St. Louis Cardinals: Worries for Waino?


St. Louis Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright’s WHIP is nearly a half of a point higher than his career spring training average. Should Cardinal fans be worried?

Adam Wainwright surrendered four runs on seven hits in the St. Louis Cardinals’ 8-2 loss to the Washington Nationals earlier this afternoon.

Working with a 2-0 lead, Wainwright surrendered a hit in each of the first three innings, but managed to post zeros in all three frames.

In the fourth, following a leadoff single and hit by pitch, Nationals outfielder Michael Taylor drove in two with a double to left, squaring the score at 2-2.

With one out in the fifth, Wainwright allowed back-to-back hits to Bryce Harper and Ryan Zimmerman before exiting. Seth Maness would allow both of Wainwright’s runners to score in the inning.

After allowing seven hits and a walk in 4 1/3, Wainwright’s WHIP jumped to 1.67 on the spring. In his spring training career prior to 2016, that number was just 1.25.

WHIP fluctuations are a big deal, because WHIP essentially measures how much pressure (in terms of allowing runs) a pitcher gets into EACH INNING.

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So, Waino’s WHIP being just half a point higher may not sound like a big deal. But when you translate that extra half a hit to, say, a seven inning start, that’s an extra three and a half hits per time out there.

There is no way of knowing if high WHIP values in spring will carry over to the regular season for Wainwright. Back in 2009, Wainwright turned a 1.72 spring training WHIP into 19 wins and 3rd place Cy Young finish.

So, while the WHIP spike is a bit of a concern, it isn’t even close to panic time. After all, Waino has always been a guy that gives up some hits.

How he does with runners in scoring position has always been his true measure, and in allowing the opposition to hit at just a .235 clip in those situations, I’d say that Waino  has gotten the job done.

We all know that Waino is a bulldog, that he is going to go out there and give everything he has to the St. Louis Cardinals. He is the unquestioned leader on the Cardinal staff, this organization wouldn’t be where it is without him.

Wainwright very well may go out and post a WHIP in the 1.2-1.3 range this season. I guarantee you, though, he’s going to keep his team in the game more often than not. And, when the season’s over, I think that all the other numbers are going to be there.

He might not win 20 games, he’s probably not striking out 200, and I doubt that he posts an ERA in the low 2.00’s.

But, assuming that he is truly healthy again (I have no reason to think that he wouldn’t be), I know that he’s good for 200 innings, and I know that he is going to give the Cardinals a chance to win just about every time out.

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I’m not sure if Wainwright has Cy Young quality stuff any more, but I don’t think the Cards need that out of him. We all know about his leadership skills, they were on full display last summer. Now we need him as an anchor in that rotation again.

I’m willing to bet that he’ll be ready to go.