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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A - Brendan Donovan, Alec Burleson, Kyle Gibson, Ryan Fernandez, and John King

Brendan Donovan slumped for much of the season so far, but he's been extremely hot during this stretch of winning baseball for St. Louis. Always taking quality at-bats, Donovan has cemented himself as a clutch hitter in the heart of the Cardinals' order while also playing great defense at a number of positions. He's mainly filling in left field right now until Lars Nootbaar returns, but his ability to play all across the diamond allows rest days for other struggling hitters. He's not quite All-Star caliber, but he's pretty close.

The emergence of Alec Burleson as the Cardinals' number-two hitter has been a great surprise for the team. He ranks among the best in batting average, slugging, and OPS for National League outfielders and truly has a case to make the All-Star team. The underlying metrics that Burleson has largely underperformed so far in his career are finally showing through, and he's become arguably the best hitter on the team during its hot stretch. His elite bat-to-ball skills and exit velocity make him one of the most dangerous hitters in baseball.

Kyle Gibson has done exactly what he was brought in to do. Give the Cardinals a chance to win every fifth day. Gibson has consistently pitched into the 6th or 7th inning, giving the Cardinals both quality and length. While his most recent start against the Braves wasn't great, he was returning from back issues that caused him to miss a start. Gibson has been a welcome surprise as many fans were underwhelmed by his addition this offseason. He's certainly proved us wrong.

Both Ryan Fernandez and John King have been revelations as bullpen support. Both have pitched extremely well to give rest to JoJo Romero and Andrew Kittredge in recent weeks. With an ERA below 2.50, both have been reliable high-leverage arms that seemingly came out of nowhere. Chaim Bloom gets an A for advising the Cardinals to take Fernandez in the Rule-5 draft, and it looks like King's performance from last season may be sustainable after all.