Skeptics Say: The Tommy John procedure has about an 85% success rate and the linked article there mentions that the failure rate usually applies to younger patients undergoing the procedure. That fact alone could be enough to raise the success rate closer to 95% (in my opinion) since we can't really tell if it was the procedure that failed the player or if he was like any other prospect player than never reached his potential. Wainwright is only 30. He is technically still in the prime of his career. We have to remember though that for every John Smoltz, Tim Hudson or Chris Carpenter there is a Scott Williamson, Daren Dreifort or Pat Hentgen.
Peer Comparison: Good comparison? Chris Carpenter. he had Tommy John, came back a year later, won the Comeback Player of the Year Award with a 17-4 record and a 2.24 ERA. Bad comparison? Pat Hentgen. After he went under the knife he went 11-24 over the next 4 seasons. If you were to ask me "How will Adam Wainwright pitch this season?" my answer is... I don't know. I'm not a doctor. I spent one summer comparing myself to Lou Diamond Phillips learning trigonometry hating the fact my teacher wasn't as cool as Edward James Olmos. Crap... that's why you're here right? To gain insight as to how we think Wainwright will perform this year?
Rotation Outlook: Having a healthy Wainwright back can only help any rotation. He'll figure in as the No. 2 guy in the rotaion, but if he comes back even close to what he was, he'll be the best pitcher on their staff.
What they're Saying: CBS Sportsline - #26 Starting Pitcher; Tristan Cockcroft of ESPN.com - #40 Starting Pitcher & #150 Overall; RotoChamp - #94 Overall; Mock Draft Central - #30 Starting Pitcher and # 105 Overall
Projection: Based on the percentages, Wainwright will come back and be successful. He has been working out at camp for some time now already (via Andy Behrens) so the Cardinals hopes for him being a go on the roster come opening day aren't far off. Here's to hoping he's another success story.
15-7, 3.25 ERA, 168 K, 1.20 WHIP in 175 IP.