MLB Top Players for 2014 Adam Wainwright
Wainwright is a pitcher who leans heavily on hard stuff, as a four-seamer, sinker and cutter account for the bulk of his pitches. He’s able to sit at a decent 91-92 with his four-seamer and sinker, putting decent life on both pitches to boot. His cutter doesn’t move as fast but is definitely an above-average offering. Waino’s curveball, meanwhile, is a plus-plus-plus offering. A better right-handed hook doesn’t exist.
Wainwright has been the National League’s golden standard for how not walk guys this year. He’s had the lowest walk rate in the league all season, and his only peer in baseball in these late goings is David Price. Waino doesn’t pound the zone endlessly to get his low walk rate, but he’s one of the best at manipulating the zone to get hitters to give him strikes by going fishing.
Since Waino is indeed among the elites at getting hitters to swing outside the strike zone, it’s no surprise that he has a swinging-strike percentage in the neighborhood of 10 percent and a strikeout rate well above league averages in the low 20s. He’s also maintaining a ground-ball rate around 50 percent. Despite all this, he’s actually not keeping hits from finding the holes much better than he did last year, in part because opponents are hitting more liners off him.
Waino was a 230-inning guy before he went in for Tommy John surgery, and he’s gotten back to those old habits this year. After finding his bearings in 2012, he’s once again a virtual lock for seven innings and over 100 pitches, as well he should be with his command and general pitching know-how.
Wainwright has been fine ever since his return from Tommy John surgery, but there’s a limit to how much yours truly can trust a 32-year-old starter with a surgically-repaired elbow.