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!
One note on this list: we use the Probables Grid through RosterResource via Fangraphs to populate our ranks. It’s a fantastic tool to have in your fantasy toolbox, check it out!
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 22
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 against an average lineup right now? The answer is much tougher at this point than it was even a month ago.
I’ll admit, I was one of the Justin Verlander doubters coming into this season and now find myself sitting back and enjoying a heaping plate of crow. Am I the only one who finds it kind of comforting to watch Verlander having success in an Astros uniform?
Texas is one of the scariest offenses to face but Gallen is a must-start. Tough, tough match-up for our bespectacled hero but in Zac we trust.
Gallen’s opponent tonight is Jon Gray. That Rangers offense + Arizona scuffling offense + Gray’s talent = get Gray in there.
Whatever freshman funk that Bobby Miller went through earlier this season has thoroughly evaporated, start him without thinking much about it. His strikeout stuff should play well against an impatient Cleveland lineup that has a walk rate in the bottom-5 of the league and also the lowest K rate%. The Indians come out swinging!
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.
After a rough debut followed by a demotion back down to AAA, Grayson Rodriguez has come back up and shown why he held the title of Best Pitching Prospect for the last couple of years. He has been excellent since getting back to the Show: a 2.97 FIP, 7.63 k/9, 2.65 BB/9 over 30 IP.
Yusei Kikuchi has also been absolutely dominant for most of this season:
Yusei Kikuchi holds a 2.63 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, and 28% strikeout rate across his last 13 starts.
— Nick Pollack (@PitcherList) August 21, 2023
Not much more to say here. Should be a fun one in Baltimore!
Normally I would say to wait at least a game after a guy gets off the IL before starting him. But Bryan Woo has shown enough and the White Sox are SO BAD, that I would feel optimistic about putting him on my roster.
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.
The next three guys all sit on the same “sketchy, but at least their team is better than the one they are going against” scale. Bailey Ober is boring, takes on the Brewers in the hitter’s heaven in Milwaukee. The Nats offense is sneaky good but Josiah Gray’s been awful in his last three starts and the Yanks are lacking any motivation. Bryce Elder gets to pitch for the Braves and takes on the Mets, who stink. If you’re shopping here, it’s a real take-your-pick.
Zack Littell has been serviceable in four starts since joining the Rays rotation and gets the Rockies at home. This is my sneaky play of the day.
All the best to the people in California who are dealing with some extreme weather conditions, I hope everyone is safe and managing as well as possible.
On to baseball: 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. This 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.
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.
As I said before, I truly believe that one is best served by letting any player coming off of an IL stint have a day on the bench, especially pitchers. Tanner Houck will probably only get 2-3 innings max. Not sure what to think of Carlos Rodon’s return to the Yankees rotation. I would be avoiding a start with either of these two, screams ratio sabotage to me.
Minnesota is so damn inconsistent, I wouldn’t fault you for taking a shot with Wade Miley and the Brewers here. I have done far stupider things.
The Hail Marys
If you need an absolute miracle. here are your options.
Reese Olson has started five games this season. He has only pitched into the sixth inning twice. He has given up four or more runs in four of those starts. Though he does get to pitch in cavernous Comerica Park, Olson is still a no-go for me.
It’s the opposite park factors that tell me to keep Taijuan Walker on my bench. That, and his glaring inconsistencies.
If Johan Oviedo were a smidge better, he’s vault five spots on my list, that’s how bad the Cardinals are swinging the bat right now.
Smyly has just been so so so bad this season. Take a look for yourself: it’s not pretty (NSFW)
So bummed that Jesus Luzardo has hit this wall in his breakout season. I have always had a fondness for the kid and was really enjoying his success thus far.
Just Don’t Do It
Like, seriously, stop thinking about it.
Kyle Muller against Bobby Witt Jr.? Next.
Honestly, the only thing that is worth noting in this last section is the pro debut of Kyle Harrison. Real nice way to start your big league career, with a road start against the Phillies. Woof.
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