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Braves 2010 Spring Training/Season Thread

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  • #61
    Since there is very little to talk about coming out of Spring Training (I know we could all write pages about Thurston vs. Conrad ) I thought we should look at our "enemies" in the division.



    2B - Adam Kennedy
    C - Ivan Rodriguez
    SP - Jason Marquis
    RP - Matt Capps
    RP - Brian Brunney

    The Good

    The Offense - The Nationals have a quality offense with speedster Nyjer Morgan at the top of the order and big boppers in the middle (Dunn, Zimmerman and Willingham). They also added solid players that will help compliment their stars, adding Adam Kennedy was the good move putting quality bat in front of the meat of the order and adding some speed. The other plus was Ian Desmond beating out Guzman adding very good defense and a better potential bat as Guzman has only really had 2 good seasons.

    The only real holes in the lineup appear to be Ivan Rodriguez and Justin Maxwell. Rodriguez's bat overall has really fallen but that is to be expected of a catcher his age and with the rest of the lineup the Nationals can afford to carry a below average bat like Pudge. Willie Harris is the projected opening day RF and while I like the type of person he is (do anything to help the team) he isn't anything special.

    The Defense - The Nationals have a very good defense built around key guys like Zimmerman, Kennedy and Morgan. Desmond should be an upgrade over Guzman and while Harris' arm isn't strong at all he has good range and should get to a lot of balls. As for Pudge it is hard to truly gauge how good a catcher he still is and while he isn't throwing out %50 of runners anymore he still comes in with an impressive CS % around 30 the last 3 years.

    The only blemishes on an otherwise great defensive face are Willingham and Dunn. While Willingham considering he is replacing Dunn he might look like Willie Mays in LF, so while he isn't good it is still an upgrade. Dunn at 1B isn't really a solution to his bad defense but it will help hide the problem a little better then him patrolling LF, he might cause a few headaches but I have to believe he will cause less runs for the opponents at 1B then LF.

    The Middle Relief - The Nationals have a very nice bullpen, built around guys like Burnett, Bergmann and Clippard. Burnett is a very nice lefty out of the pen, Bergmann failed as a starter but appears to have found a nice little spot in the pen but to be fair he isn't great by any means and Clippard had a great year in '09 and will look to carry that into '10 season. Brian Bruney looks to be the setup man and is a quality player but hasn't really worked a lot of innings so it should be interesting to see if his workload will remain the same.

    The even better news is the fact that Drew Storen could be up this season making a good bullpen into a potential great one.

    The Bad

    Starting Pitching - The Nationals Starting Pitching isn't terrible but it likely won't be good either. The two pitchers in the rotation that are solid are Lannan and Marquis but neither are stars and both are at best solid 3rd or 4th starters on good teams.

    Ugly is all I have to say about the projected final 3 starters. Craig Stammen starts off the parade of bad pitching, at his best Stammen a fringe starter with his low strikeout rate and with an average GB % he isn't great. He could give the team a sub 5.00 ERA but that is far from a certain. 79-Year Old Livan Hernandez is next with his plus 4.50 ERA, nothing complicated about Hernandez as he walks to many, gives up to many hits, doesn't get enough strikeouts, can't keep the ball on the ground and thus gives up to many HRs, their is just nothing good to talk about when you look at Hernandez. Scott Olsen (not completely sure about this) is the final head case to grab a spot, Olsen still hasn't tapped into any of his potential yet still getting hit around, giving up to many walks and struggling to keep the ball in the park.

    Nationals fans shouldn't lose hope though as this weakness could easily become a strength in a few months. The possible additions of uber prospect Strasburg could quickly turn the pitching staff around, not to mention the possible returns of Detwiler, Jordan Zimmermann and Chien-Ming Wang (though he isn't a sure thing) could make this rotation one of the best up and coming in Major League Baseball.

    The Closer - I like Capps (even suggested the Braves trade for him this past offseason) but I don't like him as a closer. When Capps is on he is a lockdown guy but when he is off he is not someone I want out there. Capps has potential but I would not feel comfortable with him as my teams closer going into the season.

    The Nationals are actually a pretty decent team but I doubt they can compete this year. This is a team that will be a contender in the future but this year I expect another last place finish though one much closer then previous years.

