What makes a pitcher a legitimate ace? To me, a pitcher that is consistently over 200 innings with an ERA around 3.00 who can also limit walks is an ace. Coming in at No. 9 on the Rant Sports MLB Top 50 players list is St. Louis Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright. He is consistently over 200 innings and he has a career 3.11 ERA; he is an ace. Wainwright also has something that not every pitcher has — postseason experience. He is one of the top three pitchers in baseball.
In 2013, Wainwright went 19-9 with a 2.94 ERA. Like the true workhorse that he is, Wainwright pitched 241.2 innings for the Cards. He did a great job of limiting walks (1.3 BB/9) while also putting up some of the best strikeout numbers (8.2 K/9) of his career. Wainwright also likes to finish what he starts; of his 34 starts, five of them were complete games and two were shutouts.
In the postseason, Wainwright was a consistent force for the Cardinals. In the NLDS against the Pittsburgh Pirates, he went 2-0 with a 1.13 ERA. Against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLCS, Wainwright went 0-1, but he did have an impressive 2.57 ERA. He struggled a bit in the World Series, going 0-2 with a 4.50 ERA. Wainwright has been an outstanding postseason performer in his career. In 18 games (only nine as a starter), he is 4-3 with a 2.53 ERA. His peripheral numbers get better when the playoffs arrive. He has a career 10.1 K/9 and 1.2 BB/9 in the postseason.
Wainwright is one of the most complete pitchers in baseball. Any team could use a workhorse like him that limits walks and has postseason experience. There should be no questioning why Wainwright cracked the Rant Sports top 10 list.