The Best and Worst Cardinals Starting Pitchers Seasons Under Dave Duncan

One of the major story lines this Spring Training will be how the Cardinals pitching staff will do without the leadership of Tony La Russa and Dave Duncan. Mike Matheny and Derek Lilliquist take over a veteran starting staff who all pitched multiple seasons under Duncan and a bullpen that will need little extra coaching, since if anyone steps out of line Chris Carpenter will just [BEEP]ing lose it.

Duncan's repertoire was converting middling pitchers such as Jeff Suppan, Woody Williams, Braden Looper, or Kent Bottenfield into serviceable starters. While we do admire Papa Dunc's ability to polish a turd, his best pitchers were the talented ones.

Cause like grandpa always said: "You can't fix Kip Wells."

Below are the ten best seasons a starting pitcher who ended the season eligible for the ERA title had under the La Russa/Duncan regime.

Player Year WAR W L G IP SO BB ERA ERA+ BA OBP SLG OPS
Adam Wainwright 2009 6 19 8 34 233 212 66 2.63 155 0.244 0.297 0.349 0.646
Adam Wainwright 2010 5.9 20 11 33 230.1 213 56 2.42 161 0.224 0.274 0.330 0.604
Chris Carpenter 2009 5.9 17 4 28 192.2 144 38 2.24 182 0.226 0.272 0.310 0.581
Chris Carpenter 2006 5 15 8 32 221.2 184 43 3.09 144 0.235 0.279 0.364 0.643
Chris Carpenter 2005 4.8 21 5 33 241.2 213 51 2.83 150 0.231 0.273 0.351 0.624
Darryl Kile 2001 4.5 16 11 34 227.1 179 65 3.09 140 0.265 0.322 0.394 0.717
Andy Benes 1997 3.8 10 7 26 177 175 61 3.1 135 0.230 0.298 0.330 0.628
Chris Carpenter 2011 3.7 11 9 34 237.1 191 55 3.45 105 0.264 0.309 0.360 0.669
Matt Morris 2001 3.7 22 8 34 216.1 185 54 3.16 137 0.265 0.318 0.372 0.690
Matt Morris 1997 3.7 12 9 33 217 149 69 3.19 131 0.258 0.319 0.352

0.672

The names are not surprising, though I do wonder how the 1997 Cardinals weren't better considering they had two of the best pitching performances of the La Russa/Duncan era (oh, right... the offense -- sans Lankford -- made Aaron Miles look Pujolsian.)

The standout stat in there is that in 2009 Chris Carpenter held opponents to a .581 OPS. The only player to have a .581 OPS that season was Chris Young. The pitcher.

This also illustrates how great it will be to have Adam Wainwright back and (hopefully) fully healed.

Now for the worst ten seasons:

Player Year WAR W L G IP SO BB ERA ERA+ BA OBP SLG OPS
Matt Morris 2005 0.1 14 10 31 192.2 117 37 4.11 103 0.276 0.315 0.429 0.744
Dustin Hermanson 2001 0.1 14 13 33 192.1 123 73 4.45 97 0.264 0.335 0.481 0.816
Jason Marquis 2005 0 13 14 33 207 100 69 4.13 103 0.262 0.324 0.427 0.751
Jake Westbrook 2011 -0.1 12 9 33 183.1 104 73 4.66 78 0.290 0.355 0.435 0.789
Jose Jimenez 1999 -0.4 5 14 29 163 113 71 5.85 79 0.275 0.356 0.407 0.763
Matt Morris 2004 -0.5 15 10 32 202 131 56 4.72 91 0.266 0.319 0.457 0.776
Alan Benes 1996 -1.2 13 10 34 191 131 87 4.9 86 0.266 0.347 0.435 0.782
Brett Tomko 2003 -1.3 13 9 33 202.2 114 57 5.28 78 0.305 0.353 0.513 0.866
Kip Wells 2007 -1.8 7 17 34 162.2 122 78 5.7 77 0.287 0.368 0.460 0.828
Jason Marquis 2006 -1.9 14 16 33 194.1 96 75 6.02 74 0.289 0.364 0.509 0.873

Matt Morris make both lists twice, showing why he was once a beloved up and coming ace and then later a beloved grizzled old veteran that we were glad to see the Giants mysteriously overpay for. Jason Marquis also makes the list twice, which is not surprising. And there's Kip Wells, who is just the worst.

The only active pitcher to make the list is Jake Westbrook, who somehow finished below replacement level last season. This explains why he decided to show up this season in the best shape of his life and also why John Mozeliak is still thinking about signing Roy Oswalt.

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