In deciding these awards for top reliever, starter and position player, first for the St. Louis Cardinals minor league system and now for the major league club, I often have no idea who the recipient will be until I start evaluating statistics and actually writing the article.
That is not the case for The Cardinal Nation St. Louis Starting Pitcher of the Year for 2013. The winner is Adam Wainwright. Case closed.
Though this is Wainwright’s third such award, it is his first since 2010. Chris Carpenter took the honors in 2011 and Kyle Lohse last season as Wainwright had an inconsistent return from Tommy John surgery.
Wainwright first made the news this spring by signing the longest duration contract for a pitcher in team history. His new five-year deal covers 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 Carpenter, Wainwright went on to demonstrate he is worthy of the commitment. The right-hander 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.
Shelby Miller (31 starts, 13 quality starts, 15 wins) and Lance Lynn (33 starts, 19 quality starts, 15 wins) were the other pitchers in the Cardinals rotation all season long. Joe Kelly made 15 starts with his 2.28 ERA topping Wainwright’s 2.94, but all three did not match Wainwright’s consistent excellence.
It is more appropriate to compare Wainwright to the National League and Major League Baseball.
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 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, was named the League Division Series Most Valuable Player by The Cardinal Nation and is currently pitching for them in the World Series.
Adam Wainwright is a worthy and frankly, obvious selection as The Cardinal Nation/Scout.com St. Louis Cardinals Starting Pitcher of the Year for 2013 and should be around to compete for many more in the future.
Note: For more information on all The Cardinal Nation minor and major league award winners for 2013, click on this link. You will be taken to an index page with links to all articles about previous winners across the system club by club, schedule for upcoming award announcements as well as 2013 team recaps. Note that many of the detailed articles are subscriber-only.
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Brian Walton can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog. Follow Brian on Twitter.
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