Raise your hand if you’ve had constant headaches in the pitching department this season. If your hand is up (you know it is) then hopefully my daily streaming pitcher rankings can help set things right.
To stream or not to stream is an age-old fantasy dilemma. However, that question is one for the beginning of the season not for when your squad is clawing and scratching to get into the playoffs. This is the time when risk and reward are at their maximum, some dreams may be realized while others are certain to be crushed. It’s a bumpy road that’s filled with potholes and booby traps and one that is not for the faint of heart, but with some courage and know-how and not an insignificant amount of good luck, you can come out on the other side with some wins in your pocket and a smile on your face.
In an effort to aid your quest, we’ve put together some daily streaming pitcher ranks. Good luck with those waiver wires!
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Daily Starting Pitcher Rankings for August 21
It’s hard to call any match-up a sure thing but the following guys are ones that have the talent to have a dominant outing.
Blake Snell’s continued run of dominance continued last week. He hasn’t allowed more than THREE runs in a game since May 19. Would you rather start Snell or Spencer Strider in a match against an average lineup right now? The answer is much tougher now than it was even a month ago.
The White Sox have become my favorite team to target while streaming. Luis Castillo faces as easy an assignment as one gets in MLB these days. Doesn’t hurt that he is on the same team as Julio Rodriguez who is absolutely out of his mind right now.
Jordan Montgomery has looked great in the first three starts with his new squad, hurling 18 innings while striking out 20 batters and issuing only 2 walks. He’s not the model of consistency that we normally look for in this tier but that Texas offense is so good, I wouldn’t think twice about putting Montgomery in my lineup.
The Fun Dice Rolls
With every game started, there is inherent risk. These pitchers, along with the parks in which they are playing and the teams they are facing, provide as much insurance as possible.
Mannnnn, Aaron Nola makes it really hard to love him, doesn’t he? Mr. Nola, the fantasy community is ready to embrace you with open arms, if you could just put together a stretch of quality-ish starts. He’s given up four or more runs in THIRTEEN of his 25 starts and has only gone more than three games in a row without giving up four once, way back in April. When he’s good, he’s great. When he’s okay, he is just not good enough. The Giants are a lackluster offensive bunch so he is still a go but the apprehension is real.
Full disclosure: this was written before the Braves starter was announced, which is sub optimal. But that team is so damn good that I’d put any of their starters in this slot since they are facing the Mets in Atlanta.
Michael Wacha is having the best pitching season that no one is talking about. Over 90 innings, the tall righty has amassed nine quality starts with a 3.65 FIP (2.68 ERA) to go with a 3:1 K:BB ratio. He’s a solid pick against Miami.
I have been burned so many times by James Paxton that I always struggle to rank him correctly; today is the day I let go of that bias in my daily streaming pitcher rankings. Paxton has been very very good this season, that is just a fact that I need to accept. Taking down the Astros is still a tall order, let’s see if the big lefty is up to the task.
The Not-So-Sure Things
This is a mixed bag of hunches, streamers, and inconsistent results. Be advised, dipping into this well one too many times can cause severe consternation and heartbreak.
Javier Assad has been awesome for the Cubs since being stretched from an opener and draws a Tigers team that is better than you think, as Detroit has been 8th in team OPS over the last two weeks. Assad benefited from some great batted ball luck in his two solid starts (7 IP .174 BABIP, 6 IP .188 BABIP) so proceed with caution as those numbers will regress to the mean at some point in the near future.
The Angels and Reds game is a clash of uncertainties. Nothing seems very fun in Anaheim nowadays as it’s truly a bummer the way that the Angels trade deadline push proved to be too-little-too-late, as many of us thought. I can’t imagine what it must feel like to be an Angels fan, watching what assuredly seems to be the last six weeks of Shohei being on your favorite team. Rough stuff. Which brings us to Giolito, I am starting him if I need the volume but doing some digging to find out if I can find a way to work around it.
Graham Ashcraft takes the mound for the Reds. Since a six-run blowup on June 30, the Reds hurler has been cruising along with 58 IP and a 2.17 ERA, en route to three wins. Take a peek behind those numbers, though, and there are major problems. He sports a wildly unsustainable 90% left-on-base percentage as well as a .241 BABIP along with a 4.49 FIP. He’s only struck out 38 batters but has walked 18. This feels like a blow-up waiting to happen.
I just don’t trust Cristian Javier at all. Low strikeouts, not a great walk rate, and doesn’t go deep into games. Even though Boston’s season is done, they still have a ton of talent in that lineup. It’s very likely that Javier walks out of this game with a W, but the ratios will almost assuredly be bad.
The Only If You Musts
Sometimes you are in a position, where you need any pitching you can get. Cross your fingers and hope for the best with this group.
Alex Faedo is not a great fantasy asset. It’s hard to pick up wins as a Tiger starter. He also rarely makes it past six, so QS are also not a possibility. Add in less than a strikeout an inning and you’ve got yourself some true waiver fodder.
I have used Paul Blackburn in some spots this season, he’s not the worst option some days. The Royals have quietly been much better offensively, mostly on the shoulders of burgeoning superstar Bobby Witt Jr. It just has the vibe of a bad bet.
The Hail Marys
If you need an absolute miracle. here are your options.
Acquired in the Jack Flaherty trade with Baltimore, Drew Rom gets the call to the majors to face the Pirates in Pittsburgh. He’s been fine in the minors this season but not spectacular. Fastball is bad, slider is good, the command is slightly above average. Since coming to the Cards his strikeout has raised three percentage points, however, that is much too small a size to put much stock in the numbers.
Just Don’t Do It
Like, seriously, stop thinking about it.
The rest of today’s list consists of tilted matchups or openers, skip them and focus on tomorrow’s batch of starting pitchers.
Thanks as always for stopping by, we’ll be back tomorrow! If you have any thoughts, suggestions, or ideas, or just want to drop a virtual high-five, send a note to loogydo[email protected] and give us a follow on Twitter @LDeePee