Grading every St. Louis Cardinals player so far: The good, the bad, and the ugly

We're halfway through the MLB regular season. Which Cardinals players have performed the best?
St. Louis Cardinals v Miami Marlins
St. Louis Cardinals v Miami Marlins / Megan Briggs/GettyImages
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D - Paul Goldschmidt, Nolan Arenado, Zack Thompson, Riley O'Brien, Jordan Walker, Victor Scott II, and Steven Matz

Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado are one and the same this season. Both have been extremely disappointing offensively and haven't been able to hold their weight. While both are still batting near the heart of the order, when Lars Nootbaar and Tommy Edman return healthy, Oli Marmol may need to make a tough decision and bat Goldschmidt and Arenado's 6th and 8th, respectively. It's tough to watch two future Hall of Famers struggle the way they have for half a season, but this may just be who they are now. Both below-league-average bats with little power, Goldy and Arenado, have fallen far from their heights as MVP finalists in 2022.

With Sonny Gray's early season injury, Zack Thompson was thrust into a starting role, and it just didn't work out. It wasn't entirely fair, but his 9.53 ERA was not playable in the rotation, and he's now in Triple-A, honing his craft as a starter.

Like Adam Kloffenstein, Riley O'Brien only pitched one inning but he did allow a run to the Dodgers. However, his absence is not due to a demotion but rather an injury. He was one of the most exciting arms in Spring Training, but he just hasn't shown up so far.

Jordan Walker's 2023 season was extremely promising, and while he improved his abysmal defense coming into the 2024 season, his bat completely dropped off, resulting in a demotion to Triple-A, where he's been since April. There may not even be a spot for Walker on the roster this year, as the emergence of Alec Burleson has taken up right field. It's extremely disappointing for Cardinals fans as Walker was supposed to be a key part of a potent lineup that's largely been disappointing.

Like Zack Thompson, Victor Scott II was also unfairly thrust into action due to an injury, with Dylan Carlson landing on the IL on the final day of Spring Training. He showed flashes of greatness with his speed and with his glove, but his bat was clearly not ready for Major League pitching. With an OPS+ of -21 (no, that's not a typo), the Cardinals simply couldn't keep him on the active roster. Hopefully, Scott's development hasn't been hindered, but his struggles in Triple-A so far aren't the most encouraging.

When healthy, Steven Matz has been an inconsistent starter at best. However, now that he's been sidelined for another big portion of the season, Matz's inability to stay on the field has been a huge hindrance to the Cardinals' rotation that has been extremely inconsistent with the fifth starter role. Will it be Liberatore? How about Andre Pallante? There's no solid fifth starter on the team thanks to Matz's injury, and his 4-year contract is looking like a huge disappointment.