Right-handed pitcher Jake Woodford
Stop me if you've heard this one before, but Jake Woodford finally found a path to consistent starts once injuries to the pitchers around him began to creep up. With Adam Wainwright out of the picture, Woodford was able to slot into the rotation on a consistent basis for, really, the first time in his career.
Unfortunately, things have not gone the way anybody wanted them to for Woodford. The 26-year-old righty has allowed nine earned runs on 13 hits across two starts so far this year, good for a 9.00 ERA in nine innings. His stuff has looked way too hittable and the stats have backed that up. This is all without mentioning the fact that he has already surrendered four home runs, which is at or near the top of the league lead.
Last year was a sneak peek into what Woodford was capable of for Cardinals fans. He made 27 appearances (nearly all in relief) and had a 2.23 ERA, 3.13 FIP, and 174 ERA+. He never strikes out many batters, instead working groundballs out of them, but he did an exceptional job at limiting walks, limiting home runs, and just keeping the bases empty as often as possible during his outings.
Even in Spring Training, he looked like a man on a mission. In five outings during spring, he allowed just four earned runs in 17.2 innings (2.04 ERA) and had an impressive (for him) 9.2 SO/9 rate.
With one minor league option year tied to his name, Woodford is likely going to finish the 2023 season in Triple-A. There just isn't room for someone struggling the way he has early on if the Cardinals are serious about their playoff aspirations.