Tag Archive | "Dustin Pedroia"

B Strong

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B Strong

Posted on 23 April 2013 by Nick Schaeflein

In the last week it was a proud time to be a baseball fan. There was no milestones reached, no must see plays, or terrific stat lines to wow over but there was something deeper that happened. The events that happened last week in the city of Boston were tragic. In the matter of minutes a tradition in the streets of Bean Town became a nightmare. The silver lining however, is that the great game of baseball and a great city became one and showed true beauty during a difficult time with honor and class.

BostonStrong

Growing up, my dad traveled a lot to Boston for work and I always associated that with the baseball team there. Not knowing any better, throughout the years I became a fan of the Red Sox. I have had the privilege to walk the streets of Boston where the marathon is held and watching the events last Monday hit home in a way. In addition, having a cousin currently preparing to run the Chicago Marathon made it strike another cord as well.

Last Monday was to be a special day in the city of Boston. It was Patriots Day in the city. The day is a holiday where fans take in a day game at Fenway and also celebrate Marathon Monday with the running of the Boston Marathon. In Major League Baseball as well April 15th was the annual celebration of Jackie Robinson Day across the league. Celebrating those two historical events, who would dream up anything but a festive day? But then a mere forty five minutes after the Red Sox won a ball game in walk off fashion, the earth shook with a moment in time that will now be linked to Patriots Day history forever.

If there is one city and one franchise that could rally around a tragedy like this it would be Boston and the Red Sox. That type of mentality is in their core as Bostonians. They are a tough, hard nose city. The Red Sox themselves have guys that are true leaders and role models that would not tarnish this tragedy. Guys like Dustin Pedroia, Ryan Dempster, and David Ortiz are community guys that will help shoulder the pain of a city and lead a city as one. They will bear that cross and honor the city through the healing process.

The following day, it was fitting the Red Sox played a game in Cleveland where in the opposite dugout was former manager Terry Francona and a few former teammates. It was as if the game of baseball created a chance for brethrens to come together in a time of grievance. Also during their short time in Cleveland, Jon Lester made a start on the same mound where in 2007 he made his comeback from beating cancer. On the field it was a three game sweep in the win column for the Red Sox, but much deeper it was a group of guys forced into leading an example for a city and rallying together to overcome pain.

Around the league as well, support was displayed for Boston. Ballparks and cities united and rivalries were put to the side. To name a few, in New York and Chicago they played Neil Diamonds’ Sweet Caroline which is a Fenway Park mantra. Ben Revere of the Phillies showed remembrance on his glove. For a few moments in time, Red Sox Nation was supported across the whole nation. It was later discovered as well that in the marathon was the brother of former Red Sox GM Theo Epstein who was unharmed. The Red Sox are a group that has a knack of sticking with you. It goes to show that while you may be able to take them out of Boston, the ties to Boston will always remain.

Over the weekend, the Red Sox returned home to Boston. They came home to cheers of unity and a nation banding together. Fittingly, it also marked the return and season debut of fan favorite David Ortiz. Big Papi wasted little time collecting a few hits, but also providing a touching pre game speech as well for the crowd. There are no stats to prove it, but that Saturday afternoon ballgame in April could be one of the biggest moments in Fenway Park lore.

In the city limits, Patriots Day will no longer be just for remembering the battles of Lexington and Concord, but also for the tragic events of 2013. Sox Nation will do their part in honoring the fallen. They will help ease the pain, but they will also never forget. As always, Sox Nation will B Strong.

 

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Playing The Name Game: Spring Training Edition

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Playing The Name Game: Spring Training Edition

Posted on 11 March 2013 by Chris Caylor

This is the first of a two-part spring training edition of Playing the Name Game. This article is targeted at those owners whose drafts (or auctions) haven’t yet taken place. Most of my drafts/auctions have not occurred, which is unusual, based on the comments of several fantasy baseball writers I read and respect. Now, I happen to play in AL-only and NL-only leagues, as I find those leagues more challenging than typical mixed leagues.

