SP Matchups & Streamer Rankings – 5/20 & 5/21

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


  • It’s the opposite of ace day here as our auto-starts don’t have a single arm with an AGA label. Some days it’s just how it is.
  • Between Tyler Mahle and Sandy Alcantarait’s a close call who gets the #1 spot, and I’m giving the nod to Alcantara, who I’m not overthinking after dealing with a traumatic inning against the Dodgers last time out. The chances of something like that happening again are very slim as I somehow find a way to speak it into existence now. I’m so sorry.


  • Kicking off the second tier is Domingo German, who has been in a rhythm with his curveball and gets the mediocre Rangers crew. Given the lack of strong options to contend in the tier, he’s the clear top choice.


  • The same goes for Jose Berrios as he is failing to get into a proper groove. His curveball is performing well, but oddly it’s his fastball that has held him back across the last few weeks. I imagine the pitch will return in this start or next.
  • About a day ago, Rich Hill was well under the 20% rostered threshold, but he’s now near 30% given this outing against the Orioles. If you’ve got him, let him fly as he’s allowed to go 100 pitches and is earning whiffs on his 89 mph fastball. You love to see it.


  • The streaming pick of the day is Vince Velasquez against the Marlins. His pitch count is high enough and the Marlins are far from a dangerous offense, even with Jazz Chisholm back on the field. I think this one can work well for you and I’d stream him where I could.
  • Luis Garcia is fresh off a successful start against the Rangers and sadly misses a repeat by just one day, though I think his stuff is good enough to provide at least five quality frames against the Athletics. It’s a small margin for error though, pushing him into the third tier.


  • I’m not in love with this Drew Smyly start against the Pirates, but he just took down the Brewers and his stuff is good enough to take advantage. There are many from the fourth tier that would escalate above him if they had a decent matchup, to put this in perspective.
  • Griffin Canning is performing better with his breakers and he has had success against strong teams as of late. Still, the Twins provide a decent challenge presenting plenty of hesitation.


  • It’s too bad that Steven Matz, Dane Dunningand Cole Irvin all face powerful lineups – all of them would be comfortably placed in the third tier if they had a decent matchup. I’d avoid all of these as the floor is incredibly low.
  • I can see some desperately chasing Dean Kremer or Joe Ross given the matchup but they just don’t provide enough upside to justify their risk.


Today’s Starting Pitcher Rankings

Tomorrow’s Starting Pitcher Rankings


  • We have a somewhat balanced set of tiers today with a quintet of arms leading off today’s rankings. There may be some heightened concern with Aaron Nola facing the Red Sox or Tyler Glasnow enduring Dunedin, but this is why they have the AGA label – you should still start them.
  • Ian Anderson and Pablo Lopez each normally sit in the second tier and they are getting a taste of the top as they face below-average lineups. Don’t forget, the Mets are dealing with a slew of injuries at the moment.


  • The second tier leads with one of the early fantasy MVPs of the season in Carlos Rodón as he squares off against the Yankees. His slider and changeup weren’t as effective as previous outings last time out, though his heater is still sitting 95 mph. It’ll be a challenge as he heads to the Bronx, but this should still help your teams.
  • Kyle Hendricks has suggested he’s returned across after eight phenomenal frames against the Tigers and he should be cleared by fantasy managers everywhere as he gets the Cardinals.


  • It’s a Stephen Strasburg sighting! He should be returning against Baltimore and while it feels like a Still ILL in the sense that I expect a diminished pitch count, his quality should still be good enough to warrant a start.
  • I know it’s the Astros, but Kyle Gibson is on such a roll that you just can’t say no. This is a true Vargas Rule and you must obey.


  • In the third tier, despite how well Alex Wood has been performing, it’s a tough ask expect it to keep cruising as he faces the Dodgers. I understand those who can’t hesitate with their faith and I have to acknowledge the risk involved here.
  • Kenta Maeda gets a great matchup against Cleveland, but with the way he hasn’t gotten the same results on this slider and splitter this year, I know many are placing him on the bench until they get the results. I’m letting him fly, personally, and it’s your call.


  • The last three of this tier could all conceivably be in the final tier and I have zero qualms with those who disagree (I very rarely do! That’s the fun of this.). Tyler Anderson has pitched surprisingly well through the first seven weeks of the season, albeit stumbling in his last outing. Now against Atlanta, it’s a tough call as he could regain his footing or instead continue the spiral to fantasy irrelevance.
  • Jeff Hoffman becomes the reluctant streamer of the day as he’s served a delicious matchup against the Brewers – even if Christian Yelich has returned. I generally don’t love Hoffman’s repertoire, but there are worse options for Friday.


  • Speaking of which, I’m electing to stay away from a pair of pitchers with solid matchups. José Ureña faces the Royals but has recently failed to keep his seven-inning promise he established in April. The floor is simply too low.
  • Mike Minor seems to be a perfect fit against Detroit as that lineup has notoriously struggled against southpaws, though they beat up Minor earlier in the year and Mike is still shoving 90/91 mph fastballs instead of the ~93 mph heater we saw in the spring. This seems dangerous.


  • Watching Jose Quintana feature a fantastic curveball down in the zone one start, then have a four-seamer perfectly placed at the top of the zone in another is maddening and makes me wonder if he can one combine the two for a moment of glory. A man can dream, can’t he?


Tomorrow’s Starting Pitcher Rankings

Photo by Samuel Stringer/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.

9 responses to “SP Matchups & Streamer Rankings – 5/20 & 5/21”

  1. JR says:

    Where is Bundy?

    • B says:

      Not sure what’s up with Bundy. He was supposed to pitch today and now Quintana is pitching the 21st. Is he injured? Feels like a rash of injuries happening outside of starts.

  2. Kyle says:

    Sorry if this is the wrong place to ask, but where can I find SP schedules? Want them so I can plan starts better. Thanks as always for the great content Nick.

    • Nick Pollack says:

      Hey Kyle!

      There are two resources:

      1) This article by James Schiano who puts out a new one every two weeks. It’s not update after publication, but the schedules are generally the same and help tremendously – https://pitcherlist.com/expected-sp-schedules-who-has-the-best-matchups-weeks-6-8/

      2) Rotowire does an amazing job with their short-term probable pitchers, though it is behind a paywall. They help plenty when determining who is going today and tomorrow.

    • James Schiano says:

      What’s up Kyle! Like Nick said, I come out with a SP Schedule Preview every 2 weeks so check PL Monday morning for the next installment!

  3. john says:

    I don’t see anything about Stras returning in the next few days….are you sure?

  4. Chris says:


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