8 Cardinals who are outperforming projections this year

A quarter mark into the season, several Cardinals are outperforming their projections.
St. Louis Cardinals v Oakland Athletics
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Sonny Gray

It felt like all offseason the Cardinals were destined to sign Sonny Gray. His personality, demeanor, price, and dedication to the game all screamed "St. Louis Cardinal". A deal was struck between the two parties, and St. Louis found its ace.

For the first time in 5 years, the Cardinals had a true competitor and top-of-the-rotation arm to lead the starting pitchers. Gray started out the season on the Injured List, but he's been about as good as advertised since his return to the rotation. Gray has logged 41.1 innings in just 7 starts. While his last two outings haven't been his best, Gray's season numbers have surpassed even the most optimistic of fans' expectations.

He has a 3.05 ERA, 1.065 WHIP, a 2.79 FIP, and a 166 ERA+. Where Gray has been uncharacteristically good is with his strikeouts. He is averaging over 11 strikeouts per nine innings, and his K rate sits at 31.9%, 5th among starters who have thrown at least 30 innings (don't look at who is 4th...it's a former Cardinal starter). Gray has been a bit homer-prone in his last two starts, but he has been excellent at limiting strikeouts.

Preseason projections pinned Sonny Gray as an above-average starting pitcher but not to this level. ZiPS gave him a 3.56 ERA, a 4.04 FIP, and an ERA+ of 118. He was pegged to strike out almost 8 batters per nine innings, but he has done significantly better than that this year.

If Gray can get back on track, Cardinal fans will be able to see someone special, potentially even a Cy Young candidate, lead their rotation and get them back into the playoff push.