What is happening!
It’s that time of the year where we shift from the traditional Top 100 ranking of The List to a stupid long article outlining every single expected Starting Pitcher start and ranking them all together in one smattering that kinda makes sense and should help your team.
It’s the fourth and final week we’re doing this and we’ve pivoted to a full-on SIT/START for the entire week of games. It just felt like the most helpful thing to do.
First thing’s first, I want to thank James Schiano for creating the offensive hitter tiers below and creating the individual team tables. I then went in, added notes to each team, then created a table of nearly 180 pitchers and ranking them + added highlights to great and terrible schedules at the very bottom.
These schedules are going to change. Heck, the daily streaming pitchers article I write often changes and that’s published just hours before game time. Use this article as a guide to understand the flow of rotations and move the respective pitchers around as needed.
Alright, I hope you enjoy this giant piece. Don’t forget to hang out on Twitch next week as I rank the Top 150 Starting Pitchers for 2022 next Monday from 12-4 EST.
Here are James Schiano’s rankings for team offenses (Top = excellent offense and bad to stream against):
With that in mind, now let’s have a foundation of what each schedule is like per team + what changes could be made in the final week of the regular season:
(OFF) = Team was off the day before
(DH) = Team is playing a doubleheader
We have six games and six starters. Note Zac Gallen getting Rockie Road at the end – it’s what you want to see.
We just saw Jesse Chavez and Drew Smyly work a game in tandem for Atlanta, with neither getting a sizeable chunk of frames. Don’t expect much more than that on Saturday. Charlie Morton may not make that final start if Atlanta has locked up the NL East, though, if he’s starting Game #1, it would be four-days rest for Friday. Monitor it.
Who knows what Baltimore will do – there’s always a chance they aim to get another arm a start before the season ends. It’s a tough schedule regardless and the real decision here is if you want to chance John Means against the Jays or not. It’s a tough call.
The Red Sox may be still fighting for a playoff spot, completely out, or locked in by that final Sunday, meaning Chris Sale’s second start is up in the air. Monitor this closely. In addition, there’s a chance for a Game 163 on Monday, which aligns with Nathan Eovaldi getting one more start against one of NYY, TOR, SEA, and OAK. Don’t let that possibility slip your mind.
It looks like a six-man for six games. The only target here is Alec Mills on Tuesday against the Pirates, with a possible sprinkle of Kyle Hendricks as well (do we trust him anymore?). I’d avoid the rest of the crew.
I’m surprised the ChiSox are making Carlos Rodón start once more before the playoffs with his arm fatigue, though this could be a short 2-3 inning affair just to ramp him up for a playoff start. I wouldn’t feel bad if I let him go after the fatigue news last week. Otherwise, I’d expect a full six-man here and with this setup, the ChiSox would be fine with Lynn in Game #1 of the ALDS and Giolito for Game #2 on five-days rest, with Cease and Rodón following. They could shift this around over the weekend.
Luis Castillo was pushed back to Thursday, forcing the Reds to add another young arm to their rotation on Tuesday with Wade Miley done for the season with a neck injury. Fantasy managers should be thrilled – a date with the Pirates is plenty easier than the ChiSox.
Because it’s six-man, it means Aaron Civale’s Tuesday start is his last of the season. There’s an outside shot something happens to the other five starters and opens the door for Civale to represent Cleveland in their season finale, but I wouldn’t hold my breath.
As for the rest of the crew, it’s a comfortable schedule and I hope we see a strong five innings from all of them, especially Shane Bieber. I hope we get another taste of elite pitching.
It’s a pretty straightforward five-man rotation to end the season. It’s sad Jon Gray has already made his final start in Coors, he could be heading elsewhere this off-season.
Look at Detroit, having two pitchers slated for two more starts and none of it matters. Well, maybe Tarik Skubal and Casey Mize can be productive in their limited roles, but I wouldn’t chance it. It’s not worth the effort.
Zack Greinke went on the IL and may not be good to go for his final start against Oakland. The Astros are trying to plan out their playoff rotation, making Jake Odorizzi the perfect Sunday starter, though if Greinke gets skipped again, José Urquidy should be fine starting Sunday – Lance McCullers should be their ALDS Game #1 starter on Thursday.
It looks like a clear six-man and I feel as if the fantasy gods above tempt me with Jackson Kowar slated to toss on the final day of the year. If he showcases his ceiling against Cleveland, I can imagine many managers taking a chance.
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Man, I would absolutely LOVE Shohei Ohtani to pitch on the final day of the season. What a wonderful way to complete one of the greatest seasons we’ve ever witnessed. There is an outside chance Reid Detmers makes an appearance before the end, but it’s highly unlikely.
