Cheap Seats

St. Louis Cardinals SP Michael Wacha struggling in spring training

As I mentioned a week or so ago, I try not to get too excited, one way or another, about spring training statistics.

It’s a good thing that Randal Grichuk is hitting .563 in the first two weeks of Grapefruit League action. But we have to remember that, not only is this a statistically insignificant amount of data. But also that some of that production is coming against pitchers who will be beating the minor league bushes in a couple of weeks.

So we wait and see before we get too excited...

That being said, I am starting to raise an eyebrow at Michael Wacha’s spring line: Four innings pitched, eight hits and four earned runs allowed. He’s being hit to the tune of a .444 batting average against and has allowed 2.25 runners per inning pitched.

That may be nothing. He could be suffering from a mechanical issue or maybe his fine tuning his pitches over worrying about trying to get hitters out in meaningless situations. We’re only half way through the spring. This could be a speck in the rear view mirror by April 1.

Honestly, I wouldn’t be alarmed at all by the numbers at this point of the spring if not for Wacha’s late summer swoon last year and his previous battles with shoulder trouble.

This may be nothing. I hope it’s nothing. But Wacha just hasn’t looked like himself so far this spring.

That’s remarkable because it’s unusual to see Wacha get off to a slow start in the spring. He’s 5-0 in Grapefruit League games over the course of his career with a 1.92 ERA and 57 strikeouts in 56 2/3 innings.

So it raises a red flag to see him not be able to quickly find himself.

On the bright side, he doesn’t seem alarmed by the situation at all. In post game interviews he said he’s simply struggling to find his command. So we’ll see if he can iron things out in his next start or two.

The Cardinals, after failing to land David Price over the off-season to give Adam Wainwright a co-ace, really need Wacha to step up and assume that role in the next year or two.

After an impressive 2015 campaign that saw Wacha notch a 17-7 record with a 3.38 ERA (It was 2.69 at the end of August when he was 15-4 before the wheels came off) he seems to be ready to make that leap.

Wacha, it’s safe to say is one of the five most-important cogs to the 2016 team along with Wainwright, Yadier Molina, Randal Grichuk and Matt Holliday.

If those guys all perform up to expectations, St. Louis will be tough to beat. If they don’t, their production is going to be tough to replace.