We are finally here! The end of what is regarded as the worst St. Louis Cardinals season in over 30 years. Many fans have not experienced a time like this and are happy that it is over. Every Cardinals fan has already turned the page and is looking forward to the 2024 season. Before we let you turn the final page, let's look over every player's season and grade them. Today we are discussing the Staring Rotation.
2022 was a season for the ages. No Cardinals fan could have created a better story than how that season ended. We got to witness the reunion of Albert Pujols in St . Louis and got to watch the trio of Pujols, Molina, and Wainwright ride off into the sunset together…..
Instead, Wainwright came back for the 2023 season, which was the wrong decision. This was arguably Wainwright's worst season of his career and was arguably the worst season of any starting pitcher across Major League Baseball. The chase for 200 wins should have been exciting, but instead was painfully dragging for months. With the losses piling up, this was hindering the team more than providing a memorable milestone.
We now know Waino was pitching with a torn labrum most of the season, which makes sense, but it makes you wonder where this team would be without the pursuit of 200 through the mud. This team had many flaws that outweighed the issues with Waino, so maybe that just justifies giving Waino endless opportunities. Regardless, his final start was Waino-esque and the Cardinals legend got the send-off he desired. Enjoy retirement Adam Wainwright and thank you for the memories!
Overall Grade: D-
Mikolas being one of the few financial commitments to the pitching staff after 2023 puts pressure on him to become the veteran presence after Wainio is gone. Mikolas also got a hefty extension to keep him here into his mid-30s. With this season being what it was, it is hard to say any player had a great season. With that, the Lizard King had a pretty mediocre season. His SO/9 was the lowest it has been in his STL career, his H/9 was the highest of his STL career, and his ERA+ was the lowest of his STL career. So many underlying stats were favoring a downward trend with his performance.
One thing that hasn’t changed is the total innings pitched. Even with below-average numbers, Mikolas logged 201.1 IP which was third in the National League. It is rare to find workhorses in today’s game and the Cardinals are lucky to have one. Let's hope this season was simply an off year for Mikolas like everyone else, because he can still bring value to this team going forward.
Overall Grade: C