Wainwright (19-8, 2.63 ERA, 212 Ks) beat out Giants P Tim Lincicum and teammate Chris Carpenter for the award, but his comments about Carpenter are what will stick with me as I talk to people who continue to fear for their jobs and worry about how they compare to their co-workers.
“In the beginning of the season I really battled and was constantly having to get out of a lot of jams,” Wainwright said, explaining that he sat down with Carpenter for a “big-time film session” that resulted in him adjusting some things and having everything “fall into place.”
When asked about how he got along with Carpenter — who got more publicity during the season because he was coming back from surgery last year, Wainwright responded that Carpenter “was a pacesetter…he’s a special talent…the great thing about Chris is he’s so talented but he is also a really good teacher and finds ways to help other pitchers…He’s got a great eye for it…he can watch a bullpen session and notice something different pitch to pitch and he just helps you get locked back in. And his pitching was solid every time out. He sets the bar and makes you want to be right there with him.
Wainwright went on to give props to a third pitcher in the rotation, Joel Pineiro, for his role in helping the other two perform well.
The message: Seek out the best people in your company and work with them. Competition brings out the best in people.
And if you take a look at Carpenter’s 2009 statistics — 17-4, 2.24 ERA, and 144 strikeouts — and Wainwright’s comments, you’ll also see that it is possible to be both a top performer and a great mentor. Give it a try.