The St. Louis Cardinals have been connected to a variety of pitchers this offseason, both through trades and free agency. Some of these pitchers are high-end, top-of-the-rotation guys, while others could be filler pieces in the middle or back of the starting rotation.
Regardless of how the team acquires these pitchers, they must be able to pitch well, especially at Busch Stadium. According to Statcast's Park Factors on Baseball Savant, St. Louis has ranked as the 20th most hitter-friendly park from 2021 to 2023. With a park factor of 99, Busch is a ballpark that slightly favors pitchers. For context, Coors Field in Colorado is the most hitter-friendly park with a park factor of 112; conversely, T-Mobile Park in Seattle is the least hitter-friendly park with a park factor of 93.
Mind you, whoever the Cardinals sign will also have to pitch frequently in other National League Central stadiums; therefore, I will also glance at pitchers' numbers in Chicago, Cincinnati, Milwaukee, and Pittsburgh to see where else they might succeed or struggle.
Let's analyze how nine pitching targets this offseason have pitched at Busch Stadium in their careers up to this point.
Michael Wacha - Free Agent
Michael Wacha pitched for the Cardinals from 2013-2019, so he has quite the game log at Busch Stadium III. In 449.2 innings, Wacha has a 3.60 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, and a 2.84 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Wacha's best season came in 2014 when he had a 2.44 ERA paired with a 1.05 WHIP in 55.1 innings. He has given up 41 home runs and batters have a .702 OPS against him in Busch.
Among stadiums where he has pitched 50 or more innings, Busch Stadium isn't his strongest. Wrigley Field is where he struggled the most with an ERA of 5.76 and a WHIP of 1.46. Should Wacha return to the St. Louis rotation, he will see some success, but he may struggle at other National League Central ballparks. For as hitter-friendly of a park Great American Ballpark is, Wacha has seen decent success there. In 63.1 innings, Wacha has a 2.56 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP; he has only given up 4 home runs in the otherwise home-run-happy GABP.