On Wainwright

With the wife away, and me home alone with two little kids, there isn’t a whole lot of time to talk today.  But I wanted to talk about something I saw yesterday.

I watched a bit of the Cubs/Cardinals game early on and was thinking “Adam Wainwright looks awful…”  His curveballs were hanging and his fastball was topping off at 90 mph.  This isn’t completely abnormal – his average fastball was a tick below 91 from 2007-09 before abruptly jumping up to 93.5 during his stellar 2010 season.  But he wasn’t locating that fastball well at all.

I said out loud (to myself, because I was home alone…) “I predict some left-handers will be murdering him today…”

Soon after that, lefty Ian Stewart connected for a 3-run and then, in the 3rd inning, fellow lefty batter Brian LaHair took Wainwright deep for a grand slam.

To be fair, the last 3 curves I saw him thrown in the 1st inning were absolutely filthy.  But I digress…

For now, I think SIERA and xFIP may be a little too generous towards Wainwright, assuming that his HR/FB will regress towards the league mean.  FanGraphs  currently has him with a 3.30 SIERA and 3.13 xFIP to counter his 11.42 ERA.  He’s currently allowing a HR on 37.5% of all fly balls – 3 out of every 8.  If he isn’t perfect with his fastball location and keeps hanging curves, I wouldn’t expect that rate to regress all the way back towards the league average.  It’s gonna’ stay high.

Obviously, Wainwright is working his way back towards injury, so I’m not doubting that he will be an effective pitcher again.  But from what I saw in his second start of the season, he still may have a ways to go.  Thankfully for the Cardinals, they’ve been getting some solid starts from Lance Lynn, Jake Westbrook, and Kyle Lohse while Wainwright works his way back and Chris Carpenter rehabs.

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