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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B - JoJo Romero, Andrew Kittredge, Lars Nootbaar, and Matthew Liberatore

JoJo Romero and Andrew Kittredge have both been great as part of the "big three" in the Cardinals bullpen supporting Ryan Helsley. Both have wavered a bit due to over-usage and fatigue in recent weeks and while they've both regressed a bit, it's not entirely their fault. They've been called upon time and time again to preserve leads for the Cardinals this season as the offense just can't score enough runs to run away with the victory. They haven't relinquished the lead many times this year, but their recent struggles are something to keep an eye on.

If Lars Nootbaar could just stay healthy, the Cardinals' lineup could be extremely dangerous. On the IL once again, Nootbaar's frustrating injury saga continues. But, when healthy, Lars takes the Cardinals offense to the next level. With a 111 OPS+, Nootbaar is one of the best hitters on the team and he hasn't even reached his potential yet. He hits the ball extremely hard, and his expected metrics indicate he's a much better hitter than the results show. Hopefully, he can stay healthy for the rest of the year once he returns.

Matthew Liberatore has probably the most unfair role on the Cardinals roster so far. He competed for a starting job in Spring Training, but concerns about his velocity led the Cardinals to go with Zack Thompson instead. In relief, Liberatore has been absolutely dominant against left-handed hitters and more than serviceable against righties. However, he's been unfairly called upon to start games many times this season. While he hasn't been great, we've also seen flashes of greatness in Liberatore as a starter, most recently in the series finale win against the Atlanta Braves. Liberatore should probably just stick to high-leverage relief when the Cardinals acquire their fifth starter, but he could also fill that role as an internal option.