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8/30/1981 (35 y, 5 m, 22 d)
2000 June Amateur Draft - Round: 1, Pick: 29, Overall: 29, Team: Atlanta Braves
$97.5M / 5 Years (2014 - 2018)
Wainwright "looked great" while throwing to hitters for the first time Sunday, Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. (2/19/2017)
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Checking in on Adam Wainwright's Curveball
Corinne Landrey (FanGraphs)
(Click Year to Expand /
Year in Review:
After an injury-shortened 2008, Wainwright was better than ever in 2009. In 2009, Wainwright pitched a career-high 233 innings, winning 19 games and posting an ERA of 2.63. In those innings, Wainwright struck out 212 batters and walked 66, factoring into a WHIP of 1.21 on the year. He battled with teammate Chris Carpenter for the NL Cy Young award, finishing third behind Tim Lincecum and Carpenter. Wainwright is a rare pitcher who is successful despite his fastball, instead of being successful because of it. Wainwright’s curve was the best in the league last year, and his slider graded out in the top five, as well. Every pitch Wainwright throws has movement, as he rarely throws a straight fastball, instead primarily using a sinker.
The Year Ahead:
Wainwright is primed for another great season in 2010. With good run support from his teammates, he should be a good source of wins again this year, assuming his bullpen can hold the leads he provides them. A strikeout pitcher with a high ground-ball rate is hard to find, and Wainwright is one of the few who fits that description. Because of this, it is a safe bet that his ERA and WHIP will stay in their normal range, making him a top 10 starter in 2010. Wainwright’s season was no fluke, so don’t fool yourself into thinking it was. Wainwright will likely be the best big time pitcher who is still a value, so don’t be afraid to snatch him up and make him your ace. (Zach Sanders)
Adam Wainwright remains one of the premier pitchers in the National League. Last year saw another ace-quality season, as Wainwright won 20 games and posted a 2.42 ERA. The peripheral numbers were right there as well, as Wainwright struck out 8.3 batters per nine innings and posted a 2.86 FIP. It was the same methodical kind of performance that we've learned to expect year in and year out. On top of that, Wainwright brought another huge inning total, making 33 starts and throwing 230 innings for the second season in a row. Although it's never a good idea to bank on win totals or ERA totals like Wainwright posted in 2010 for a second year in a row, it's safe to expect another big season. About 180 innings, an ERA near or below 3.30, and 15 wins are very safe, conservative expectations and would already make him a top-flight starting pitcher. Wainwright also features excellent control and will help in WHIP, and his strikeout abilities combined with his high volume of innings make him one of the best for racking up strikeouts as well. Wainwright is worthy of an early pick in any fantasy league. (Jack Moore)
The Quick Opinion:
Wainwright remains an elite starting pitcher. Look for another 200 IP, 3.00 ERA type season out of the Cardinals ace.
We don't seem to worry about Tommy John surgeries any more, but if there is one piece of conventional wisdom regarding the surgery, it is that the velocity comes back first -- and the control comes next. That could be a little scary for the Cardinal's hurler, as a big part of his excellence has come from the fact that he's walked a full batter per nine inninings fewer than league average over the last three years. He strikes guys out -- over eight per nine over the last two years -- but his swinging strike rate usually hovers around league average. He gets ground-balls -- over 50% the last two years -- but his career average is only 'above-average' (49.1%). That control is his elite skill. Without it, he'll still be an above-average pitcher. With it, he could be a fantasy ace for you. The best strategy puts Wainwright early in the second tier of starting pitchers -- if you pick him as your second starter, you'll have a chance at two aces, and you'll also mitigate your risk. (Eno Sarris)
The Quick Opinion:
Tommy John surgery isn't the scary thing it used to be -- Adam Wainwright could be as good as new in 2012. Then again, there is some risk involved, so take him as your second starter to hedge your bets.
It took Wainwright about a month to get settled after his return from Tommy John surgery last spring, but by the end of the season it was as if he had never left. His early struggles kept his ERA up at 3.94, but he posted a 3.10 FIP on the season and a 3.28 ERA in the second half. His peripherals were nearly indistinguishable from his 2010 Cy Young runner up season. Wainwright isn't quite in the first tier of pitchers -- the Verlanders and the Kershaws -- but he isn't far behind. Any team -- fantasy or real -- can thrive with him as its top starting pitcher. And he'll cost a little less, which is always nice. (Jack Moore)
The Quick Opinion:
Wainwright looked like a staff ace in the second half of the season and posted peripherals indistinguishable from his best seasons in his first year back from Tommy John surgery. He'll work as a team's best starter.
