St. Louis Cardinals: Five Pitchers That Can Fill The Reyes Sized Hole
Wacha was the guy in competition for the fifth starter spot on the St. Louis Cardinals with Reyes. He is easily the frontrunner for the spot, but his injury prone history makes him an iffy option at best. That being said, he is not a bad option. When healthy he is a solid MLB starter, especially at the end of a rotation.
When Opening Day rolls around, the safe bet says Wacha will be named to the starting rotation. The 25 year old righty has a career ERA of 3.74. Last season he was less than stellar with a 5.09 ERA in 138 innings. In all likelihood, with a healthy Reyes, Wacha would have settled into a long relief role.
As mentioned before, the biggest problem with Wacha is his health. Last season he missed time with a shoulder injury, which for a pitcher can turn into a death sentence. Luckily, it was not that bad. But a shoulder injuries, if chronic, will be a major problem. These problems happening to him in his mid 20s is a very discouraging sign.
Even if the rotation turns out to have Wacha at the back end, it is tough to project him staying there. Not only because of injury problems, but he will need to produce more than he showed in 2016.
It is entirely possible that his effectiveness dropped because of a nagging shoulder injury that he attempted to pitch through. So if Wacha is 100 percent to start the year, he can be expected to have a season similar to 2015, where he went 17-7 with a 3.38 ERA.
Ultimately, he needs to get the movement back on his pitches. In 2015, his strike percentage was 65 but was 63 percent in 2016. Wacha was still throwing about the same amount of strikes, meaning he was throwing pitches that didn’t move, or he was throwing too much over the big part of the plate. Something that will need to change for him to once again be an effective starter.