    Prediction - 60 to 70 Wins

    Up Next - The New York Mets

    Edit :: Garrett Mock has been named the 5th starter instead of Olsen, the impact is low though. Mock has good stuff but his history as a starter has been at best mixed, the good news for Nationals fans is that his most recent stint as a starter in the minors he has been successful but his stint as a starter in the majors wasn't as successful. If he can find command of his pitches he could be a good starter but his presence does not upgrade them enough to change my opinion of them.
    Last edited by PureBaseballFan; 04-03-2010, 10:35 AM.
    Extend Prado!!!


    • #62
      my prediction is that the nats will not finish last in the division this year. marlins never know what you are gonna get, mets could be really good or bad and if the braves aren't healthy they could be in trouble also.


      • #63
        New York Mets


        1B - Mike Jacobs
        C - Rod Barajas
        LF - Jason Bay
        CF - Gary Matthews Jr.

        The Good

        Stars - The Mets are blessed with extremely talented players and major names, David Wright leads the way of everyday players and Johan Santana is an ace on almost any staff. Not to mention the addition of Jason Bay in LF which adds not only another All-Star caliber player but what appears to be a leader on and off the field. They will also add Beltran and Reyes when both finally become healthy but some might question if that will ever happen. They also have great veteran leadership in the pen with K-Rod who gives the Mets bullpen a reliable man to shut the door.

        The Mets have enough Stars on their team to make any team jealous but the real question is are they enough?

        Young Guns - The Mets have 3 very talented prospects waiting in the wings for someone to get injured or the Mets to give them a shot. Fernando Martinez isn't a CF as he just doesn't appear to have the range but he can be a fine RF and his bat has a ton of potential, the Mets likely rushed him last year but he can be a great player in the Majors if given the time. Ike Davis is the guy at 1B and while I don't think he will be a star (like some in the New York Media) I do think he can be a quality player perhaps with Adam LaRoche type of production but there is nothing wrong with that (though the media might not like that). The other guy is the one everyone up here in NY is talking about Jenrry Mejia, in my opinion the Mets should keep him down and develop him as a starter as he will have more value in the longterm there and keeping him in the majors this year as a reliever would make it hard to stretch him out as a starter in the future without several years where you likely have to just shutdown his arm.

        The Mets have talent in their farm but how they handle them could determine how the Mets are going to do in the future.

        The Bad

        Everyone Except for the Stars - I was thinking of just doing them position by position but I chose to lump them all together. Lets start in the the pen, other then Feliciano (as long as he is facing lefties) and K-Rod everyone else is a question. Sean Green is trying to turn into a poor man's Peter Moylan but just like Moylan has struggled with lefties so far this spring, he has some skills but is far from a sure thing. Ryoto Igarashi is a question mark and so far this spring has appeared to struggle with control, if he can adjust he could be a quality arm but that isn't a sure thing by any means. Nelson Figueroa is your average long man in the pen that won't do anything special but won't be terrible. Bobby Parnell isn't going to be anything special till he develops a second pitch and learns to command his fastball better, the potential is there but is another far from sure thing. Fernando Nieve just another guy who had a hot streak but likely will never match that again, he has skills but another he needs to develop type of player. The bullpen has potential to be good but of course it has the potential to be pretty bad.

        The next sub par filled area to look at is the everyday regulars. The problem the Mets seem to have is that they get starstruck and forget they have to fill out the rest of the team. Jeff Francoeur is someone we all know and while the New York Media thinks he can breakout in NY just ask any Braves fan about him reaching his potential (I have heard people say 20 HRs this year for Frenchy ), oh yeah before I forget if you think that his spring training walk to strikeout actually means something of 5 BB to 5 SO just look at 2009 spring training with his 7 BB to 6 SO and then look at his 23 total walks for all of last season. Rod Barajas is sub par at best with the bat and his defense is okay but not enough to make up for his poor bat, some might fall in love with his 19 HRs but his poor BA and Francouer like ability to take a walk he brings nothing else to the team with a bat, in my opinion they should have jumped on Gregg Zaun as he will likely provide better value this year. Daniel Murphy is injured but even when healthy would be a Casey Kotchman type player with slightly more doubles and the fact the some media people are fine with Mike Jacobs tells you the quality of writers you get in New York both are below average which makes it more amazing they didn't at least make an offer to Branyan or LaRoche (not sure if they did make an offer but I don't remember reading anything).