NameGame

Regardless of whether the format is draft or auction, fantasy baseball league winners are usually the owners who get the most bang for their buck. Owners who drafted Mike Trout in the mid-to-late rounds, or spent his/her money on R.A. Dickey instead of Tim Lincecum, probably enjoyed finishing in the money in their leagues last year.

The goal of these articles is to identify players who might similarly boost your team in 2013. Let’s jump right in.

First Base

Player A: .299/.344/.463, 18 HR, 108 RBI, 116 OPS+
Player B: .227/.308/.462, 32 HR, 90 RBI, 110 OPS+

Player A is the Dodgers’ Adrian Gonzalez. Player B is Ike Davis of the Mets. Gonzalez has superior talent around him, but his home run totals have dropped each of the past three seasons. At 25, Davis is five years younger and smacked 20 home runs in his final 75 games in 2012. The difference in average draft position, though, is what really struck me: Gonzalez is going in the 3rd-4th round, while Davis is going between rounds 12-16. Why draft A-Gon when you can fortify your middle infield and outfield in the early rounds and get plenty of power from a guy like Davis (or Paul Goldschmidt) later?

Speaking of middle infield:

Second base

Player A: .290/.347/.449, 15 HR, 65 RBI, 20 SB, 112 OPS+
Player B: .257/.335/.379, 14 HR, 76 RBI, 31 SB, 103 OPS+

Player A is Dustin Pedroia of the Red Sox. Player B is Jason Kipnis of the Indians. Personally, I consider Pedroia one of the most overrated players in baseball. The way he runs his mouth, you’d think he was better than the Yankees’ Robinson Cano. But the numbers prove otherwise. Kipnis, meanwhile, will turn 26 shortly after Opening Day and plays for a team that added Michael Bourn and Nick Swisher to its 2013 lineup. True, Kipnis did tail off drastically in the second half of 2012 after a terrific first three months. But the power is developing to complement his 30-steal speed. In ESPN leagues, Kipnis is coming off the board two rounds after Pedroia. That equals two rounds where you can load up on big-time outfielders or an elite shortstop instead. I’m buying.

Shortstop

Player A: .287/.360/.486, 8 HR, 27 RBI, 2 SB, 111 OPS+
Player B: .292/.335/.511, 25 HR, 73 RBI, 21 SB, 126 OPS+

Player A is Troy Tulowitzki of the Rockies. Player B is Ian Desmond of the Nationals. Last year was supposed to be The Big Year for Tulo, as he was entering his age 27 season and coming off three consecutive seasons where he compiled an OPS+ north of 130. Instead, Tulo only played 47 games and missed the final four months of the 2012 season. Entering his seventh season, Tulowitzki has played in 140+ games just three times. When healthy, he is the best shortstop in either league. Unfortunately, that’s become a huge gamble for fantasy owners due to the multiple leg injuries. Desmond is entering his own age 27 season and put up his 2012 stat line despite missing about a month with a dreaded oblique injury, so his numbers could have been even better. Oblique injuries don’t seem to recur with the same frequency as leg injuries. Tulo has the edge in power, but Desmond has better speed, which is more difficult to come by.

Third Base

Player A: .306/.391/.492, 21 HR, 93 RBI, 15 SB, 143 OPS+
Player B: .244/.317/.476, 30 HR, 85 RBI, 1 SB, 117 OPS+

Player A is the Mets’ David Wright. Player B is Pedro Alvarez of the Pirates. Here’s an interesting stat: in 2009 and 2011, Wright combined for just 24 home runs. In 2010 and 2012, Wright smacked a combined 50 home runs. Which Wright will it be in 2013? Will the moved-in fences at Citi Field boost his power numbers, or are the 30-homer days gone for the six-time All-Star? It strikes me as an expensive gamble, given his average draft position in the 1st-2nd round. Meanwhile, in 2012, Alvarez found the power stroke that tantalized the Pirates into making him the #2 overall pick in 2008. Like all Pittsburgh hitters, he tailed off in the second half of the season, but his 53-point jump in batting average (and 178-point jump in slugging) shows that Alvarez has figured some things out at the plate. It looks like the Buccos have finally found their cleanup hitter to protect Andrew McCutchen. And at less than half of Wright’s average auction value, Alvarez should be a major-league bargain for fantasy owners.

