St. Louis Cardinals: Giving the 2019 roster their final letter grades
Jack Flaherty: A+
2019 was the year that fans saw Jack Flaherty become the unquestioned ace that we saw glimpses of last year. With one of the most dominant second halves in history, Flaherty’s 0.91 ERA and 0.715 WHIP over his final 15 starts may have jumped him into Cy Young voting and at least proved his worth to the Cardinals.
Miles Mikolas: C
Miles Mikolas didn’t have as a great of a year as he did in 2018, but he was still a very solid 2-3 starter for the St. Louis Cardinals. His 4.16 ERA jumped up from 2018, but in putting up 32 starts without injury, he ate a lot of important innings and made some big starts down the stretch. The 31-year-old won’t be a free agent until 2024 after signing his extension and if he can repeat this year, it’ll be money well spent by the Cardinals.
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Dakota Hudson: A-
Hudson went from a big unknown after winning a rotation spot out of the spring into being one of the team’s most consistent starters. His rookie season saw the 25-year-old put up a 3.35 ERA and be among the league leaders in groundball rate. His peripherals weren’t great (high WHIP, -1.58 difference between FIP and ERA), but for his rookie season throwing more innings than he has in his life, it was a great year for Hudson.
Adam Wainwright: B+
Another player with a big question mark next to his name, Wainwright disproved all the haters at the age of 38 and proved he still had it. While his road ERA brings his grade down some, you can’t ask for more than a 2.65 ERA at home over the 16 starts he made. I would expect he comes back next year on a similar deal that he was signed to in 2019.
Michael Wacha: D+
In his final year with the Cardinals, Michael Wacha saw himself get removed from the starting rotation about three times and underperform across the board. This is an almost fitting end to a disappointing Cardinal career for Wacha as the player so full of promise in 2013 never really shined through consistently. I wish the best to Mr. Wacha but I believe the Cardinals can find someone to better fill that spot.
Daniel Ponce de Leone: B+
Ponce de Leone sits in the same boat as Lane Thomas or Randy Arozarena as discussed above. His eight starts he made this year and five other appearances led to a 116 ERA+ over just under 50 innings. The 27-year-old just couldn’t find a spot to stick permanently regardless of his performance. It makes it seem like he may not be part of the team’s long term plans.