        Finally we get to rotation the real question is where to start. John Maine leads us off with his potential and injury prone nature, Maine has skills but he can't stay healthy and he just can't seem to take the next step when he is. Maine could become a solid middle of the rotation starter but he is just an average 4th right now. Jon Niese is another talented pitcher but he hasn't shown enough to write him in as a solid start every 5th day, he could be good but I doubt he will ever be anything more then a number 3 at best. Mike Pelfrey is a guy that needs to put the mental part of baseball together, he has the stuff to be a good starter but he seems to lose his composure whenever someone gets on base (which is why you should almost always run on him just to try and shake him). Oliver Perez is the final head case in this little group and I think it is clear he will never be a consistently good pitcher, Perez is bad and is just another in the long line of questionable moves by Omar.

        The Mets have stars but have failed to get solid role players, look at the projected top three teams in the NL East. The Braves have guys like Matt Diaz, Martin Prado, Kenshin Kawakami, etc. none are stars but all will help the Braves compete, the Marlins have Cody Ross, Jorge Cantu and John Baker again not stars but quality players that help their team and while the Phillies have a lineup full of stars they have two key players that aren't stars but are quality players in Ruiz and Polanco. You can build a team of stars (look at the Phillies) but you need quality players that will help you support them and extend the lineup/pitching staff.

        Prediction - 72 - 80 - Just to clarify this is what I think the low end of the spectrum is to the high end.

        Up Next - The Florida Marlins

        Edit :: Since the Mets made cuts yesterday and two I expected to make the team didn't. Hisanori Takahashi has had a very good spring but as always that doesn't mean anything in the longterm. Jenrry Mejia is the other addition and all I can say is great job Mets ownership in allowing to guys that will likely be fired in the next year or so potentially screw up your best starting pitching prospect in years. Overall it is likely a slight improvement over Parnell and Figueroa but not enough to change anything in my opinion.
        Last edited by PureBaseballFan; 04-03-2010, 07:52 AM.
        Extend Prado!!!


        • #64
          Well we now know the final roster spots will be taken by Jo-Jo Reyes, Jesse Chavez and Brooks Conrad.

          In other news McLouth is out with a sore hamstring and I would bet tomorrow, they aren't sure if he will be ready for opening day.
          Extend Prado!!!


          • #65
            welcome to the big leagues mithc jones?

            as far as predictions for the mets go, I took pelfrey late in the fantasy draft this year. I think he could have a breakout season.


            • #66
              Florida Marlins


              SP - Nate Robertson

              The Good

              A Qaulity Lineup - The lineup is pretty complete and one without any major holes, the team has a couple stars like Hanley and NL ROY winner Coghlan but both are supported by good bats in Cody Ross, Cantu and Uggla. While not good or stars players like Baker are important to extend the lineup and young prospects like Maybin and Gaby Sanchez have the potential to really add something to the lineup. The construction of the lineup will be interesting and for the most part will bring good power and the ability to get on base at a high percentage. It might not be the sexiest lineup but it has the potential to be one of the best in the NL.

              The Top of the Rotation - I will admit the stats from 2009 for the most part aren't pretty but they have a lot of talent. Josh Johnson of course leads the way with his top of the rotation stuff that will make the duels between him and Hanson fun to watch in the coming years. Ricky Nolasco is the number 2 guy in the rotation and while his ERA was 5.06 his FIP paints a story of him pitching much better then that, I really expect Nolasco to put up a very good season this year, I do worry about the amount of HRs he gives up but as long as he keeps the walks and hits down he should do fine. Anibal Sanchez is another talented arm but if he will be successful this year he really needs to keep the walks down or else he might blow up. All three arms have the potential to be a match for any rotation but not all is great for the rotation.

              A Solid Pen - Meyer, Pinto, Badenhop and Sanchez all appear to be quality arms with some having the occasional hiccup. All have talent and all can be counted on in my opinion to for the most part give the Marlins quality innings. Veras and Hensley appear to be the only real (middle relief) question marks in this pen but both have talent to to be good contributors.

