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 starting pitcher rankings can help set things right.
While pitching is always a bit of a minefield to navigate, 2023 has felt particularly trying. Constant injuries, openers, DFAs, innings rest in the minors, blisters, addiction struggles, role changes…if you could think of a way to disrupt a fantasy staff, it’s probably already happened. Fantasy ILs are at max capacity right now.
This leads us to the unenviable position of streaming. 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 starting pitcher ranks. Good luck with those waiver wires!
More great fantasy baseball advice and analysis: Waiver Wire & FAAB Recommendations | Daily MLB Injury Report | MLB DFS Picks | Line-up Analysis | Dynasty Rankings and Strategy | MLB Bullpen Updates | MLB Player Props | Prospect Rankings & Analysis | Fantasy Baseball Risers and Fallers
Daily Starting Pitcher Rankings for August 16
Star-studded top of the list today, with the biggest auto-start section that I have seen in a week.
Kevin Gausman has established himself as a top-five (top three even?) starter this season. You’re starting him every game, even against a formidable lineup like the Phillies.
Moving on to a couple of Golden Oldies, Clayton Kershaw and Justin Verlander. Verlander looks good again after he escaped New York and Kershaw is fresh off an IL reset.
Blake Snell has to be the front-runner for NL Cy Young right? Dude’s got a 1.16 ERA and a 2.79 FIP since May 25!
Would have Luis Castillo over Snell but his propensity for blowups scares me in Kauffman Stadium. But, honestly, there is no way I am benching him in any situation.
Aaron Nola has been going through a tough patch lately, still think he is a must-start though, especially in a QS league.
Our third Golden Oldie of this group, Charlie Morton, gets the Yanks in Atlanta. Morton hasn’t been great the last two times he took the mound so there is some trepidation there. However, anyone pitching with that offense supporting him is getting the call.
The Fun Dice Rolls
Though I supported the Angels for buying at the deadline, the way that their strategy is falling apart in such a slow and painful way feels inevitable and justified. Jon Gray and the Rangers take them on in Arlington in what should be an easy assignment.
Still can’t totally get behind James Paxton after his many, many injury struggles over the past several seasons. The match-up isn’t bad but if I can avoid using him here I probably would.
The Rays are going through it right now, with the ongoing Wander Franco debacle and Shane McClanahan due to miss all of next season, after opting to undergo Tommy John on Monday. Still think that Aaron Civale against the Giants in Oracle Park is a smart bet.
I wouldn’t call starting Kenta Maeda against Detroit a “fun dice roll” but I also don’t think it warrants its own section. But if I did, I would call the section “A Boring But Obvious Play”.
Now, Matthew Liberatore versus the Athletics is DEFINITELY a fun dice roll! Liberatore shoved last time out, throwing eight scoreless innings of two-hit ball while striking out seven Rays. The opponent this time around is a much easier challenge than Tampa Bay, can Liberatore do it again? Many SPs can have a great game but the good ones can repeat it.
The Not-So-Sure Things
Johan Oviedo pitching against the Mets feels like a sneaky play.
Reese Olson shined in his last start, can he keep the ball rolling? We’ll certainly take our chances against the Twins and their hot/cold/hot/injured/hot/cold offense.
Love Andrew Abbott, hate the ballpark.
MacKenzie Gore is one of the feel-good pitching stories of the year, having found some semblance of the hyped prospect from only a few seasons ago. The Phillies ate his lunch in his last start, let’s see how he responds against the Red Sox.
The Astros even without Altuve are a scary draw for Jesus Luzardo and the Marlins. Proceed with caution.
Trusting the Orioles’ offense and defense more than Dean Kremer in this ranking. He’s fine but the Padres can still rake (when they actually decide they want to, that is).
The Only If You Musts
On paper, Tylor Megill versus the Pirate looks like a good matchup. However, Megill is not a good pitcher and the Pirates (the hitters at least) are better than their record indicates. Not a match-up I am into, not at all.
Mike Clevinger could go off against the Cubs, he has that ability. I’ll let someone else take that chance on their roster, though.
Reid Detmers and Wade Miley both face daunting offenses while on the road, avoid at all costs.
Stream any and all pitchers against the punchless White Sox even a TBD for the Cubs.
The Hail Marys
Whoever gets the Rays in San Fran could be stream-worthy in the most dire of circumstances.
Just Don’t Do It
Noah Syndergaard in GABP? Not a chance that I am touching that one.
Paul Blackburn against the Cardinals, whose offense remains potent? Next.
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