Michael Wacha
Michael Wacha
27-Year-Old PitcherSP
St. Louis Cardinals
2019 Fantasy Outlook
There was a stretch in 2018 where it seemed like Wacha had found a time machine, as he was dealing as he did as a rookie in 2014. Over that 10-game stretch, Wacha went 6-0 with a 1.74 ERA and struck out 23% of the batters he faced. The fact he pitched in just 15 games and had an overall 3.20 ERA tells you two things: he ended up hurt (oblique), and he pitched poorly in the bookends around that 10-game stretch before going down. Wacha’s FIP was a full run higher than his actual ERA because he got away with a lot of walks thanks to a surprisingly low batting average on balls in play. Wacha’s 10% K-BB rate ranked 111th out of the 144 starting pitchers who worked at least 80 innings in 2018. For all his talents, he has but twice made 30 starts in a season. The skills are there, but the consistency and health are not. He is a filler or a flier more than part of a foundation. Read Past Outlooks
RANKSFrom Preseason
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$Signed a one-year, $6.35 million contract with the Cardinals in January of 2019, avoiding arbitration.
Trouble finding plate in Atlanta
PSt. Louis Cardinals
May 15, 2019
Wacha (3-1) took the loss Wednesday, giving up two runs (one earned) on four hits and four walks over five innings while striking out four in a 4-0 loss to Atlanta.
ANALYSIS
The right-hander threw only 51 of 90 pitches for strikes and generated only five swinging strikes, but Wacha was able to escape without too much damage. He'll take a 4.93 ERA and 39:26 K:BB through 42 innings into his next start Tuesday, at home against the Royals.
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Pitching Stats
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Left/Right Pitching Splits
Since 2017
 
 
-10%
BAA vs LHP
2019
 
 
-17%
BAA vs LHP
2018
 
 
-4%
BAA vs LHP
2017
 
 
-10%
BAA vs LHP
BAA Batters K BB H 2B 3B HR
Since 2017vs Left .239 579 117 58 122 27 2 12
Since 2017vs Right .267 669 151 59 159 27 2 22
2019vs Left .235 79 16 11 16 5 1 2
2019vs Right .284 113 23 15 27 5 0 6
2018vs Left .217 175 37 13 34 5 0 3
2018vs Right .225 180 34 23 34 6 0 6
2017vs Left .252 325 64 34 72 17 1 7
2017vs Right .280 376 94 21 98 16 2 10
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Home/Away Pitching Splits
Since 2017
 
 
-16%
ERA at Home
2019
 
 
-49%
ERA on Road
2018
 
 
-10%
ERA at Home
2017
 
 
-31%
ERA at Home
ERA WHIP IP W L SV K/9 BB/9 HR/9
Since 2017Home 3.66 1.31 157.1 14 5 0 8.3 3.2 0.9
Since 2017Away 4.34 1.43 134.2 9 7 0 8.2 4.1 1.3
2019Home 7.20 2.00 15.0 1 0 0 7.2 6.0 2.4
2019Away 3.67 1.44 27.0 2 1 0 9.0 5.3 1.3
2018Home 3.08 1.22 52.2 5 1 0 8.2 3.6 0.9
2018Away 3.41 1.26 31.2 3 1 0 6.5 4.3 1.1
2017Home 3.41 1.25 89.2 8 4 0 8.5 2.5 0.6
2017Away 4.97 1.49 76.0 4 5 0 8.6 3.6 1.3
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Stat Review
How does Michael Wacha compare to other starting pitchers?
This section compares his stats with all starting pitcher seasons from the previous three seasons (minimum 120 innings). The bar represents the player's percentile rank. For example, if the bar is halfway across, then the player falls into the 50th percentile for that stat and it would be considered average.
K/BB
1.50
 