Catcher

Player A: .319/.416/.446, 10 HR, 85 RBI, 8 SB, 81 R, 141 OPS+
Player B: .301/.328/.471, 11 HR, 39 RBI, 0 SB, 38 R, 117 OPS+

Player A is the Twins’ Joe Mauer. Player B is Salvador Perez of the Royals. Mauer is now on the wrong side of 30, playing a position that is notoriously brutal on an athlete’s body. That said, Mauer bounced back nicely from a wretched 2011. Mauer is still an elite player, but he lands on this list because he is playing fewer and fewer games at catcher. While the Twins aim to preserve their big-money star, meet the new Joe Mauer: Sal Perez. The Royals’ 22-year-old backstop kept up his impressive contact rate after returning from a knee injury last year and looks like a future superstar at the position. Because he is buried in woeful Kansas City, he may slip a few rounds in your draft or auction. Perez’ 2013 projections are equal to or better than Mauer in every category except RBI. Don’t miss the boat on him.

You may have detected a trend is these five comparisons: I recommend younger, up-and-coming players as better bargains. That isn’t to say you should avoid any of the “bigger” names; only that you should be able to get similar production at a lower cost later in your draft/auction. If it works out, you allow yourself to acquire elite talent at a different position, while another owner might find himself reaching for a backup or platoon player to fill a roster spot.

These are only one man’s opinion. For what it’s worth, though, I did win my league in 2012.

Coming up In Part 2: pitchers and outfielders.

Follow me on Twitter: @ccaylor10.

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DOs and DONTs: Atlanta Braves

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DOs and DONTs: Atlanta Braves

Posted on 04 March 2012 by Gary Marchese

The Atlanta Braves are coming off a miserable collapse.  Yes believe it or not the Boston Red Sox weren’t the only team that collapsed last year.  This is a look at their 40 man roster as we head into the 2012 season.  The other 29 teams in baseball have been covered by me and my colleagues so take a look at all 30 Dos and Don’ts before you draft your fantasy baseball team.  Here we go with the Atlanta Braves.

Do take a look at Jason Heyward.  He did have a bad year last year but he had a good rookie year and I would expect him to bounce back this year.  He still hit 14 homeruns last year after hitting 18 the year before.  I would expect him to be able to hit 20-25 consistently and bat around 275.  He suffered a sophomore slump but that is all behind him now and he is looking to have a productive 2012.

Don’t take Chipper Jones because of his name.  He has played regularly and with the Braves since 1995.  He has had a great career but he is getting older and just isn’t the same player.  He is still pretty productive though.  He hit 275 last year with 18 homeruns and 70 RBI.  He won’t play all the time though and is injury prone now.  If you take him your taking a big risk.

Do look at Dan Uggla for second base.  I wouldn’t put him at the top of my list but  he will give you great power from a position that doesn’t always do that.  Robinson Cano, Dustin Pedroia, Chase Utley are all better all around players but Uggla will provide huge power for your team.  Uggla last year hit 233 which was the lowest batting average of his career.  He still hit 36 homeruns though and drove in 82.  The lowest amount of homeruns he hit in a year was 27 with 82 being the lowest amount of runs driven in by him.  He is going to give you 25+ homeruns and 80+ RBI, that is good production from a second baseman.

Don’t look at Matt Diaz as anything more then a potential bench player.  He is a career 296 hitter but has never had more then 135 games played.  He also doesn’t hit for much power or drive in many runs.  13 homeruns and 58 RBI were his best numbers for a single season.

Do like what you see out of Freddie Freeman for a first baseman.  He could suffer a sophomore slump but especially in a keeper league he is a guy worth looking at.  Freeman last season hit 282 with a 346 on base percentage.  He had 21 homeruns and 76 RBI.  He is a monster of a guy and should be a good power first baseman for years to come.

Don’t go crazy over Jack Wilson.  He isn’t a bad player but he isn’t one of the top second baseman.  He is good with the glove but his career batting average is at 266, he won’t hit many homeruns or drive in many.  His best homerun year was 12 and the most RBI he had in a season was 62.  A decent player but nothing real special and on his own team I would take Uggla ahead of him.