              The Bad

              The Bottom Two - I like Volstad but I think it would be a mistake to to consider him a plus at this time. Volstad has the talent to be a good pitcher in the majors but overall likely won't be an ace as he gives up far to many HRs which is odd since he did really well in his first year of limiting HRs considering he usually kept the ball on the ground. Robertson isn't bad but he isn't good either, I think at his best he might be a low 4 ERA type perhaps even going sub 4 but he isn't anything special. There isn't anything particularly wrong with these two but they aren't good enough where I can see them as a positive for their team yet.

              Where is the Closer? - Leo Nunez gets that honor but I doubt he can hold on to that spot this entire season. Nunez has talent but his propensity to give up the long ball isn't a great quality to have when looking for a good closer. Next in line would likely be Meyer or Sanchez but both only had their first successful years in 2009 and aren't locks to repeat them, I like these guys as relievers only because if they do fall a little flat they aren't going to blow their teams chances at the playoffs but if put in the closer position they could do a lot of damage. The potential is there but right now it isn't very stable.

              The Marlins aren't a team full of stars like the Mets or the Phillies but have a team built around a good nucleus with quality at most positions. While it is hard to market a team full of solid players they clearly have a team that can compete with any team everyday. Perhaps the best part about this team is that they are not only built to compete now but have future pieces waiting in the wings or just starting that will help them to compete in years to come, hopefully for them they can keep most of them around.

              Prediction - 83 to 88 Wins

              Up Next - The Philadelphia Phillies
              Extend Prado!!!


              • #67
                Philadelphia Phillies


                3B - Placido Polanco
                RP - Danys Baez

                The Good

                Aces in the Hole - I think everyone knows of my love for Roy Halladay and perhaps you know how much I like Cole Hamels, both are top of the rotation pitchers (though Hamels might have taken a step back last year) which can lock down a lineup on any given day. Halladay is a workhorse that can dominate a lineup up and down for 9 innings every 5th day, his hard sinking fastball that hitters just can't get the fat of the bat on makes for a lot of weakly hit balls and with that defense he should be great. Hamels is the other part of this dynamic duo and while he is coming off of the worst season of his career I do expect a bounce back, he came into camp determined to prove that last year was a fluke and I believe he will do that. These two guys are one of the main reasons the Phillies are so heavily favored not just in the NL East but the NL in general, the question is though is the people who truly believe that overlooking something?

                Best Everyday Lineup in the NL - The other reason they are so heavily favored is of course this lineup. The lineup is anchored by Howard, Utley, Rollins, Victorino and Werth but is complimented by newly added Polanco, Ibanez and Ruiz making it one of the deepest lineups in the majors. They scariest part of the lineup is they have a little of everything be it big power from Werth, Howard, Ibanez and Utley or speed from Victorino, Rollins or even Werth, they put pressure on you in so many different ways it is hard to think about what it must be like as an opposing pitcher. The Phillies have great bats up and down their order but have constructed a great overall lineup by putting complimentary players like Polanco or Ibanez as well (something I think the Mets good learn a lot from).

                That isn't the end of the pluses this lineup brings their teams every day as they are all pretty much plus defenders, Utley, Victorino and Rollins are known to be quality defenders and Howard appeared to have transformed himself into a good defender last year. Werth is a good defensive RF and when teamed with Victorino they make for a pretty good defensive OF. There are two question marks of course in Polanco, who hasn't played 3B since 2005 and really hasn't played the majority of his games there since 2002, and Ibanez who did have a good UZR rating last year but I expect that to come back down to his the negatives (which is one of the main problems I have with UZR).

                Mixed Bag in the Pen - There is some good and some question marks in the pen. Madson, Durbin and Baez appear to be good to solid but no one is really special (Madson is one of those guys with potential). If healthy J.C. Romero is a very good weapon but he seems to struggle to ever fully take healthy. Bastardo, Escalona, Carpenter and Herndon all have that P word of potential but right now they are just coin flips on whether they will have good or bad seasons. Contreras is the old crafty veteran in the bunch but I do have doubts about how good he can be even in short spurts.

                (Not completely sure who is going to be in the pen to be perfectly honest.)

