These three internal arms can replace Adam Wainwright in the Cardinals rotation after his groin injury
Wainwright, 41, was expected to be the Cardinals' Opening Day starter as he enters his 18th season in the big leagues. Instead, Miles Mikolas seems like the top candidate to start the season opener against the Toronto Blue Jays.
Fortunately for the club, there are plenty of in-house options already on hand that could slot into Wainwright's spot in the rotation.
Let's break down the Cardinals' top 3 in-house injury replacements for Adam Wainwright.
No. 3: LHP Matthew Liberatore
Entering the season, Liberatore is the No. 6 prospect in the Cardinals system according to MLB.com's latest rankings.
The 23-year-old briefly got into some big league games last season, making nine total appearances (seven starts) and going 2-2 with a 5.97 ERA, 5.02 FIP, and 65 ERA+. While these numbers don't elicit much excitement, he's been a steady contributor in the minor leagues and has the talent to crack the big league roster.
Liberatore is a strikeout artist who needs to work on keeping the ball in the ballpark more frequently. Last season, he surrendered five home runs in just 34 innings in the majors and gave up 16 longballs in the minor leagues. His 3.2 BB/9 rate in Triple-A is also worth keeping an eye on, but he is still extremely young and very much still developing.
Frankly, the crafty southpaw seems like a longshot to replace Wainwright in the rotation, but the odds are not zero. He has impressed so far in Spring Training, to the point where him making the Opening Day roster would not be much of a shock at all.