Do take a look at Eric Hinske.  He is a veteran and if for nothing else a winner.  He always seems to be on the team that makes the World series although Atlanta had to collapse last season and ruin that for him a little.  He is a nice backup/bench player.  He is an outfielder with some pop and he is very good in the clutch.  He is worth taking a look at as an extra player.

Don’t know if I would take Tim Hudson.  He has been a good pitcher for a long time but he is getting older.  He is also coming off of back surgery and that is a red flag for me.  He may return to the Braves in May but that is risky.  He did have a good season last year going 16-10 with a 3.22 ERA.  In the last two years he has pitched a lot of innings.  He pitched 228 innings in 2010 and 215 last season.  He is a good pitcher but I wouldn’t take a risk with him right now.

Tommy Hanson is a very good young pitcher.  I would say Do take a good look at him.  The only concern I would have with him is that he did suffer a concussion in February in a car accident.  I don’t think it will affect him long term and he seems to be ok right now but you never know with a head injury.  I still wouldn’t mind him on my team especially in a keeper league where I can take good young players and have them on my team for years to come.

Don’t take Martin Prado on your team if your looking for power.  He is a guy that can hit for average but  he doesn’t have much power.  He isn’t going to drive in many runs for you either.  He isn’t going to steal bases at all either.  He is a guy to have on your team if your looking at only batting average.  I would pass on him though.  He is also a guy that the Braves talked about trading away.

Do take Michael Bourn especially if your looking to add speed to your team.  Bourn is an exciting young player to have.  Bourn in the last four years has stolen 41, 61, 52 and 61 bases in that order.  He has a career 271 batting average.  He isn’t going to hit homeruns or drive in runs but that isn’t his game.  I would especially take him if I am looking for speed and he would be a good backup player to have.

Don’t take too much of a look at the Braves bullpen other then their closer Craig Kimbrel.  He had good overall numbers but even he blew eight saves and contributed to the collapse.  I wouldn’t look to hard at their bullpen.

Do love what Brian McCann can bring to your team as a catcher.  He is a 286 career hitter and also has some power.  He will give you 20-25 homeruns and drive in 80+ runs.  That is very productive especially coming from the catchers position.

Jair Jurrjens is another guy I want to mention to finish this article up.  Jurrjens was in trade rumors this off-season.  He is a good young pitcher and I would say Do take him on your team.  Last season he was 13-6 with a 2.96 ERA.  He does have a bad right knee which has slowed him down, at the end of the last two seasons.  That would be my only real concern with him.  He is a guy that is at least worth looking at even as a reserve guy on your team.

I hope you have enjoyed this article and all the Dos and Don’ts that our team has done for you.  We have worked very hard to get all 30 teams to you before the fantasy drafts start in the next couple of weeks.  If you have any thoughts and anyone I may have missed please don’t hesitate to let me know.  You can comment under the article here on the website.  If you are a Twitter person like myself, you can reach me there @gmarchesej.

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Open Mic II: Judgement Day

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Open Mic II: Judgement Day

Posted on 25 February 2012 by Bryan Grosnick

About a week ago, our colleague Dennis posted the results of the first few rounds of a fantasy draft he was a part of. I really like this idea, and think that there’s a lot to learn from this process. So, instead of my usual Saturday Roster Report post, I’ve decided to post my own recent fantasy draft.

Miguel Cabrera

I look to our readers and other writers for their comments, their raves, and their criticisms of all the teams that participated. And as Dennis requested in his original post, it would be great if everyone could be cordial in their comments, regardless of how they feel about draft strategy.

