2. His arm is healthy and he’s got gas in the tank
Have people forgotten that Wainwright’s injury was not arm related?
This was an Achilles injury. Now, I’m not trying to take the injury lightly. It’s a serious one. But Wainwright proved by coming back early and pitching effectively out of the bullpen last year that his injury is healed.
The more important news is that Wainwright’s arm is fine. The last time Wainwright really struggled for a full season was in 2012 — the year he came back from Tommy John surgery. Wainwright finished 14-13 with a 3.94 ERA that season marking the first time he finished with an ERA over 3.70 since becoming a starter in 2007.
That struggle was arm related, this season it won’t be. The two seasons before and after that 2012 season Wainwright averaged 19.5 wins and a 2.59 ERA.
Wainwright isn’t injury prone either.
His two biggest injuries with the Cardinals have been the torn Achilles last season and needing Tommy John surgery in 2011. Otherwise, Wainwright has been extremely durable and reliable.
The fact is when Wainwright’s arm is healthy he is a Cy Young contender. If there’s a bright side to Wainwright missing virtually all of last season, it’s that the Cardinals’ ace is well rested going into 2016.
From 2009 to 2014 Wainwright averaged 228 innings pitched. From 2012 to 2014, Wainwright tossed 667.1 total innings, which ranks fourth in all of baseball during that span and first in the National League. Last season, Wainwright only threw 28 innings, essentially saving 200 innings on his arm. That rest will prove crucial for Adam this year.
There’s still plenty of miles left on that arm. Look for Wainwright to get back to his inning-eating days — possibly even eclipsing 230 IP in 2016.
Next: Track Record