St. Louis Cardinals right-hander Adam Wainwright received multiple Cy Young votes while finishing seventh in the National League voting.
When the St. Louis Cardinals brought back Adam Wainwright for the 2021 season, they hoped he could replicate his numbers from the COVID-shortened 2020 season.
Not only did Wainwright do that, he was even better in 2021. While he posted a 3.15 ERA in 10 starts in 2020, he put up a 3.05 ERA in 32 starts in 2021 — and it earned him multiple fifth place votes in the National League Cy Young race.
Wainwright accomplishing this in his age-40 season, especially when his career appeared on the verge of being over after 2018, feels like it’s going underappreciated. Especially since he was in the same conversation as Corbin Burnes, Max Scherzer and Zack Wheeler, who all posted career seasons in 2021.
Without Wainwright, the Cardinals’ rotation likely falls apart. For most of the season, they were without Jack Flaherty, Miles Mikolas and Kwang Hyun Kim. Wainwright kept the unit together, shining in the biggest moments, and putting them in position to pull off a historic upset against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the wild card round, only for Alex Reyes to surrender the game-losing home run to Chris Taylor.
Bringing Wainwright back for the 2022 season was a must for the Cardinals and they made it their top priority along with re-signing Yadier Molina. With the two back for what will be their final seasons in MLB, with Wainwright earning $17.5 million, the Cardinals’ rotation will be in very good shape. It should be even better, considering that they are looking for upgrades in free agency.
But Wainwright will be a focal point of the rotation, stepping into the No. 2 spot behind Flaherty. There will once again be skeptics that believe he won’t be able to replicate his 2021 numbers, but if his 16-year career has taught us anything, it’s to never underestimate him.
The last two seasons have been the perfect reminder.