The draft was a regular snake draft run over at Mock Draft Central – and it was standard for them. Imagine a traditional 5×5 league (AVG, HR, R, RBI, SB, W, ERA, WHIP, K, SV) with 23 roster spots and no bench. 5 OFs, MI, CI, UTIL and the usual suspects otherwise. Here’s how the draft went for the first five rounds:

ROUND ONE

  • Team1  - Matt Kemp (OF)
  • Team2  - Albert Pujols (1B)
  • Team3  - Ryan Braun (OF)
  • Team4  - Jose Bautista (3B, OF)
  • Team5  - Miguel Cabrera (1B)
  • Team6  - Joey Votto (1B)
  • Team7  - Troy Tulowitzki (SS)
  • Team8  - Justin Verlander (SP)
  • Team9  - Adrian Gonzalez (1B)
  • Team10 – Jacoby Ellsbury (OF)
  • Team11 – Robinson Cano (2B)
  • Team12 – Roy Halladay (SP)

ROUND TWO

  • Team12 – Clayton Kershaw (SP)
  • Team11 – Justin Upton (OF)
  • Team10 – Dustin Pedroia (2B)
  • Team9  - Evan Longoria (3B)
  • Team8  - Carlos Gonzalez (OF)
  • Team7  - Prince Fielder (1B)
  • Team6  - Jose Reyes (SS)
  • Team5  - Hanley Ramirez (SS)
  • Team4  - Curtis Granderson (OF)
  • Team3  - Felix Hernandez (SP)
  • Team2  - Cliff Lee (SP)
  • Team1  - Tim Lincecum (SP)

ROUND THREE

  • Team1  - Andrew McCutchen (OF)
  • Team2  - Mike Stanton (OF)
  • Team3  - Josh Hamilton (OF)
  • Team4  - Ian Kinsler (2B)
  • Team5  - Adrian Beltre (3B)
  • Team6  - Mark Teixeira (1B)
  • Team7  - David Wright (3B)
  • Team8  - Cole Hamels (SP)
  • Team9  - Jay Bruce (OF)
  • Team10 – Dan Uggla (2B)
  • Team11 – Carlos Santana (C, 1B)
  • Team12 – Ryan Zimmerman (3B)

ROUND FOUR

  • Team12 – Hunter Pence (OF)
  • Team11 – Aramis Ramirez (3B)
  • Team10 – Brett Lawrie (3B)
  • Team9  - C.C. Sabathia (SP)
  • Team8  - Jered Weaver (SP)
  • Team7  - Dan Haren (SP)
  • Team6  - Nelson Cruz (OF)
  • Team5  - Zack Greinke (SP)
  • Team4  - Mike Napoli (C, 1B)
  • Team3  - Carl Crawford (OF)
  • Team2  - Starlin Castro (SS)
  • Team1  - David Price (SP)

ROUND FIVE

  • Team1  - Matt Holliday (OF)
  • Team2  - Eric Hosmer (1B)
  • Team3  - Elvis Andrus (SS)
  • Team4  - Desmond Jennings (OF)
  • Team5  - Yovani Gallardo (SP)
  • Team6  - Jon Lester (SP)
  • Team7  - Stephen Strasburg (SP)
  • Team8  - Paul Konerko (1B)
  • Team9  - Brian McCann (C)
  • Team10 – Alex Gordon (OF)
  • Team11 – Asdrubal Cabrera (SS)
  • Team12 – Matt Cain (SP)

So yeah, with that in mind…I’m Team5. And here’s my entire team:

  • C  - Buster Posey (R6 P8)
  • 1B – Miguel Cabrera (R1 P5)
  • 2B – Ben Zobrist (R8 P8)
  • SS – Hanley Ramirez (R2 P8)
  • 3B – Adrian Beltre (R3 P5)
  • OF – Adam Jones (R7 P5)
  • OF – Peter Bourjos (R11 P5)
  • OF – Yoenis Cespedes (R15 P5)
  • OF – Lucas Duda (R18 P8)
  • OF – Brennan Boesch (R19 P5)
  • MI – Emilio Bonifacio (R16 P8)
  • CI – Lance Berkman (R9 P5)
  • UT – Jesus Montero (R14 P8)
  • SP – Zack Greinke (R4 P8)
  • SP – Yovani Gallardo (R5 P5)
  • SP – Chris Carpenter (R12 P8)
  • SP – Scott Baker (R17 P5)
  • RP – Joel Hanrahan (R10 P8)
  • RP – Sergio Santos (R13 P5)
  • RP – Aroldis Chapman (R20 P8)
  • RP – Frank Francisco (R21 P5)
  • RP – Jonny Venters (R22 P8)

So that’s my draft, and my team. What do you guys think?

