The Cardinal Nation blog

Brian Walton's news and commentary on the St. Louis Cardinals (TM) and their minor league system

TCN blog 2013 top story #5: Wainwright’s continuing leadership

Adam Wainwright first made the news in the spring of 2013 by resolving his lingering contractual uncertainty. The right-hander signed the longest-duration contract for a pitcher in St. Louis Cardinals team history. The five-year deal will cover the 2014-2018 seasons and will pay him $97.5 million, another club record for a pitcher.

Named the opening day starter in the absence of injured veteran Chris Carpenter, Wainwright went on to demonstrate he is worthy of the commitment. Yet with all the focus on rookies like Shelby Miller during the season and Michael Wacha in September and through the post-season, it can be easy to overlook exactly how important Wainwright was to the 2013 Cardinals.

The Georgia native led the staff in starts (34 – tied for first in MLB), quality starts (26), wins (19 – tied for first in the NL) and average innings per start (7.0). Most importantly, the Cardinals won over two-thirds of the games he started, 23 to be exact.

The 32-year-old was a true workhorse, throwing an MLB-high 241 2/3 innings, an MLB-best five complete games, and tied for first in the NL with two shutouts. Wainwright finished third in the league with 219 strikeouts and had 10 starts with no walks issued. He was second in the NL with just 1.3 free passes per nine innings.

Wainwright’s contributions were especially important given the overall youth of the Cardinals 2013 staff. In fact, 67 of the Cardinals’ 162 games were started by pitchers age 25 or younger. By the time the regular season concluded, veterans Jaime Garcia and Jake Westbrook had long since joined Carpenter on the sidelines, leaving the four non-Wainwright starters with less than six total years of MLB experience among them.

Wainwright was chosen by his peers to be a member of the National League All-Star Team, his second selection, and was NL Pitcher of the Month in June. The Georgia native led his club to the best regular-season record in the Senior Circuit and was named the League Division Series Most Valuable Player by The Cardinal Nation. Following the World Series, Wainwright picked up his second Gold Glove Award and finished second in the NL Cy Young Award balloting for a second time.

With his new contract, Wainwright should be around to accrue many more accolades, mentor other young pitchers and hopefully spur his team to additional championships in the future.

Link to The Cardinal Nation Blog’s top 20 stories of the year countdown

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18 Responses to “TCN blog 2013 top story #5: Wainwright’s continuing leadership”

  1. [...] emergence 7. Miller’s puzzling rookie year 6. La Russa’s unanimous Hall selection 5. Wainwright’s continuing leadership 4. 3. 2. [...]

  2. crdswmn says:

    And as the resident highest paid player by AAV, Waino will now be the target of excessive criticism, blame and censure for every game he doesn’t meet lofty expectations.

    No doubt Matt Holliday will welcome the company. Is there such a thing as “not being clutch” for a pitcher? Perhaps “not being an ace” is the pitcher version?

    • Brian Walton says:

      Unrealistic expectations? Another on-target point.

      • crdswmn says:

        We are all capable of having them. It’s when continuing to keep them beyond all reason and sense that it becomes a problem.

      • blingboy says:

        If I expect a $19.5 Million guy to be 39 times as good as a $500,000 guy, is that unreasonable?

        • blingboy says:

          It is reasonable to expect him to be better though, right?

          • crdswmn says:

            It is reasonable to expect him to pitch at or near the level of pitching he has maintained over his career.

            Mike Trout is arguably the best player in baseball, who makes $510,000 /yr. There are many players who make much more that are much worse players than him. That is the system that is in place, and expecting miraculous changes in talent and performance based on raises in salary is not only unrealistic, it’s nuts.

            If you don’t like the salary system, take it up with MLB and the MLBPA. Bitching about individual players changes nothing.

            • blingboy says:

              I’m not a Wainy basher, but if that pop-up had bounced off his head all bets would be off. :)

              I am interested to see how things play out over the next few years, with Adam making as much as the rest of the pitching staff combined. If he can maintain his effectiveness for 3 or 4 years I don’t see a problem. He is also the kind of guy you want on your team, we all know that already. But there is the chance he could turn into the 3rd or 4th best starter pretty quick. I’m not sure how that would play out.

              On another note, we will have to see just how involved Carp actually turns out to be. Guys who have made $100M don’t usually end up wanting a full time job.

  3. crdswmn says:

    On the subject of pitchers, does anyone think Jake Westbrook will find a job? He has not been mentioned at all in the media as being considered by any team. It’s as if he has fallen off the planet.

    You would at least think some team would consider him on a minor league deal.

  4. JumboShrimp says:

    Jake might land $3MM from the Indians.

  5. Bw52 says:

    I saw the headline and I knew who would be here posting.

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