2014: Adam Wainwright (6.4)
And now emerges the Cardinals’ ace. Adam Wainwright was spectacular in 2014. Waino posted a stellar 2.38 ERA through 227 innings pitched, throwing 3 shutouts and recording his only 20-win season. Unfortunately, he fell short of the Cy Young to Clayton Kershaw, who was en route to an MVP (and a spectacular Postseason collapse), and also Johnny Cueto. However, 2014 Waino should not be overlooked, and his dominance was electric.
A magical 2006 World Series run, breaking the all-time record for starts as a battery with Yadier Molina, and the newest member of the 200-win club. It’s impossible to tell the story of the St. Louis Cardinals without the illustrious career of Adam Wainwright. But some of these next players? Yeah, let’s get weird.
2015: Jason Heyward (6.9)
Wait what? For a team that won 100 games, surely there was a player more valuable than Jason Heyward, right? Following the tragic passing of top outfield prospect Oscar Taveras in the 2014 offseason, the Cardinals needed a right fielder. The Cardinals acquired Heyward (and reliever Jordan Walden) from the Braves for Shelby Miller and Tyrell Jenkins. Despite putting up solid offensive numbers in 2015 with a .797 OPS and 117 OPS+, Heyward’s value came with the glove. In terms of WAR, Heyward put up by far the best defensive season of his career with 2.3 defensive WAR en route to his second Gold Glove.
Unfortunately, most Cardinals fans probably know Heyward from his tenure with the Cubs, as Heyward would head to Chicago in free agency at the end of the season.