Losing Wainwright (04/27/15)

By John Ewing Director of Research and Analytics @johnewing
With Wainwright out, what does the rest of the 2015 season look like for St. Louis?



Bad news for baseball's best fans, St. Louis Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright is expected to miss the rest of the 2015 season due to an Achilles injury.

Wainwright has been one of the best pitchers in baseball since 2012. Since returning from Tommy John surgery in 2011, the All-Star pitcher has 55 wins (2nd in MLB), a 2.99 ERA (6th), seven shutouts (1st) and 13 complete games (1st).

Without the team's No. 1 starter, can the Cardinals win the World Series?

Prior to Wainwright's injury the Cardinals were projected to win the NL Central with an average record of 95 wins and 67 losses. St. Louis was 89 percent likely to reach the postseason for a fifth straight year and the Cards had the third best chance (11.9%) to win the World Series.

Without Wainwright, the Cardinals are still projected to win the NL Central. The record dips a bit but on average the Redbirds finish with more than 90 wins for the fourth time in five years. That is the good news.

The bad news, St. Louis' postseason probability lowers to 77.3 percent and the team's World Series chance is cut nearly in half. However, a 6.5 percent chance to win the World Series is the fifth best odds in the majors and third best in the National League.

In the last four seasons the Cards are 65-37 when Wainwright starts. It will be hard to replace that kind of pitching but St. Louis does have quality alternatives to throw in the rotation. Marco Gonzalez and Jaime Garcia are expected to return from the DL soon and Michael Wacha and Carlos Martinez are two young arms expected to take a step forward this season.

In our most recent Power Rankings St. Louis was fifth overall, ranking in the top ten in hitting (9th) and pitching efficiency (1st). The Cardinals pitching staff has a MLB-best 1.99 ERA and second best 2.87 FIP. Losing Wainwright hurts but the Cardinals remain the team to beat in the NL Central.

Cardinals 2015 Season – With and Without Wainwright

Statistics With Wainwright Without Wainwright
Record 94.7-67.3 91.5-70.5
Win NL Central? Yes Yes
Playoff Probability 88.8% 77.3%
Win World Series 11.9% 6.5%