At the All-Star break continues, here’s my first of three installments of quick-hit report cards for members of the 2023 Cardinals based on the season’s first half.

Note: when I refer to a hitter being above or below the league average in his offensive performance, that’s based on the wRC+ metric. Which is runs created adjusted for ballpark factors and 2023 league norms.

I’m focusing on the position players today and will be back Thursday with grades for the pitchers, front office/ownership.

Willson Contreras: Slow start offensively, and a victim of whining, conniving pitchers that refused to hold themselves accountable. But the proud catcher finished with an emphatic performance late in the first half and is above average in WAR and wRC+. Grade: C+

Andrew Knizner: as backup catchers go, he does a fine job. I’m not judging him as a starter. I’m judging him as a No. 2 catcher. Grade: B minus.

Paul Goldschmidt: leads the Cardinals in WAR, is 37% above league average offensively (wRC+) and is tied for ninth among first baseman with +3 defensive runs saved. Grade: A.

Tommy Edman: We appreciate his speed, center field defense, versatility and relentless competitiveness. But he’s 10 percent below league average offensively, struggling against RH pitching (.650 OPS) and is a combined minus 3 in defensive runs saved at second base and shortstop. Grade: D+. 

Nolan Gorman: A raucous, booming start followed by another fall into a deep slump. But he’s 11 percent above average offensively and is on the plus side defensively at second base. Even with the terrible downturn offensively, Gorman ranks second on the team in homers and RBI and is third in slugging percentage. But I feel compelled to deduct points for his extensive hitting funk that made him 24 percent below league average offensively for June-July. Grade: C+. 

Nolan Arenado: This is a tough one; Arenado had a poor start offensively and is surprisingly below average at third base defensively. On the other hand, Arenado was the team’s only All-Star, and he’s been 60 percent above league average offensively with 14 homers and a .621 slugging percentage since May 1. That’s impressive. Grade: B

Brendan Donovan: He’s played at six positions, and has been driving the offense with a leadoff-hitter profile that includes a .305 average, .364 onbase percentage and a .449 slug. And in June-July, Donovan has a .406 OBP and .500 slug when batting leadoff. And he’s been exceptional when used at DH or pinch–hitter, batting .360. His offseason endeavor to increase his power is working. Grade: A.

Jordan Walker: In his rookie season, the 21-year-old hitting prodigy has a .347 OBP with a .457 slug and is 23 percent above league average offensively. But we have to account for Walker’s outfield defense; he’s among the worst in the majors with a minus 13 defensive runs saved. If only the Cardinals had been smart to give him proper time to learn how to play the outfield in the minors. Grade: B minus.

Dylan Carlson: He’s still middling along offensively at only three percent above league average. He’s been average defensively in his combined defensive runs saved at all three outfield positions. His OBP is disappointing. His slugging is blah. Since June 22 Carlson is batting .222 with no extra-base hits, but at least he’s drawing walks. Carlson is barely above the replacement level with 0.5 WAR. Grade: D.

Lars Nootbaar: He was 25 percent above league average offensively in 2022, but is only eight percent above average during a disappointing start impacted by injuries. After slugging .448 last season, Noot has a .382 slug in 2023. He’s a +3 defensively in the outfield. Despite missing 34 total days during his two stays on the IL, Nootbaar is tied for fourth among Cardinals with 1.5 WAR. Grade: C.

Paul DeJong: He was written off by many, including me. And the outside expectations? Well, zero. And his legion of hopelessly unhinged haters refuse to recognize anything positive about his performance. The 30% strikeout rate is a minus – but all things considered he’s done well. DeJong is plus defender at shortstop, slightly above league average offensively, is among the team’s best producers with runners in scoring position, is slugging .434, and has homered every 18.4 at-bats. DeJong has more WAR (1.5) than Contreras, Edman, Walker and Carlson. Grade: B minus.

Alec Burleson: I think he’ll eventually develop into a good big-league hitter. But in 196 plate appearances so far in 2023 Burly is 20 percent below average offensively, is a below-average defender, and is below the replacement level at minus 0.6 WAR. I’m sorry but … Grade: F. 

Tyler O’ Neill: Nothing there. A total washout in the first half. He’s already missed 69 days on the IL. He’s below replacement level with minus 0.3 WAR. Grade: F.

Juan Yepez: He only has 46 plate appearances this season and that isn’t much to go on. But he’s 20 percent below league average offensively, is a liability on defense, and is below replacement level with minus 0.3 WAR. If he played more, we’d know more. Grade D minus.

Thanks for reading …


Bernie hosts a weekday sports-talk show on 590 The Fan, KFNS-AM. It airs 3-6 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 4-6 p.m. on Friday. You can listen by streaming online or by downloading the show podcast at or the 590 app.

Please follow Bernie on Twitter @miklasz

The “Seeing Red” podcast on the Cardinals, featuring Will Leitch and B. Miklasz is available at, the 590 the fan app or your preferred podcast platform. Follow @seeingredpod on Twitter for a direct link.

All stats used in my baseball columns are sourced from FanGraphs, Baseball Reference, Baseball Savant, Fielding Bible, Baseball Prospectus or Bill James Online.

Bernie Miklasz

Bernie Miklasz

For the last 35 years Bernie Miklasz has entertained, enlightened, and connected with generations of St. Louis sports fans.

While best known for his voice as the lead sports columnist at the Post-Dispatch for 26 years, Bernie has also written for The Athletic, Dallas Morning News and Baltimore News American. Bernie has hosted radio shows in St. Louis, Dallas, Baltimore and Washington D.C.

Bernie, his wife Kirsten and their cats reside in the Skinker-DeBaliviere neighborhood of St. Louis.