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DOs And DONTs: Seattle Mariners

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DOs And DONTs: Seattle Mariners

Posted on 23 February 2012 by Daniel Aubain

Winning at fantasy baseball doesn’t requiring owning the best players on only the best teams in the league. Knowing where to look for the players who will bring in the numbers needed to compete for a championship is what makes a winner. Teams like the Seattle Mariners have several high-caliber fantasy baseball assets on their 40-man roster and are the type of team in flux where you could see other lesser-known players getting chances to play due to the fact winning real games on the field may not come easy in The Emerald City in 2012.

Below are a list of the fantasy baseball DOs and DON’Ts you need to be aware of when targeting Seattle Mariners players this drafting season:

  • DO expect to hear SP Felix Hernandez‘s name in the Cy Young Award debate again this season despite another season where big numbers in the Wins column could be hard to come by. King Felix finished fourth in the AL in Strikeouts with 222 in 2011 and should remain near the top with the elites of the game for years to come.
  • DON’T pass on OF Ichiro Suzuki this baseball season. He’s already slotted into the number three spot in the Mariners’ lineup and could see an increase in his Home Runs and RBI totals but a reduction in Stolen Bases. He’s in the final year of his contract and could be playing for one last multi-year deal.
  • DO target 2B Dustin Ackley as your primary second baseman if you miss out on the elites (Robinson Cano, Dustin Pedroia, Ian Kinsler) and second tier guys (Dan Uggla, Chase Utley, Brandon Phillips). Ackley should easily provide double-digit homers and stolen bases while not killing your batting average (.270s) and chipping in decent Runs and RBI numbers hitting out of the two hole.
  • DON’T forget about CL Brandon League as a late-round closer option. He filled in very nicely last season (37 Saves, 2.79 ERA, 1.08 WHIP) and has very little competition in this bullpen to lose the job.
  • DO expect the Mariners to utilize three players at the catcher position this season. Jesus Montero, Miguel Olivo (RH) and John Jaso (LH) will each see significant time behind the plate if they are all still on this team come Opening Day. Montero expects to get the bulk of his starts at DH but I just can’t imagine an organization investing this heavily in developing a DH-only player.
  • DON’T go sniffing around this team’s other starting pitchers for draft bargains unless you expect big things from rookie Hector Noesi. Brought over with Montero from the New York Yankees for Michael Pineda, expect the Mariners to run him out there as their number five guy to see how he performs. Dynasty leaguers may want to draft and stash him away if your league uses a minor league system. He should be avoided in all other league types until he proves to be the real deal.
  • DO target OF Mike Carp as a fourth or fifth outfield option in deeper leagues for his .270/70/20/80/5 potential.
  • DON’T know what to expect out of 3B Chone Figgins in 2012? Join the club. He’s moving into the leadoff spot, being handed the starting third base job going into Spring Training and could continue being the fantasy bust he’s been since signing with Seattle. Or, will he return to a player who can hit .280 and steal 40+ bases in a thin third base field. I’ll be taking a chance on him if he is still sitting out there at the end of each of my drafts.
  • DO keep an eye on 3B Kyle Seager this Spring. Figgins HAS TO be on a short leash and Seager will be the benefactor if/when Figgins falters. The term “sleeper” is so overused these days but toss this name around in front of your league mates and watch for the blank stares. Sleeper!
  • DON’T go crazy drafting 1B Justin Smoak. He may hit you 20 home runs but at the price of a .230 batting average. You can do better elsewhere.

The Mariners are another one of those teams who have a few “can’t miss” players on their rosters followed by a ton of question marks. The good thing is this is the kind of team who’ll be quick to pull the trigger to find out what type of talent some of their younger players have and could uncover a few hidden gems come summertime.

Our Full Spectrum Baseball writers are working hard to finish up all 30 team “DOs and DON’Ts” articles and we’re about halfway done. Be sure to check out the entire series of articles while waiting for us to finish the rest over the next two weeks. Also use the comments section below to let me know if I over/under-valued a player on this team.

If you use Twitter, please follow me at @DJAubain to talk everything and anything baseball. You can also follow @FullSpectrumBB for article links as well as “liking” us on our Facebook page.

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