The St. Louis Cardinals are putting together another solid campaign, which will almost certainly lead to another postseason appearance.
The 2012 Cardinals have gotten pleasantly surprising seasons from certain players—a couple have even stepped up to become All-Stars. On the flip side, they also have some guys who were expected to perform at a higher level but have been duds this season.
Here is a list of those who surprised and those who disappointed in 2013.
By his performance to this point in the season, it is no surprise to see Matt Carpenter on such a list.
Cardinal fans have come to expect Carpenter to deliver when called upon, and he has rarely disappointed.
Currently, Carpenter is sporting a .321 batting average and leads the league in runs scored with 116, doubles with 51 and hits with 185.
All this from a guy who is playing a position he had never played before this season. Carpenter is truly the catalyst for the Cardinals offense, and when he is on, the Cardinals are tough to beat.
When Cardinals closer Jason Motte went down in spring training with an elbow injury, it was a pretty obvious choice that 2012 set-up man Mitchell Boggs would assume the role.
But when Boggs couldn't get a little leaguer out, Mike Matheny had to adjust on the fly.
Enter Edward Mujica. He came into the 2013 season with a measly four career saves and a 3.92 ERA. Not exactly closer-type stuff.
But Matheny showed confidence in Mujica, and he converted his first 21 saves for the Cardinals. To date, he has converted 36 saves, good for third in the National League. The right-hander has also put up a very solid 2.19 ERA, and the Cardinals will continue to count on him to close the door in the postseason.
I'm not sure what prompted Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak to take a flyer on Kevin Siegrist in 2008, but St. Louis fans are certainly glad he did.
Siegrist was a 41st-round pick of the Cardinals in the 2008 amateur draft. Not exactly a guy one would expect to even make the major leagues—and if by some reason he did reach the show, he would have been the least likely prospect to develop into a dominant hurler.
Yet, that is exactly what Kevin Siegrist has done.
He took the place of the miserable Marc Rzepczynski in early June, and the Cardinals haven't looked back.
Siegrist has allowed only two earned runs in 34.1 innings while striking out 46 batters.
I love watching this guy pitch because he shows no fear and goes right after hitters. It'll be fun to watch him this postseason and in years to come.
As mentioned earlier, it was very much assumed that Mitchell Boggs would step right up when closer Jason Motte tore a ligament in his elbow this past spring.
However, the script did not play out that way. Mitchell went from being one of the best set-up men in baseball in 2012 to a guy who could not get a hitter out to save his life in 2013.
Boggs had a 2.21 ERA with 34 holds in 2012. As a closer, Boggs posted an 11.05 ERA with three blown saves in five opportunities. Additionally, Boggs walked 15 in 14.1 innings and opponents were batting .339 off him.
Hopefully for Boggs' sake, a change of scenery in Colorado will get his career back on track.
After a disappointing 2012, I think it's fair to say everyone in the Cardinal fanbase was hoping and expecting that Marc Rzepczynski would return to his 2011 form that proved critical in the Cardinals World Series run.
Unfortunately, the Cardinals and their fans had no such luck. Rzepczynski struggled mightily. He pitched only 10.1 innings and spent most of 2013 with the Cardinals Triple-A affiliate in Memphis, where he did little to restore the franchise's confidence in him.
During his time this season in the majors, Rzepczynski allowed a whopping .345 average.
Thankfully for the Cardinals, Kevin Siegrist has made Rzepczynski a distant memory.
Matt Holliday simply hasn't played like a $17 million-dollar player in 2013.
Holliday knows better than anyone that he hasn't put up the numbers expected of him, though he has gotten things going a bit more as of late.
However, the simple truth is that Holliday needs to produce more in crucial situations to help his team win. Holliday has grounded into an MLB-leading 29 double plays in 2013.
Additionally, his 19 homers is tied for 27th in home runs in the National League, and his .287 batting average is 23 points below his career average. One plus to mention is that Holliday is in the top 10 in the National League with 84 RBI.
But, because he is at best an average defender who is regularly replaced in late innings, Holliday needs to step up more at the plate and show he is a guy who is worth $17 million.