it’s incredibly difficult to discern who will come out on top – if either one will. There are better plays to make, but I understand those in NL-Only leagues taking the dive.
Tomorrow’s Starting Pitcher Rankings
- We have the usual suspects in the top tier for Friday, including a phenomenal matchup of Justin Verlander vs. Luis Severino. That’s must-watch TV and if you have both, it’s in your best interest to start both.
- The bottom two of the tier are a bit more contestable. Julio Urías is flirting with an AGA label, allowing me to start him despite being a southpaw against the Atlanta offense. Meanwhile, Nick Pivetta is on such a “Vargas Rule” that he’s earned Tier 1 status against the Guardians. What a world.
- The second tier has some exciting starts as well. Jeffrey Springs against Pittsburgh, Michael Kopech facing the Orioles, and Taijuan Walker getting the pearl in Miami are all great matchups for solid arms. Easy decisions are a welcome thing.
- The last two starts for MacKenzie Gore have not been pretty, facing the Rockies at home and on the road, but I’m still tossing him out there against the Phils. We’ve seen a bit of volatility through the year from Gore and I’m anticipating a recovery in this start or next. Let him fly.
- In the third tier, Michael Lorenzen hasn’t been as clear-cut of a start through the year, but a start against the Mariners should be of heavy consideration. He has the ability to go 6+ frames against a middling offense and that’s enough for me.
- I’d normally have Alex Cobb in the second tier with a start against the Reds, but he tossed just 60 pitches over the weekend, likely capping his ceiling here. I know, it didn’t affect Sonny Gray or Mike Clevinger on Wednesday (they both tossed 80+ pitches!), but then again, neither did reach five frames. Cobb needs to develop the stamina, still.
- Our streaming pick of the day is Cole Irvin against the Royals, marking the third straight start where Irvin is our man. I can’t say I’m eager to start him here, but he has a decent shot of cruising through a pedestrian Kansas City lineup.
- I can also see some wanting to stream Mitch Keller, believe it or not. He’s gone four straight starts of 2 ER or fewer and faces a Rays team that doesn’t intimidate.
- Are we starting Ian Anderson against the Dodgers? I’m incredibly conflicted on this one as Anderson seemingly performs like a “Cherry Bomb” regardless of his opponent. Do whatever you feel is right here – he may be worth the gamble.
- At the top of the Do Not Start tier are Andre Pallante, Zack Greinke, and Dane Dunning, each facing weak teams. Pallante could make this work, though I question if his stuff is truly good enough to warrant a stream. Greinke is likely on a low pitch count and his value comes from going deep into games, while Dunning’s command is all over the place.
- Other considerations are Graham Ashcraft, Rony García, and even Paolo Espino. Ashcraft hasn’t had his sinker command lately, making him far too hittable. Garcia has a tough of upside in him and maybe he squeezes it out against the Sneks, while Espino had moments last year as a reliable streamer and could make it work against the Rangers.
- And then there’s Cal Quantrill, who has been awfully reliable this year. However, his ratios are highly questionable and a date with the Red Sox is a clear sit for me.
Featured Image by Drew Wheeler (@drewisokay on Twitter)