SP Matchups & Streamer Rankings – 5/16 & 5/17

Nick Pollack ranks every SP matchup for today and tomorrow.

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, I have highlighted in Green my streaming pick of the day – Yellow if I wouldn’t actually want to stream them (I have to pick one every day!) . These are 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.


Today’s Starting Pitcher Rankings


  • If you’re looking for John Means in the first tier, his start was pushed likely to Wednesday as the Orioles are managing his workload – he did toss well over 100 pitches in his no-hitter.
  • It makes for a quiet first tier with Shane Bieber and Lance McCullers relaxing in their VIP armchairs. Hey, they deserve it.


  • I’m leading with Huascar Ynoa in the second tier as the man has been on a roll. Now he gets the beat up Brewers and should be able to rack up the strikeouts with his 97 mph heater and wipeout slider.
  • Freddy Peralta is on the other side and doesn’t have the same luxury as Ynoa as he has to face the strong Atlanta lineup. Still, Peralta has proven that he’s not matchup dependent – he’s “do I have it today?” dependent. Here’s to hoping he’s not his most erratic self.


  • I’m all for trusting Robbie Ray until further notice as he’s now gone four straight starts with four-seamers inside the zone to push his strikeout-to-walk ratio to a ridiculous 33/1 mark. Phillies Schmillies, am I right?
  • Houston is a strong offense, but with the way Kyle Gibson has been pitching this season, you know to stop questioning until he gives you a reason to.


  • After taking down the Dodgers and stuttering against the Pirates, Kyle Hendricks is in purgatory, despite facing the Tigers. I’m leaning that there was some bad luck against the Pirates, though his changeup performed terribly and he’s not out of the woods yet.
  • Pablo Lopez gets the tough Dodgers crew after a terrible start of his own. PabLo is known to bounce back well after a disappointing outing, though the Dodgers will make it difficult to come through on that promise.


  • I can imagine some wanting Dylan Cease to rise into the third tier, though I’m hesitant to ignore his low floor as his fastball and changeup command aren’t quite on the same level as his slider as of late. I’ll be focusing on the two, ideally watching their command improve through the game.
  • It’s becoming judgment day for Kenta Maeda as managers are ready to push him back to the wire, though his splitter and fastball command was much improved in the 5 IP, 3 ER game against the White Sox. I completely understand if you’d rather bench and wait-and-see.


  • Matthew Boyd could be higher on this list, though I am worried that he isn’t getting whiffs on that slider yet. There is more risk facing this volatile Cubs lineup then his ERA would let you know.
  • It’s been a rocky season for Nathan Eovaldiwho has expressed both weak and strong secondary pitches through the year. It’s unclear exactly what will show up against the Angels, but this could still help your squads.


  • With zero 20%> rostered players in the first three tiers, my reluctant streamer of the day is Luke Weaver against the Nationals. He had solid fastball/changeup command last time, but the Marlins aren’t the hardest team to overcome. It’ll be a bit trickier against the Nationals.
  • It’s great to see Ryan Weathers getting a start again, though I don’t anticipate he’s closed to stretched out yet. Once he is, he’ll be on my radar and who knows, maybe he can go a decent amount on Sunday.


Today’s Starting Pitcher Rankings

Tomorrow’s Starting Pitcher Rankings


  • We’re still in the dark about a lot of these starts, so monitor the news closely for tomorrow.
  • Max Fried should be getting the rock for Atlanta and after looking like an ace in his previous outing, you should feel confident starting him indefinitely. I expect him to get the AGA label soon.


  • Yusei Kikuchi is throwing harder than ever and mixing in effective cutters and sliders. A date with the Tigers (who struggle even more against lefties!) makes him a consideration even from the first tier.
  • We haven’t seen Sonny Gray get comfortable with his slider yet, but he should still be worth your time as a right-hander facing the Giants.


  • Despite featuring just two pitches, Adbert Alzolay has gotten the most out of them, featuring his filthy slider nearly 50% of the time and peppering the zone with 93-94 mph fastballs. The Nationals are far from the most intimidating of arms and with Alzolay’s strikeout potential, he pushed into the second tier, earning the streaming pick of the day.
  • It’s unclear to me if Alex Cobb will have “The Thing” working for him against Cleveland, though I understand if many feel comfortable squaring off against the mediocre offense.


  • It may be weird to see the hot Taijuan Walker in the third tier, but his success relies heavily on his fastball performance and I have a feeling Atlanta is up to the task. You’ll likely be starting him if you roster him, but it’s not a clear-cut decision.
  • I’m incredibly tempted to start Madison Bumgarner despite having a date with the Dodgers. His fastball velocity was its highest of the year last time out, sitting above 92 mph, and success has followed as he’s put his 88/89 mph fastball from 2020 in the rearview mirror.


  • It’s a road start for Jon Graywhich could mean it’s an opportunity for success…even if it’s the Padres. Far from my favorite play, but I recognize some may want to give it a shot against a lineup dealing with COVID.
  • Logan Webb had his changeup in his previous outing, displaying the upside that caused plenty of hype in March, but Cincinnati is a terrible place to pitch and we just don’t know if that slow ball will return.


  • I’m a bit intrigued to see more of Sam Hentgesbut he’s not fully stretched out and the Angels are a solid crew. Still, monitor this start. He could be getting close to the point where we’d stream him.
  • Jon Lester isn’t the worst play if you’re in a Quality Start league, though the floor is too low for me to consider in your standard 12-teamers.


Tomorrow’s Starting Pitcher Rankings

Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire | Design by Quincey Dong (@threerundong on Twitter)

Nick Pollack

Founder of Pitcher List. Creator of CSW, The List, and SP Roundup. Worked with MSG, FanGraphs, CBS Sports, and Washington Post. Former college pitcher, travel coach, pitching coach, and Brandeis alum. Wants every pitcher to be dope.

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