Adam Wainwright's fantasy value continued to plummet in 2017, as the 36-year-old hurler posted career-worst marks in ERA (5.11) and WHIP (1.50) for a second consecutive season. He hasn't been the same since missing the majority of the 2015 season with a torn Achilles; in five seasons preceding the injury Wainwright held a 2.83 ERA and 1.12 WHIP, but he's seen those numbers balloon to 4.81 and 1.44, respectively, in his two post-injury campaigns. While the right-hander hasn't seen any significant dip in velocity, he's missing more spots than normal, resulting in career-worst walk and home-run rates (3.3 BB/9 and 1.0 HR/9). He was also limited to just 123.1 innings due to back and elbow injuries, with an elbow scope ending his season in September. While he's expected to be healthy and back in the starting rotation next spring, his days as a viable fantasy option could be over.
Wainwright (1-0) allowed an unearned run on four hits, a walk and a hit batsman over five innings in Wednesday's 3-1 Grapefruit League win over the Astros. He struck out three. The veteran right-hander's ERA is down to 0.84 over 10.2 spring innings following Wednesday's stellar start, one in which he served up just one extra-base hit -- a double -- and saw his four-seam fastball hit a spring high of 92 mph, Joe Trezza of MLB.com reports. The 36-year-old remains on track to serve as the No. 2 starter in the rotation behind staff ace Carlos Martinez, and his efforts over his first three spring appearances validate that standing.
Wainwright is expected to start the Cardinals' home opener April 5 against the Diamondbacks, putting him in line to open the season as the No. 2 man in the team's rotation, Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. That No. 2 label doesn't mean much with regards to Wainwright's staying power in the rotation throughout the season, as Carlos Martinez, Michael Wacha and Luke Weaver all probably enjoy more stability in their respective starting roles. The right-hander has seen his effectiveness wane while battling injuries the past two seasons, and was shuffled to the bullpen in the second half of the 2017 campaign before he was shut down with an elbow injury that required arthroscopic surgery in October. Now 36 years old and coming off a season in which he posted a 5.11 ERA over 123.1 innings, Wainwright no longer looks like a serviceable fantasy starter in most mixed formats.
Wainwright compiled four strikeouts while allowing one earned run on three hits and two walks over 3.2 innings in Wednesday's 4-3 Grapefruit League win over the Nationals. The veteran right-hander has been missing plenty of bats early, as he's now tallied seven strikeouts over 5.2 innings across his first two spring appearances. Wainwright was able to stretch out to 63 pitches Wednesday, and according to a report by Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the veteran mixed in his curve with particular effectiveness, including on back-to-back whiffs to close out the second inning. Wainwright will look to continue his strong start to spring in a likely turn against the Marlins next Tuesday.
Wainwright (elbow) fired two scoreless innings in a 3-3 Grapefruit League tie with the Twins on Thursday, allowing two hits and three walks while also recording three strikeouts. Despite the fact he blanked the opposition, the veteran right-hander was far from satisfied, as he needed 47 pitches to get through his pair of frames. Wainwright's fastball did register at 90 or 91 mph several times Thursday as per Joe Trezza of MLB.com, an encouraging development following offseason elbow surgery. Wainwright will reportedly focus on more hard throwing this spring after seeing his velocity dip into the mid-80s last season, and he may also experiment with his arm slot during the exhibition slate. He'll look to build on his debut in a likely start against the Marlins next Tuesday.
Wainwright (elbow) will make his first start in Grapefruit League play Thursday against the Twins. The Cardinals have elected to ease Wainwright into his throwing program during camp after the veteran right-hander underwent arthroscopic surgery on his elbow in October. After tossing multiple bullpen sessions and facing hitters without any issues, Wainwright received clearance for his spring debut, with the 36-year-old expected to toss an inning or two in the appearance. The elbow complications Wainwright endured late last season resulted in the Cardinals shifting him to the bullpen in September before shutting him down for good, but he'll reclaim a spot in the St. Louis rotation heading into Opening Day.