                The Bad

                The Final Three Spots of the Rotation - The biggest problem I see with this team are these three spots, Blanton (when healthy), Moyer and Happ I don't believe are goo enough to help them runaway with the division. Blanton is a decent innings eater but he isn't anything special, likely to give you an ERA around 4.00 or higher and being very average overall. Moyer had a great year in 2008 but if he has a ERA around 4.25 that would have to be considered a success, the problem is I just don't see that happening. Now we get to the main event of course in J.A. Happ, lets start this off with an acknowledgement that he had a great season last year but is he really that good is the true question? I don't believe he will ever reach that sort of ERA again, he walks to many and was helped out a ton by the fact was able to strand runners. Now I don't think he will be bad (as I am not manly enough to go out on a limb and say he will have an ERA above 4.00) but I think a pretty decent regression in his conventional stats will happen which could make for a rather sub par rotation after Halladay and Hamels. If the Braves or Marlins do win the East I think it will have a whole lot more to do with these three then anything else (barring major injuries that is).

                Sidenote - Kendrick seems to be the likely short term replacement for Blanton (depending how long he is out) and I just haven't been impressed with him and don't think he is any better then Blanton.

                Lidge - He has to be a big question mark in my opinion after last year. Some have said he was tipping his pitches last year, wasn't completely healthy or just wasn't right mechanically making his slider very hittable. Lidge is good but I don't believe he can be counted on to be a lock down closer this season but I do expect him to be a pretty good closer when he gets healthy.

                Injuries - Injuries are always a concern for every team but the Phillies already have 3 pretty big pieces on the DL. Lidge, Blanton and Romero will all begin the season on the DL with Blanton being the most serious missing anywhere between 3 weeks to 6. While injuries are a concern for every team I am sure this is not the way the Phillies were looking to start the season off.

                The Phillies are the favorites in the NL and rightfully so but I think people making them out to be juggernauts might be overlooking a weakness or two. They have a great top of the rotation but I have some serious doubts about the bottom of that rotation which I think could really hinder the Phillies in running away with the NL East.

                Prediction - 86 to 92 Wins

                Up Next - The Atlanta Braves
                Extend Prado!!!


                • #68
                  Did you all realize that when Troy Glaus starts at 1B on Opening Day he'll be the 11th different opening-day first baseman in 12 years for the Braves?

                  1999: Ryan Klesko

                  2000: Andres Galarraga

                  2001: Rico Brogna

                  2002: B.J. Surhoff

                  2003: Robert Fick

                  2004: Julio Franco

                  2005: Adam LaRoche

                  2006: Adam LaRoche

                  2007: Scott Thorman

                  2008: Mark Teixeira

                  2009: Casey Kotchman

                  2010: Troy Glaus

                  2nd member of the Peter Moylan Fan Club


                  • #69
                    Atlanta Braves


                    RF - Jason Heyward
                    LF/CF - Melky Cabrera
                    1B - Troy Glaus
                    RP - Jesse Chavez
                    RP - Takashi Saito
                    CL - Billy Wagner

                    The Good

                    Patience is a Great Virtue - The one thing that is dramatically different about this opening day roster compared to the 2009 one is patience. Chipper and Troy will at the very least walk 75 times and younger players like McCann, Yunel, Heyward and McLouth all likely to get on base by walking. Plate discipline helps you in so many ways, not just by getting guys on base but working counts and perhaps forcing starting pitchers out of the game sooner. This team is built to work counts which is something I love (one of the main reasons I wanted Nick Johnson) which puts a ton of pressure on any pitcher no matter how good they are.

                    There are a few guys that won't walk a ton mainly Diaz, Prado and Melky (which is one of the main reasons I question him being the leadoff guy) but with good patience from the other 6 spots of the lineup the bad will be outweighed by the good.

                    Pitching, Pitching and More Pitching - The strength of this team is clearly the depth of the pitching staff be it in the rotation or the pen. While they lack a true Ace (though one could develop in Hanson) they have quality arms one through five. Veterans Lowe and Hudson should be solid (though Lowe should be seen as a question mark) and the young guns of Hanson and Jair should provide consistent quality outings during the season with Kenshin "the Halladay Slayer" Kawakami doing a solid job as the 5th man.

                    There are two guys though I wish to talk about mainly Jair and Kawakami, I am a believer that Jair will regress (not Happ proportions) but not to a bad or average line somewhere in the 3.30 to 3.60 ERA range is what I expect. As for Kenshin I expect him to produce around the same line he did in 2009 and if he can actually get his 2 seamer producing more groundballs then I could see a nice boost. Jair is a question mark in my opinion but I do think it is a little early to say Kenshin is a lock to produce at a good level right now (no matter how much I believe he will do that).