In 2005, Wainwright threw two innings. He faced nine batters, and while he retired six of them, three reached base, and all three scored. That abbreviated "season" marked the first and last time that Wainwright posted a FIP- worse than 90. Put another way -- In each of the seven full seasons of Wainwright's career, he has been at least 10 percent better than league average, and in most cases far better than that. Last season was likely his peak, as his 70 FIP- was sixth-best in baseball. He set a career high in strikeouts, was 26th in the majors in K% and he tied for first overall in BB% with Cliff Lee and David Price. The latter is the most astounding. Wainwright has always had good control, but he had maintained a walk rate in the 6.2-6.8 percent range for four years running. Cutting another two and a half percent off of that mark to get it down to 3.7% is unheard of, and probably won't continue. What should continue however is Wainwright being one of the ten-best pitchers in the game. And since St. Louis should once again have a strong squad, he is also a great bet to pile on the wins, which will be a far-too-important factor for most of you. Simply, Wainwright is the entire package. Don't pass on him if you get the chance.
The Quick Opinion:
Wainwright continues to show no wear or tear following his Tommy John surgery, and had Clayton Kershaw not been head and shoulders above everyone on earth in terms of throwing a baseball to a certain spot, Wainwright would have been a legitimate contender for the National League Cy Young Award. Expect that to remain true in 2014, as Wainwright is one of the few true aces in the game today.
Has there ever been a quieter "full season missed due to serious arm injury" than Adam Wainwright's 2011? In three seasons since, he's barely missed a beat, and his 2014 ended with a fourth top-three Cy Young finish. While Wainwright has done it a little differently -- he's largely ditched his sinker in favor of more cutters and four-seamers -- he's still one of the few true "aces" in baseball. But if you're looking for reasons to be worried, Wainwright's 2014 provided several, despite the positive overall numbers. His strikeout percentage fell to 19.9%, the lowest it had been since 2008 despite the rest of baseball whiffing more often, and he had some dreadful moments both in July and October. More concerning, after battling an elbow issue for much of the second half, he had offseason surgery to "trim the cartilage." Wainwright is reportedly expected to be fine for 2015, but after more than 500 innings the last two years and over 700 since his Tommy John surgery, there's always going to be concern about the condition of his arm. (
The Quick Opinion:
Adam Wainwright had another outstanding season, which masked some real concerns about the condition of his arm and his ability to miss bats. That said, even a diminished Wainwright is still one of baseball's best pitchers.
Through four innings in his fourth start of the season last year, Adam Wainwright had pitched 25 innings, struck out 18 and walked just three batters. His ERA stood at 1.44 with a 2.05 FIP, and he looked to be well on his way to another excellent season. He then injured his Achilles running out of the box, had surgery and missed almost the entire rest of the season. He came back and pitched a total of 8.1 innings out of the bullpen between the regular season and the playoffs, striking out eight, walking one, and giving up two runs. His fastball was hittting the mid-90s out of the pen, but as a starter he should settle back into the low-90s for his fastball. His curve will still be his calling card, but his cutter has been his most-used pitch in each of the last three seasons. The cutter is not terrible for swings and misses, but also tends to get quick ground ball outs. Optimistically, the missed time last year was not due to an arm problem, and one can view the time off as a rest on Wainwright's arm after averaging more than 250 innings pitched per season over the previous two season, including playoffs. At 34 years old, it seems unlikely that he will be able to recapture the form that made him one of baseball's very best pitchers, but with his innings, he should post average to above average strikeouts numbers, keep runners off the bases, and put up an ERA and FIP in the mid-to-low threes. (Craig Edwards)
The Quick Opinion:
After missing almost all of 2015 with an Achilles injury, Wainwright enters 2016 with some question marks. Expecting an immediate return to dominance is a bit much, but the 34-year-old should still have plenty in the tank.
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Updated: Tuesday, February 21, 2017 3:33 AM ET
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