Tag Archive | "Fantasy Baseball League"

I’m in dead last place – Help me Wilin Rosario….

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I’m in dead last place – Help me Wilin Rosario….

Posted on 06 May 2013 by Trish Vignola

… you’re my only hope.

Colorado Rockies' Wilin Rosario (20) celebrates with teammates after hitting a two run homer against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the inning of a baseball game Friday, June 1, 2012 in Denver, Colo.. The Rockies won 13-3. (AP Photo/Barry Gutierrez)

I’m buried so far in the cellar of my fantasy baseball league there is no hope for resurrecting any semblance of a normal season.

Call me the Houston Astros of the fantasy world.

I do though refuse to back up the truck. I have a few diamonds in the rough that I’m sure members of my league would be dying to get their hands on. One of which is Wilin Rosario.

Using CBSSports.com as a metric, Rosario has averaged me about 16 points a week. In 80 at bats, he’s given me 7 home runs, has a .350 batting average and 19 RBIs. In comparison, Josh Hamilton has given me 2 home runs, has a .202 batting average and 9 RBIs in 104 at bats. Matt Wieters, who I was totally expecting to be my “starting catcher”, has give me 4 home runs, has a .214 batting average and 13 RBIs.

Rosario has shown some speed, for a catcher. On the 10th, he went 1 for 3 with a walk and a run scored. He also stole his first two bases against the Giants. “I can run a little bit, and I take advantage,” Rosario told MLB.com. “Sometimes they get a little comfortable on the mound, and I get the advantage.” Rosario stole just four bases in 117 games last season. CBSSports.com reports that Rosario sees himself surpassing that number this year. “I don’t know, because the year, it’s just starting right now,” Rosario said. “Maybe 10. Maybe nine.” He might be joking; nonetheless, it cannot be denied that Rosario has gotten a pretty good start to the season this year.

His defense has improved as well. It was on display against the Padres on the 14th. He hit his 4th home run of the season that saturday, culminating in a 4-for-5 day. He drove in three runs and scored one himself. He threw out the only base runner trying to steal against him in a 9-5 win. The day before, Rosario threw out two runners. By the 14th, Rosario caught five of the first seven base runners attempting to steal a base against him this season. “That’s one of the best experiences I can have,” Rosario told MLB.com prior to that game. “I want to be a winner. Not every time are you going to hit. The only thing you can control is your glove — catching everything, blocking balls, stopping runners.”

A draw back to Rosario’s offense is his horrific strikeout ratio. On the 18th, Rosario went 1 for 5 in his team’s 11-3 win over the Mets. He drove in two runs and scored one. He also struck out twice, giving him 15 strikeouts in 46 at-bats at that point. Wilin Rosario leads all NL catchers in strikeouts. If Rosario can keep his strikeouts to a minimum and if his defense can keep him in the starting lineup, he will be a diamond in a rough for your fantasy league. If he tires out early, I’m just going to go bury my laptop in the backyard.

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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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Field Of Streams: Fantasy Baseball Pitching Options

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Field Of Streams: Fantasy Baseball Pitching Options

Posted on 23 September 2012 by Will Emerson

Welcome to the season finale of Field of Streams! One final  in depth look at some viable, and some not so viable, fantasy streaming options for the upcoming fantasy week. The major league, and thus fantasy, baseball season is winding down so there will be no need to stream pitchers, unless you are in some fantasy baseball league for the major league playoffs, after this week. I know, I’m sad as well folks, but I promised myself I wouldn’t cry. And this is by no means good-bye! Oh no, I will continue to give you something to read on Sundays, so you’ll still have that! Now, as I get into this week’s pitching options, I just want to say this this was one of the most difficult weeks for this. Not a lot of great options jumped out at me and if you are streaming this week, you are most likely in your fantasy championships, so good streaming is important now, more than ever. That’s quite a bit of pressure! Nevertheless, I will press on and without further ado, on with the show! Here comes your look at your fantasy streaming options, owned in less than 50% in ESPN and Yahoo! leagues, for the week of 9/24-9/30 (all stats and information are prior to Saturday’s games):

Jake Odorizzi (KC)- One of the many talents in the Royals system, Odorizzi is getting his call up and will make his first start Sunday. So as a streaming option next weekend he is a bit of a wild card. One, because I have no major league appearance to evaluate and two, because you never know exactly who the Tribe will have in their lineup as the season winds down and neither team has much to play for ‘cept maybe their pride. Odorizzi has torn up the minors, most recently at triple-A where he had a 2.93 ERA and 1.32 WHIP. Now while I would like to have a look at his first start before getting into what to expect from him against Cleveland, I do like him as a wild card starter. His K/9 went down about four when he made the jump from double to triple -A and his triple-A FIP is over four, so there will be a struggle or two in the majors. However I like him alright enough starting against Cleveland. I feel like he may benefit from not a lot of Indians batters having faced him. Now I cannot give him full fledged stream endorsement, based on the no stats at the major league level, but watch his Sunday start closely and see what you think. He could be the wild card that helps you close the door on that fantasy title. (.2% owned in ESPN and 1% in Yahoo!)

