SP Matchups & Streamer Rankings – 5/17 & 5/18

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


  • 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.
  • Casey Mize gets a lovely matchup, but his volatile nature makes it still a shaky option. Hopefully he can spot that cutter and feel his splitter today.


  • 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.


Today’s Starting Pitcher Rankings

Tomorrow’s Starting Pitcher Rankings


  • We have a good amount of aces all capable of going seven frames at the top of the pack. There was a solid discussion if Julio Urias should get more love for his excellent start of the year, but don’t overlook that the Diamondbacks perform better against left-handers. Regardless, all should be strong plays today.
  • Blake Snell has been struggling this year as he hasn’t been comfortable landing his slider and curveball in the zone. However, he gets the coveted Rockie Road and should enjoy the evening.


  • Hyun Jin Ryu slides to the second tier only because he has to face the Red Sox in the horrible Dunedin park – it’s the new Coors. I’d still trust him to work his magic and do a decent job of avoiding the longball, but there’s more risk here than I’d like.
  • After a fantastic start with slider whiffs and a fastball sitting 92/93, Patrick Corbin becomes a solid play against the Cubs. There’s still a chance his last outing was a blip and not a proper turn of the corner, though I’m confident it is the latter.


  • Andrew Heaney had a rough go of it against the Astros, but he should be able to take advantage of a mediocre Cleveland lineup. This could be yet another double-digit strikeout game.
  • Jameson Taillon wasn’t at his best in his last outing against the Orioles, though I still believe he’s a pitcher who will be constantly improving through the season. A date with the Rangers is an easy call.


  • I recognize that Charlie Morton isn’t the most popular of pitchers right now, but facing a banged up Mets offense with his fastball and curveball still working well should be beneficial in all formats.
  • And hey, why wouldn’t you start JT Brubaker right now?


  • In the third tier, I’m leading off with Luis Castillo who, well, hasn’t been great. After a massive blowup in Coors, the Giants should be a welcome presence, though we’re still waiting for Castillo to get his groove back.
  • Sean Manaea was a tough call here as he faces a strong Houston squad and fresh off a disappointing outing. I still liked his velocity (91+ mph) and how his changeup & curveball performed, making me lean favorably in this one.


  • There’s a balancing act here with Michael Pineda and Anthony DeSclafani getting tougher matchups than Spencer Turnbull, Justin Dunn, John Gant, and Zach Daviesbut I trust their ability more as pitchers. Feel free to move these around as you’d like.
  • At the very least, I trust Spencer Turnbull more than the other streaming options against weak lineups, making him the streaming pick of the day. His breaker was fantastic last time out and I hope it’s here to stay.


  • In the bottom tier, it may be a shock to see Eduardo Rodriguez here but heading into Dunedin is terrible. Think of it like him heading to Coors – I don’t like it at all.
  • Matt Harvey has been oddly decent this year and maybe he can survive 5+ frames against the Rays. Maybe.


Tomorrow’s Starting Pitcher Rankings

Photo by Tom Hagerty | 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.

2 responses to “SP Matchups & Streamer Rankings – 5/17 & 5/18”

  1. Ken says:

    What are your thoughts on Nola and Bieber so recently? Performances not very good as of late.

  2. BB says:

    “It’s a road start for Jon Gray, which could mean it’s an opportunity for success” – Gray historically has been better at home than on the road in ERA (4.40 to 4.58), WHIP (1.29 to 1.38), K/W (3.5 to 2.7), opponent OPS (.734 to .755) etc. Those splits have been even more pronounced this season (ERA 2.0 home, 6.3 road, WHIP 1.0 home, 1.8 road, K/9 9.5 home, 5.4 road), though that sample size is relatively meaningless with only six home starts and two on the road.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Account / Login