Keep in mind, the Dodgers are fighting to stay out of the Wild Card as they try to earn the full claim to the NL West. As we approach the final weekend, a few things can happen: If the Dodgers clinch the NL West, Walker Buehler may not start on Sunday and instead be given some rest before the start of the playoffs. If they need to fight to prevent a Game 163, Buehler should get the ball – Max Scherzer and Clayton Kershaw know how to start a playoff game.
Make sure not to drop Max Scherzer after his Wednesday start, though – if the Dodgers have a Game 163, expect him to get the pearl on Monday.
I’ve been surprised watching the Brewers continue to start their young arms past our innings expectations and I have to wonder if some – if not all – of the elite trio (Brandon Woodruff, Corbin Burnes, and Freddy Peralta) are limited or skipped this week. Burnes and Peralta really shouldn’t be starting against the Dodgers, but maybe it’s a short few innings to keep them in rhythm heading into the playoffs. Monitor this.
It looks like Joe Ryan is going on Thursday after spending a moment away from the team. Plan accordingly as the rest of this six-man rotation should play out smoothly.
There is a chance the Yankees call on their big guns and start Gerrit Cole on three-days rest on Sunday if they are in a “Must Win” situation. Otherwise, plan for a possible Game 163 on Monday with Cole or Jameson Taillon (if he gets replaced by Cole on Sunday).
This seems pretty straightforward, though there is an option for the Athletics to start Chris Bassitt on the final day if they are still in contention – it would be on normal four-days rest.
Zack Wheeler is slated to get two starts + a final date with the Marlins. Thank you, Wheeler, for everything. Hans Crouse could make that Saturday start, though he may split it Adonis Medina once again.
This is likely the Pirates rotation the rest of the way. Maaaaaybe there’s something of value in those three starts against the Cubs, but my eyes are hurting from all this squinting.
I wouldn’t expect any of this to change, save for a possible day of rest for Yu Darvish on the final day – it’s a non-competitive game and the man has been through enough. I expect him to start, but don’t rule out the possibility.
The Giants are trying to earn the NL West and avoid a Wild Card game, but if they are locked one way or another by Sunday, you may see Logan Webb get skipped – especially if they want to save him for the Wil Card game. Just something to consider. Also, make sure you hold onto Alex Wood as he would go Game 163 on Monday if needed.
Don’t see a reason why this won’t be how it will play out the rest of the way. Two more games of Chris Flexen’s ridiculous career year.
With the Cardinals grabbing the second Wild Card in style, I wouldn’t expect Adam Wainwright to get that final start, and instead I’ve changed this around to turn it into a six-man rotation, with Jack Flaherty likely pairing with Dakota Hudson on Sunday, then Jake Woodford (aka The Amish Mustang) officially ending the regular season for St. Louis. Monitor this situation closely – Hudson could be a very useful Win thief.
Michael Wacha has danced around a bit but looks set to start Tuesday with Drew Rasmussen set on Wednesday. What a way for the Rays to end their season – showing off their new stud in Shane Baz as he pulls a Matt Moore and likely starts an ALDS Game despite just a few games under his belt.
I can’t help but wonder if the Jays would want someone else starting a potentially pivotal final game of the season, but they don’t have much of a choice save for swapping him with José Berríos and take advantage of the off-day. And who knows, if the Jays are out of it, Ryu may not even start then. We’ll see how it plays out.
I’m glad we get an extra look at Josiah Gray before I stare out my window, patiently waiting for the day I get to celebrate Josiah once again. It’s a pair of tough matchups and I hope we see the best of him come out.
Full Week 25 Starting Pitcher Rankings
Now that we understand the expected rotations for the final week of the year, it’s time to take a look at the week ahead and separate all starters into individual tables. Check out updated ranks daily in my morning streaming ranking posts that come out each morning at 10:45 am EST.
Tuesday 9/28 Starting Pitcher Rankings
Wednesday 9/29 Starting Pitcher Rankings
Thursday 9/30 Starting Pitcher Rankings
Friday 10/1 Starting Pitcher Rankings
Saturday 10/2 Starting Pitcher Rankings
Sunday 10/3 Starting Pitcher Rankings
And finally, I’ve combined them all into one giant, super subjective ranking to help you plan the week ahead. For notes on these matchups, read the morning streaming articles through the week.
EVERY Starting Pitcher Matchup For Week 25
And that concludes the final edition of The List for the 2021 season. A sincere THANK YOU to everyone who has followed this column all season. I wouldn’t put in all of this work if it wasn’t for your endless support. I’ll be back next week for the Way-Too-Early Top 150 Starting Pitchers For 2022, then hibernate until the PL7 Launch in February 2022. Good luck this week!
Photos by Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)