Adam Wainwright has been the ace of the St. Louis Cardinals pitching staff for a few years. Once the understudy to Chris Carpenter, Wainwright now finds himself the veteran of the pitching staff. That role requires much more than just pitching at a high level.

Wainwright has often found himself among the top pitchers in his league statistically. A veteran of 10 years with the Cardinals, Wainwright has found himself among the top three finishers for the Cy Young Award on three separate occasions. He has won two Gold Glove Awards and represented the National League in three All-Star Games. He has even been recognized in his league’s Most Valuable Player voting, having finished in the top 20 four times in his career.

Those types of accolades make a player rise to the top of the rotation. The top spot in the rotation for a team like the St. Louis Cardinals requires a bit more.

Wainwright seems like a clubhouse leader in most aspects. You can find him talking, dancing or carrying on with any number of teammates during warm-ups or in the dugout. He is very open with his Christian beliefs. His dedication to God and his family is inspiring to many.

He also takes the time to work with the young pitchers who come through the organization. He actively seeks players out. He seems to take his role as a leader of the ballclub very seriously.

His work with his teammates is something that has become more apparent recently. Shelby Miller and Tyrell Jenkins were traded to Atlanta this offseason for outfielder Jason Heyward and reliever Jordan Walden. 

Speaking with Michael Cunningham of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Miller and Jenkins both had praise for the work that Wainwright put in with them. According to Cunningham, both young pitchers had a hard time coming to terms with leaving St. Louis initially but have warmed up to the idea as spring approaches.

Miller admits to Cunningham that he was quite stubborn at times while with St. Louis and was not willing to make changes. Miller credits Wainwright with encouraging him to begin throwing a sinker. It was a new pitch in Miller’s arsenal that might help him approach hitters differently. While he did not embrace it until another pitcher, Justin Masterson, introduced him to a grip he was comfortable with, he now sees the benefit in what Wainwright was teaching him.

Miller told Cunningham the pitch is “a huge pitch for me this year that hopefully is going to take me to the next level.”

Wainwright reportedly helped Jenkins out in a different way. Jenkins had altered his mechanics considerably from the approach he had in high school before he was drafted. Wainwright took the pitcher aside and encouraged him to go back to the way he used to pitch, allowing him to be more comfortable on the mound.

“I thought I had to fit in, so I started changing my mechanics, and my arm slot got a little higher, and things were a little out of sync,” Jenkins told Cunningham. “Adam Wainwright told me, ‘Hey, you are going to be who you are, so just pitch the way you want.'”

Jenkins has pitched well since reverting back to his original delivery. The Braves hope that he can continue to have a strong showing entering the 2015 season.

The Cardinals will look for Wainwright to do more of the same. His production on the mound will be paramount to the team’s future success. His work with young pitchers will continue to be important as the team looks for more prospects to mature into major league players in the near future.

Wainwright is an ace in every sense of the word. The Cardinals need him to be just that.


Transaction and award information in this article courtesy of

Bill Ivie is the founder of I-70 BaseballFollow him on Twitter to discuss baseball anytime.

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