                    The pen looks to be pretty good, they may have lost two fireballers but both had stints where they struggled to close down games (Soriano in July and August was nerve racking for me) so they added a pair of veteran closers with track records of being pretty lock down though both should be considered an injury risk (how much is up for debate). They join a pen already pretty strong with Moylan and O'Flaherty with my self expecting some pretty good stuff from Medlen. Chavez had an okay season last year but after a shaky spring some are nervous about him and Jo-Jo hasn't had the best track record with the big club to put it lightly but the good thing for the Braves is they aren't stuck with them as they have a few possible addition in Triple-A or Double-A.

                    While the Braves might be lacking in the final two spots of the pen they have the reinforcements down at Gwinnett just waiting for a chance. Craig Kimbrel is the top relief prospect with an electric arm and a very impressive slider who draws comparisons of Billy Wagner, Scott Proctor is a quality veteran that could be ready in a few weeks and Micheal Dunn, Cory Gearrin, Jeff Lyman and Jonny Venters could all be good arms out of the pen and be ready to contribute sometime this year. The Braves might not have the best pitching staff but they might arguably have one of the deepest.

                    The Bad

                    Where's the Power - The Braves have power potential but there are just to many question marks about it to really say it isn't a negative quality. Almost all of the Braves should hit 10 or more HRs and two that you can likely say will hit 20 (McCann and McLouth) but how much more is the real question. Glaus struggled to get his power stroke (he had 4 2B in Spring Training though one likely should have been a HR) and while we expect him to get 25 or so HRs it is far from a certain. Chipper Jones is another guy who could hit 20 or more but after a down year nothing can be written in pen. Jason Heyward (as much as I LOVE HIM!!) isn't a sure thing to hit 15 or more (I think 10 is a pretty easy bet). The Braves have decent potential power but really it isn't a sure thing and right now is a negative for me.

                    Defense - This is pretty simple, I don't believe the Braves will have a good defense. Prado is average, Yunel is good (except for UZR), Chipper is below average or average at this point and Glaus will likely struggle at times at 1B, in the outfield McLouth is average, Diaz is below average to average, Melky is pretty good and Heyward is by all reports good. If anything really hurts the Braves chances to compete it might be this.

                    The Braves going into the season appear to have a good lineup and a very good pitching staff, the question will be can the offense provide enough thump and can the defense be good enough to help support this pitching staff.

                    Prediction - 83 to 90 Wins (it is a little higher ceiling then the Marlins only because of overall pitching staff)
                    Extend Prado!!!


                    • #70
                      lowe gives up three runs in the first inning. Wish i was watching this game! ugh.


                      • #71
                        J-Hey fever!! I knew he was going to hit a bomb this game! Schaefer last year, Heyward this year!
                        2nd member of the Peter Moylan Fan Club


                        • #72
                          Originally posted by Atlanta Braves Freak View Post
                          J-Hey fever!! I knew he was going to hit a bomb this game! Schaefer last year, Heyward this year!
                          that's the first thing i thought too.. i don't think we have to worry about heyward getting hurt, i hope. i hope schafer gets better so he can be in the OF next year.


                          • #73
                            Great start to the season!!!! The Braves looked amazingly ready. Jason Heyward had a great first game, with a first pitch homer. And for all the haters, Billy Wagner was dominant to close it out. Great job to Cox for getting his team ready and great job to the players for looking ready, pumped up, and for working hard. All the new comers looked good, Hinske, Heyward, Wagner, etc. Congrats to Heyward again. Great job all around, this is one of those days that makes me proud to be a Braves Fan.
                            "I never thought home runs were all that exciting. I still think the triple is the most exciting thing in baseball. To me, a triple is like a guy taking the ball on his 1-yard line and running 99 yards for a touchdown." -Hank Aaron


                            • #74
                              i don't know about a great job to mr. lowe. 5runs on 5hits over 6innings.


                              • #75
                                Originally posted by chip&smoltz95 View Post
                                i don't know about a great job to mr. lowe. 5runs on 5hits over 6innings.
                                Same here. To have the cushion he did the majority of his outing, he definitely underperformed (in the runs category).
                                2nd member of the Peter Moylan Fan Club