*2014 VEB Community Projections: Michael Wacha

Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

For a player with only 170.2 professional innings under his belt, Michael Wacha feels remarkably known. By all means, he has height, poise, a can-do demeanor, and a signature offspeed pitch to generate whiffs. We saw him pitch very well as a rookie in the postseason, where he hinted at future success. In other words, watching Michael Wacha pitch feels, to me, an awful like watching a younger Adam Wainwright pitch.

So far, in a terribly small sample size, Wacha has shown that he can generate whiffs (9.05 K/9, 25.0% K%, 11.3% SwStr%) and control the strike zone (2.64 BB/9, 7.3 BB%) with a very effective fastball (wFB of +9.5, 93.1 mph average velocity, wRC+ against of 79) and an absolutely devastating changeup (wRC+ against of 52, SwSTR% of 23.4%(!!!!!!!!!)). Because he pitches down in the zone with the changeup, he either gets whiffs or groundballs (66.7% of batted balls), meaning that they don't get hit for home runs (0 HR in 252 changeups)

Let's marvel at the beauty in action:

Clip0110_1_medium

via thefundamentalsblog.files.wordpress.com

It will be interesting to see how the Cardinals utilize Wacha throughout the season. The organization seems like it wants to protect its young pitchers, and given how Shelby Miller was protected (probably? We still don't know exactly why) late in 2013, we may see Wacha on an innings limit as well.

Stats via Fangraphs

Season

Team

Age

W

L

G

GS

IP

K/9

BB/9

BABIP

ERA

2012

Cardinals (R)

21

0

0

3

2

5

12.6

0

0.273

1.8

2012

Cardinals (A+)

21

0

0

4

0

8

18

1.13

0.111

0

2012

Cardinals (AA)

21

0

0

4

0

8

19.13

3.38

0.3

1.13

2013

Cardinals (AAA)

22

5

3

15

15

85

7.73

2.01

0.241

2.65

2013

Cardinals

22

4

1

15

9

64.2

9.05

2.64

0.275

2.78

Total

- - -


4

1

15

9

64.2

9.05

2.64

0.275

2.78


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