The St. Louis Cardinals’ All-Time 28-Man Roster

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Oct 11, 2014; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Adam Wainwright throws a pitch against the San Francisco Giants in the first inning in game one of the 2014 NLCS playoff baseball game at Busch Stadium. Image Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Starting Pitcher #5 – Adam Wainwright

I could get a lot of flack for this, but remember we are creating a roster that is going out with the intent to dominate. This is no place for hand outs to guys like Bob Forsch, who never consistently put together “great” seasons. Adam Wainwright on the other hand is absolutely lights out when he’s on and healthy. Unfortunately, Wainwright has missed quite a bit of time due to injury in his career.

The fact that the Cardinals’ best starting pitcher of the last five years is #5 on this list, makes me realize how good we have it with Waino. However, let’s get into what makes Waino great.

Waino first came onto the scene as a September call-up in 2005, and appeared in two games and allowed three earned runs over two innings. Wainwright tells a pretty cool story about what being left off of the 2005 postseason roster meant to him. In 2006 Waino made the team out of spring training as a late innings setup man, kind of in the way that Carlos Martinez was used before this year.

In September of 2006, Jason Isringhausen was shut down due to a hip injury, and Wainwright was given the chance to become the team’s closer and he ran with it into the playoffs. This is where Waino proved he was ready to become the next great pitcher, in nine appearances that year Waino didn’t allow a single run, notching four saves, and one victory.

He closed out two of the most memorable series ending games in team history against the Mets’ Carlos Beltran and Tigers’ Brandon Inge. I will forever remember Wainwright getting Beltran to go down looking on Wainwright’s famous curveball.

The very next season Wainwright was thrust into the rotation, going 14-12 with a 3.70 ERA (3.90 FIP). He could have been better, but so could have the whole team that year. Wainwright got better though, in 2009 after an injury shortened 2008, he went 19-8 with a 2.63 ERA (3.11 FIP), and a 5.7 fWAR.

He finished third in Cy Young voting that year, as his teammate Chris Carpenter won the award. Wainwright continually improved though, finishing second the next year with an ERA of 2.42 (2.86 FIP), and an fWAR of 5.6.

Unfortunately Wainwright’s 2011 season was washed away due to Tommy John surgery on his pitching elbow. As a result of the surgery recovery, Wainwright had a down year in 2012 with an ERA of 3.94 and didn’t really look himself that year struggling throughout the season and into the playoffs.

Wainwright came back to form in 2013 and 2014 with ERAs of 2.94 and 2.38 and a total fWAR of 11.4. Wainwright was off to a flying start in this past year until he went down with the Achilles injury. Remarkably, Wainwright made it back way ahead of schedule to pitch out of the bullpen in September and October.

An overall ERA of 2.98, despite a little over two total years lost to injury is amazing and is reason to believe Adam could have his number retired by the end of his career. Hopefully, that is a few years away and Wainwright builds up a potential Hall of Fame case.

Next: Bullpen Slot #1 - John Tudor