(BaseballStL) – Michael Wacha was 14 on September 11, 2005. Perhaps he was a Cardinal fan then, but as he was about to enter high school in Texas, my guess is he completely missed Adam Wainwright’s major league debut.
Eight years ago today, a lanky pitcher came out of the pen for the Cardinals to toss an inning in relief. It didn’t go well. Wainwright, then 24, gave up three runs on two hits in his first appearance in the bigs.
Now, he’s the ace of the St. Louis Cardinals staff, a two-time All Star, a gold glover and has two World Series rings.
He also thinks that 14-year-old, now all grown up, may end up better than he did before it’s all said and done.
“He’s a few years ahead of me,” Waino said of Wacha. “He’s a young kid, but he has more talent than I had. He’s got better stuff than I do.”
High praise from the $100 million man. But it’s not without merit.
Wacha is a man on fire. His last two starts, both against division title contenders, have been sparkling. He went six scoreless innings in Cincinnati, allowing only three hits. He then took the ball against the Pirates in the crucial final series against the then-NL central leaders and went seven scoreless innings.
In fact, Wacha hasn’t given up a run since August 19. Since then he’s tossed 19.2 scoreless innings in three relief apearances and two starts.
“He’s gonna go out there and give us quality innings because he’s a quality pitcher and a quality guy,” Wainwright said.
Wacha signed with the Cardinals in mid-June, 2012. He made his debut in May of 2013, then just 21 years old.
By comparison, at 21 Waino was in AA Greenville. He spent age 22 and 23 in AAA Memphis before making his first trip the the big club in late 2005, pitching at Busch just days after he turned 24.
In 2006 he was a full-time major leaguer, and from there he began to build his career.
As for Wacha, he’s 22, he’s in the majors, and currently torching anyone who dares step into the box. Life is pretty good for the former Aggie, and Wainwright, with eight years of perspective, thinks it’s only going to get better.
“He wants to be great just like the rest of these young guys in here and he’s got the stuff to do it.”