Originally posted on Baseball Professor  |  Last updated 2/26/13
Despite finishing last year with a 3.94 ERA and 1.25 WHIP, Adam Wainwright dominated. His strikeout and walk rates were right on par with what he’d done pre-Tommy John surgery, and his ground ball rate sat over 50% for the third straight season.If there was an area where Wainwright struggled, it was his opponents’ line drive rate, which sat at an abysmal 23.0%. With a rate that high, especially when couple with a low 6.6% infield fly rate (league average is around 10% annually), it’s not shocking that Wainwright posted a .254 OBA and a poor-for-Wainwright 1.25 WHIP. Both the line drive and infield fly rates improved after the All-Star Break, though, a sign that Wainwright was building back to the pitcher he used to be.The real blip on Wainwright’s 2012 resume was his poor 67.8% strand rate. For his career he had never been below 72.6%, which is right around the league average every season, and even that mark was his only season below 76.0%. Wainwright excels at stranding runners on base, and for whatever reason he struggled in that respect overall last year. Had he been just league average, which would still be below average for Wainwright, he would have pitched to an ERA right around his 3.10 FIP. If he finished last year with an ERA that low, we wouldn’t be talking about Wainwright as a bargain ace right now. Thankfully, that’s exactly what he is.At a GlanceStrengths: W, K, ERA, WHIP, QS, BBNeutral: LWeaknesses: nonePlayer ComparisonsBest-case scenario: Cole Hamels (PHI)Likely scenario: Zack Greinke (LAD), Madison Bumgarner (SF), R.A. Dickey (TOR)Worst-case scenario: James Shields (KC)Adam Wainwright 2013 Fantasy ProjectionI’m reluctant to draft one of the top-tier pitchers in fantasy because I’d much rather take an elite hitter than an elite pitcher. (Note: I feel this strategy works better in H2H leagues where weekly matchups dictate how you structure your team and pitching categories like ERA and WHIP are harder to fortify and wins are too luck-based for the small seven-day sample size.) As a result, Wainwright and Mat Latos have been two pitchers that I’ve targeted in all of my early mocks.Wainwright will pitch over 200 innings and (likely) rack up a lot of wins for a very good St. Louis team. He still strikes out almost a batter per inning and should sit right around 200 strikeouts as a result, and important number I target for ace-caliber fantasy starters. I’d expect improvement with his line drive and ground ball rates from last year like we saw as 2012 progressed, and that should mean his OBA and WHIP drop from the .254 and 1.25 marks we saw in his first season back.I used the term “bargain ace” in the intro because that’s exactly what I feel Wainwright is. His peripheral stats last year weren’t much different than his last healthy season in 2010, and that year he ranked 10th overall in fantasy. Not 10th among all pitchers, 10th overall. While I wouldn’t draft him expecting a rebound in his strand rate to catapult him that high in the rankings, the point is he could turn in a top-50 season with batting an eyelash, and there’s always the potential that he channels his inner Cy Young candidate and becomes one of the best draft day values among starting pitchers.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

49ers file for arbitration in Levi’s Stadium rent dispute with Santa Clara

Kevin Durant has interesting reason for lying about height

Kris Letang gets one-game suspension for high hit on Marcus Johansson

Report: Bills sign OT Cordy Glenn to 5-year extension worth up to $65 million

Texans’ Duane Brown had 10-game suspension overturned

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Bruce Boudreau on coaching again: “I’ve had a couple of conversations”

Report: Don Shula hospitalized for breathing difficulties

Jerry Sandusky seeking new trial four years after being convicted

Bismack Biyombo retroactively assessed Flagrant 2, won’t be suspended

Sandoval expected to miss rest of season after shoulder surgery

Falcons GM: ‘I don’t think we’ve hired anyone from Scouts Inc.'

Mark Richt: Satellite camps are ‘illegal recruiting’

Someone built their very own Batmobile for the Gumball 3000 race

Lamarr Houston on Aaron Rodgers: ‘He’s a little too arrogant’

Florida State bans fans from wearing headdresses at all athletic events

Tom Brady’s request for 14-day extension granted in Deflategate case

Most exciting games of the 2016 NBA playoffs so far

Dale Earnhardt Jr. lays favorite car ‘Amelia’ to rest following bang-ups at Talladega

Former Rockets star Robert Reid: ‘Harden looks after Harden’

New Drake songs that explain why Raptors can beat Heat

Will Letang face suspension for hit on Johansson?

Philly-area BBQ joint creates sandwich to rip Sam Bradford

Ten players who could go No. 1 overall in the 2017 NFL Draft

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Most exciting games of the 2016 NBA playoffs so far

Five bizarre moments in Round 2 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs

How the Sharks have 'weathered the storm' against the Predators

Okay, who stole the Kansas City Royals player off that billboard?

Eight players to watch in Round 2 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs

A Round-By-Round Look At the NFL Draft

10 biggest takeaways from the NBA playoffs thus far

QUIZ: Name every No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft since 1985

NHL postseason Round 2 quick hits: Sharks vs. Predators

NHL postseason Round 2 quick hits: Blues vs. Stars

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker