As a Starting Pitcher, Adam Wainwright's 2017 baseball season is off to a slow start. With four starts so far this spring, he has one win and three losses, with a total of 18+ innings pitched. He has allowed 30 hits and 14 runs, 6 walks, and 22 strikeouts. His ERA (earned run average) sits at 6.27 which is currently the second highest of his entire pitching career in St. Louis (2005 to 2017). His walks and hits per inning pitched (WHIP) is at an all-time high (1.93).

Wainwright is in his 12th year with the Cardinals, and although the major league baseball season is just starting, his early stats are far from his career best. However, if Waino's pitching is waining, he is picking up the pace with his bat.

Wainwright batting his way to the top

Wainwright sits atop the team, not in ERA, not in WHIP, and not in wins/losses, but in something much more foreign for today's pitchers.

His .429 batting average is the leading Cardinals batting average. Neither fan favorite, catcher Yadier Molina (.267), center fielder and recent team addition, Dexter Fowler (.184), or big bat Jose Martinez (.375) have outpaced and outshined Wainwright at the plate.

In four games, he has been at bat seven times. He slammed one home run, has four runs batted in (RBIs), and has scored twice. His hitting was key to his only pitching win this year. Last year, Waino struck out slightly more than 50% of the time when batting. This year, he has yet to do so.

The season is long. What will October bring?

April is just the beginning of a very long MLB season, and Wainwright's career batting averages have been all over the board, ranging from a wash out (.000) in 2015 to a phenom (.500) in 2006 (which consisted of only six at bats). His career batting average sits at .202, which is more than adequate for a rotational major league pitcher.

If Wainwright manages to continue his batting hot streak, he will become a much more valuable asset for the Cardinals.

Pitchers who can hit are hard to find. Gone are the days that the hurlers in the National League were expected to toss complete games, win them, and add to their value by hitting. If Wainwright can add that value to the team, having an early rocky start becomes much less of an issue.

Not only does it add to the depth that he may bring to the team, there is nothing more exciting that watching a long-tenured player -- one who has pitched consistently for many years for the same team -- suddenly pick up the pace and become an unexpected and well respected hitter.

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