K/9
8.4
 
BB/9
5.6
 
HR/9
1.7
 
Fastball
92.5 mph
 
ERA
4.93
 
WHIP
1.64
 
BABIP
.306
 
GB/FB
1.34
 
Strand %
75.4%
 
Advanced Pitching Stats
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Defensive Stats
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Stats Vs Today's Lineup
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Recent RotoWire Articles Featuring Michael Wacha
Weekly Pitcher Rankings: Justin-credible
2 days ago
Todd Zola ranks the week's pitching as elder statesman Justin Verlander is still rolling along, right into the top spot in the rankings.
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5 days ago
Justin Verlander makes for a compelling pitching option Wednesday against his former team, the Tigers.
Yahoo DFS Baseball: Wednesday Picks
5 days ago
Mike Barner suggests checking out a Braves stack Wednesday against Michael Wacha and the Cardinals.
Weekly Pitcher Rankings: Strikeouts on Sale in Aisle 5
9 days ago
Todd Zola's weekly pitcher rankings features Chris Sale in the top spot, as the Boston hurler looks to have turned around his season.
DraftKings MLB: Thursday Picks
11 days ago
Christopher Olson provides his recommendations for Thursday’s DraftKings slate, which features Rich Hill against Washington.
Past Fantasy Outlooks
2018
2017
2016
2015
2014
2013
While Wacha has not developed into an ace as some expected, the right-hander has performed at an above-average level when on the field over the past four seasons, and he may not be done improving. He boosted his strikeout rate from 18.8 percent to 22.5 percent last season, thanks in part to an uptick in first-pitch strike rate to a career-high 65.8 percent (from 59.1 percent), and he maintained a walk rate right around his career average of 7.6 percent. Wacha trimmed his HR/9 slightly (to 0.92), which was no small feat in 2017, but manager Mike Matheny was quick to give Wacha the hook when he didn't have it; he had eight starts of 4.1 innings or fewer and that led to a modest innings total over 30 starts. That's probably a good thing for a player with Wacha's injury history, and that kind of limited workload is not a big deterrent in fantasy in this day and age with so few players throwing 200 innings.
Things went from bad to worse for Wacha when an inflamed shoulder sent him to the DL for over a month from August to September. There had been high hopes that he'd be ready to take the next step in establishing himself as a solid major-league starter, but a 4.62 ERA and 1.44 WHIP built over 24 starts did just the opposite. He also managed to average just 5.5 innings per start while his strikeout rate fell for the third straight year. Wacha's array of struggles have sparked conversations about transitioning him to a relief role and dropping him from the rotation altogether, and based off last season's performance, St. Louis has every right to do so. Opponents owned a .289 batting average and .800 OPS when facing Wacha, both of which are career-highs for the 25-year-old righty. He'll likely stretch out during spring training in case injuries impact the Cards' projected starting five, but Wacha's 2017 may feature a transition to a super-relief role.
If one were to look at Wacha’s ERA by halves, it looks like he started strong and then faded with a 2.93/4.01 split, but that doesn’t really tell the story. First off, he had a 2.69 ERA through August before a really rough September (7.88). His first six starts yielded a 2.09 ERA, but just a 4.4 K/9 which left many skeptical. He then ran off an ace-like 19-start stretch of 2.88 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, and 8.7 K/9 in 119 frames before September. That’s where the wheels come off with seven home runs allowed and a 1.1 K:BB ratio in 25 innings. It looks a lot like normal fatigue of a young pitcher grinding through his first full season as the velocity dropped and homers spiked. Now just 24, Wacha will be eyeing his first 200-inning season as the reins should be off entirely. We’ve seen the premium strikeout rate in spurts every year. If he can hold it over a full season, he will be a budding ace, but even if he stays in that mid-7.0s range, he’s still a top-30 arm.
One of the most popular picks in 2014 fantasy drafts, Wacha was limited to just 107 innings in 2014 after dealing with a stress reaction in his right shoulder for much of the summer. Wacha was not impressive in his four September starts after returning form his injury, but prior to hitting the disabled list he looked even better than he did in 2013, posting a 2.79 ERA and 1.12 WHIP while striking out 83 batters in 90.1 innings. Still just 23 years old and with a clean bill of health, Wacha should be in line for another excellent season in 2015, and will likely be available later than he was in 2014 drafts due to injury concerns and recency bias. Wacha will likely slot in as the second or third starter for an improved Cardinals team in 2015.
Wacha didn't receive a full-time shot in the rotation until September and he quickly locked up a spot in the rotation for 2014 by being nearly unhittable while leading the Cardinals into the playoffs and to the World Series. Wacha made things look very easy at times, nearly throwing a no-hitter, and holding opposing hitters to a .198 batting average against him during his five September starts while striking out 28 across 31.1 innings. The 22-year-old will start 2014 near the top of the Cardinals' rotation, likely as the team's No. 2 or No. 3 starter. His ceiling won't be much higher, but his floor is extremely high for a pitcher his age and he should be a very good starting pitcher for years to come.
Things moved fast for Wacha last year. After going in the first round in June, he was with Double-A Springfield by August. The 21-year-old right-hander only pitched 21 innings in the minors last year, but nobody could hit him, as he posted video-game stats of 0.86 ERA, 0.57 WHIP, and an out-of-this-world 40:4 K:BB. He's on the fast track to St. Louis and could be pitching in their bullpen sometime this season. Don't forget him on draft day.
More Fantasy News
Earns win despite rough outing
PSt. Louis Cardinals
May 9, 2019
Wacha (3-0) gave up four runs on nine hits, walking one batter and striking out a pair in 5.2 innings to earn the win versus Pittsburgh on Thursday.
ANALYSIS
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Strikes out four in no-decision
PSt. Louis Cardinals
May 4, 2019
Wacha struck out four but was tagged with five runs (four earned) over five innings in a no-decision against the Cubs on Saturday. He allowed six hits and four walks as the Cubs eventually won 6-5.
ANALYSIS
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Downs Nats in return
PSt. Louis Cardinals
April 29, 2019
Wacha (2-0) picked up the win in Monday's 6-3 victory over the Nationals, giving up three runs on four hits and three walks over five innings while striking out five.
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Ready to go after IL stint
PSt. Louis Cardinals
April 29, 2019
The Cardinals activated Wacha (knee) from the 10-day injured list ahead of his scheduled start Monday versus the Nationals.
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Officially named Monday's starter
PSt. Louis Cardinals
Knee
April 27, 2019
Wacha (knee) has officially been designated as the starting pitcher for Monday's game against the Nationals, Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com reports.
ANALYSIS
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