Cardinals News: Top 3 in-house Adam Wainwright injury replacements
By Eric Treuden
No. 1: RHP Jake Woodford
As of right now, Woodford seems to be the obvious candidate to take Wainwright's spot in the rotation.
Woodford, 26, has functioned as something of a swingman for the Cardinals in each of the past three seasons and has seemingly got better as he ages. After posting below-average ERA+ marks in 2020 and 2021, he excelled last year in a bullpen spot, but the expectation all along has been that he is a long-term starter.
In 27 appearances last season, he posted an impressive 2.23 ERA with a 3.13 FIP and 172 ERA+. He allowed just one home run in 48+ innings while utilizing his heavy sinker to induce a whopping 53% groundball percentage on the year. He will never blow batters away with 100mph heat, but he is a prime example of how modern-day pitchers can succeed without the heat.
Woodford has proven himself to be a solid pitcher at the major league level. He has also shown an uncanny ability to exceed as a starter and reliever, so he should get a shot at some starts during Wainwright's absence and will be able to slot right back into the bullpen upon the ace's return, proving his value to the 2023 Cardinals as a jack of all trades type of arm.