St. Louis Cardinals: The 5 Biggest Surprises Through First Half of 2014

St. Louis Cardinals: 5 Biggest Surprises Through First Half of 2014

St. Louis Cardinals
Kyle Terada -- USA TODAY Sports

We have reached the halfway point of the 2014 season, and as with other teams in MLB, there are some expected things that took place. There were also some things Cardinals fans did not expect to see, and here are the five biggest surprises of the first half.

5. Jhonny Peralta isn't Hitting

Jhonny Peralta St. Louis Cardinals
Chris Humphreys -- USA TODAY Sports

5. Jhonny Peralta isn't Hitting

Jhonny Peralta St. Louis Cardinals
Chris Humphreys -- USA TODAY Sports

After a .303 batting average with the Detroit Tigers last season, the Cardinals figured to pounce on the competition by signing Peralta to a four-year contract. He's already matched his home run total of 11 from last season, but the batting average is down over 60 points. You can't blame PEDs on this one because Peralta is still hitting for power, but the Cards have to feel a bit of buyer's remorse.

4. What's Happened to Allen Craig?

Allen Craig St. Louis Cardinals
Robert Hanashiro -- USA TODAY Sports

4. What's Happened to Allen Craig?

Allen Craig St. Louis Cardinals
Robert Hanashiro -- USA TODAY Sports

If you look at Craig's stats, his high-water mark was 2010 when he batted .307 and slammed 22 home runs for the Cardinals. His average went up last year to .315 and he had the most hits of his career (160), but it's been all downhill since. With a .255-6-40 mark through Wednesday, many people wonder if Craig should take a seat on the bench.

3. Shelby Miller is Struggling

Shelby Miller St. Louis Cardinals
Jeff Curry -- USA TODAY Sports

3. Shelby Miller is Struggling

Shelby Miller St. Louis Cardinals
Jeff Curry -- USA TODAY Sports

After a solid first full season in St. Louis last year, Miller has regressed. There is worry back tightness may be behind this, and Miller might head for a stint on the DL if this is the case. The team does have to worry about Miller being 7-7 at this point after he went 15-9 last year. What's even more troubling is that Miller has 49 walks so far in 2014 after walking only 57 all of last season.

2. Where are the Rookies?

Oscar Taveras St. Louis Cardinals
Kyle Terada -- USA TODAY Sports

2. Where are the Rookies?

Oscar Taveras St. Louis Cardinals
Kyle Terada -- USA TODAY Sports

This was supposed to be the year St. Louis' pipeline of talent paid off. Instead, highly-touted rookies have disappointed so far. Oscar Taveras hits the cover off the ball at triple-A but can't put it together in St. Louis, and Kolten Wong has been a disappointment, although his shoulder injury may have hampered him somewhat. This team has to get production from younger talent soon.

1. Why Isn't This Team in First Place?

Matt Holliday St. Louis Cardinals
Kyle Terada -- USA TODAY Sports

1. Why Isn't This Team in First Place?

Matt Holliday St. Louis Cardinals
Kyle Terada -- USA TODAY Sports

After the Cardinals' trip to the World Series last year, no one would have been surprised to see St. Louis storm out of the starting gate. Instead, the Cardinals have been staring up at the Milwaukee Brewers all season long as the Brewers have occupied first. Cardinal fans shouldn't feel bad. Pittsburgh and Cincinnati have struggled this season, so the NL Central appears to be in a slump.