St. Louis Cardinals Player Projections: Adam Wainwright

SAN DIEGO, CA - MAY 13: Adam Wainwright #50 of the St. Louis Cardinals pitches during the first inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres at PETCO Park on May 13, 2018 in San Diego. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
SAN DIEGO, CA - MAY 13: Adam Wainwright #50 of the St. Louis Cardinals pitches during the first inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres at PETCO Park on May 13, 2018 in San Diego. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images) /
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Adam Wainwright will always be remembered for the performance in the 2006 World Series with the St. Louis Cardinals. What does he have left for 2019?

The big 12-6. The ole’ Uncle Charlie. The big knee buckler. Don’t worry I hate me too. Adam Wainwright will forever be known for his signature pitch that has remained his strength from the beginning of his career when he worked his way to closer’s role, to now, when his role is more or less undefined with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2019.

2018 was a tumultuous year for Wainwright as he only made 8 total starts while dealing with injuries and problems for most of the year. From spring training on, the thoughts in the back of everyone’s minds were, “is this the last year for Waino?” but he came out in spring training and right away said he was not going to discuss retirement in any capacity.

There was one point in the season where I thought for sure Waino was done. After a particularly bad start that he made while the hot hand of a stellar Jack Flaherty sat on the bench, he had a completely different tone after the game. Waino sounded defeated. It was depressing. But from this low point, Waino came back and showed a lot of life in September.

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This is what he said after a start at the end of September, “The way I’m feeling now, if that is my last start, it would be kind of hard to walk away knowing how I’m feeling right now.” And with that, he more or less made up his mind that he would explore staying at whatever price or role the Cardinals would take him.

2018 very well could’ve been the last year of the 37-year-old’s career but right at the beginning of the offseason, the Cardinals decided to bring back Waino on a much more team friendly deal. At the base of the deal, it is just for one year and $2M, but offers a ton of bonuses at different levels that make the max value of the deal more than $10M.

As Waino comes back for his 15th year with the Cardinals, let’s take a look at what ZiPS expects.

PlayerERAGIPBB/9ERA+WAR
Adam Wainwright 4.301996.32.99930.9

Michael Girsch said earlier this offseason that Waino will be expected to be in the starting rotation at the beginning of the year, which barring any more signings, seems like the right way to do it.

ZiPS projects him to make 18 total starts while going only 96.3 innings. If Waino makes 18 starts, I would hope he would pitch more than that inning total. Overall, I feel like these projections are pretty bullish on Waino especially after how injured and challenged he was in 2018. If the Cardinals got a 93 ERA+ and 0.9 WAR out of Waino, I don’t see how they could be upset with him at his price.

Whether or not he will be unseated by one of the young guys (Austin Gomber, Dakota Hudson, Alex Reyes, Daniel Ponce De Leon or Ryan Helsley) remains to be seen, but even in a bullpen role, I would love to see Waino contribute on the field and off with the team this year.

My Prediction: 20 G, 120 IP, 4.8 ERA, 79 ERA+

Next. Player Projections: Miles Mikolas. dark

I’m gonna say the same thing I said before with my Yadi projection. Enjoy the time that Waino has left with the St. Louis Cardinals. While he may not be a National Hall of Famer, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Waino enshrined in the Cardinals Hall of Fame as a player who is the 3rd longest tenured Cardinal.

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