Alex Cobb (TB)- Okay, so Cobber has been up and  down lately, lasting only 4.2 innings against the Os, but then baffling the Red Sox batters over six innings in his next start. To be fair though, his xFIP in that Os start was below two and he did only allow two earned runs in each  of those starts. The fact that he is keeping the ball on the ground, with a rate above 60% in both starts, is good and bad. Good, because those worm burners do not often end up as home runs, but bad because it does put more pressure on your defense and seeing eye singles can hurt him at any time. But he has a good defense behind him, so generally he is in good shape and I am sticking with him this week against the White Sox. (14% owned in ESPN and 22% in Yahoo!)

Lucas Harrell and Bud Norris (HOU)- If you’ve had a heaping helping of Field of Streams in your diet, it should be not be new knowledge that both Budrick and Lucas  have been studs at home this season. Well, if it is new info, then, hey, welcome to the party! These two fellas have been greatastic at home. Yes, they have been so good at home, that I went ahead and created an adjective to describe this goodness. Well both pitchers start the week with a home start, so go ahead and pounce if they are available in your league. Now Norris is only scheduled for the one start, but young Lucas has a second start on the docket, on the road, at Milwaukee (which means land of the good). But what many have not noticed is Harrell is actually pitching fairly decently outside of the Juice Box as well. In his last three road starts he has thrown 18. 2 innings and allowed seven earned runs. Not too shabby, right? And two of those starts were at St.Louis and Cincy. Two good hitting teams. While I would say the second start against the Brew Crew is still not a huge lock, it will be the end of your week and season and with his 19 strikeouts over those 18.2 road innings, he may me nice stream option to finish off your season. (Norris is 24.4% owned in ESPN and 30% in Yahoo! Harrell is 2.8% in ESPN and 11% in Yahoo!)

Marco Estrada (MIL)- The ownership numbers for Ponch are rising, so I am not riding this bandwagon alone, but he is still widely available in ESPN and Yahoo! He did not end up with a two start week last week as expected, so he looks to have two starts on the docket this week. The first start on the road against the Nationals could be bit tougher than other starts, but it could all depend on when the Nats will start resting folks for their playoff run too. I still recommend him and his lovely K/9 over nine in this matchup and for his second start? Well that will be at home against the Disastros, who admittedly are winning at a very high pace (for them anyways) in September, but still…a good matchup for Ponch. (25.6% owned in ESPN and 30% in Yahoo!)

Ross Detwiler (WSH)- Detwiler continues to be more than solid for the Nationals down the stretch. In his last outing against the Dodgers, he tossed six innings and allowed only one measly run. He also struck out five, which is not spectacular, but for Ross Detwiler, he of the 5.68 K/9, this is a good number. In fact he has a rate of 7.5 K/9 over his last two starts, so that is promising, especially if you combine that with his ground ball rate over 50! Now I’m not saying he’s working his way towards a future strikeout crown or anything, but this definitely makes him more appealing as a fantasy option. He faces Tyler Cloyd and the Phils this week, which is not a great matchup, but Mr. Detwiler has been pitching well enough that I would not expect him to get knocked around too much and hurt your pitching numbers by any means. (37.1% owned in ESPN and 39% in Yahoo!)

So there you have it, another season of Field Of Streams in the books! So what did we learn this season, children? 1) Lucas Harrell and Bud Norris have been must starts at home  B) Ks/9 are  the bomb diggity 4) “Ponch” Estrada is more solid than you know and plenty of spots on his bandwagon are still available and F) Alex Cobb and his sexy ground ball rate can be a good get for your fantasy squads. Good day and godspeed!

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Murphy’s Law Part II:  Has the Entire Mets Team Thrown in the Towel?

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Murphy’s Law Part II: Has the Entire Mets Team Thrown in the Towel?

Posted on 30 July 2012 by Trish Vignola

The Mets, desperate for a win, prayed last night to slink out of their home stand with something to show for it. They were risking going 0-6, the first time they had done that home since 2002. They had their work cut out for them Wednesday afternoon with the Washington Nationals’ 6-foot-5 pitching prodigy, Stephen Strasburg, on the mound.

Murphy’s Law was in effect.

From the first batter he faced, Strasburg was commanding. He struck out 11 in seven innings in an ultimate 5-2 Nationals’ victory over a suddenly pathetic New York Mets at Citi Field. Washington swept the Mets, handing them that ugly 0-6 record. The Mets have lost 12 of their last 13 games over all.

Suddenly, “Ya Gotta Believe” became “Ya Gotta Call for Life Support.”

Before the game, Manager Terry Collins was asked how his team should approach Strasburg. “If he’s on…” Collins began. He paused, then he added: “He’s really tough. He’s real, real tough.”

Fred Wilpon’s hopelessness has officially begun to creep into the dugout.

The Mets realized Strasburg was on three pitches into the game. He struck out the Mets’ leadoff batter, Ruben Tejada, before everyone in the stadium had finished filling his name out on his or her scorecards. He threw nine pitches in the first inning, eight for strikes. The Mets loaded their lineup with left-handed bats to try to neutralize the right-handed Strasburg. He currently holds righties to a .181 average this season. In truth, it didn’t matter.

On the upside (if there is one), if you happen to have Strasburg in your Fantasy Baseball League, he was in complete control. He picked at the strike zone, throwing only 20 balls through the first five innings. He finished with 11 strikeouts and no walks. After allowing a solo home run to Ike Davis in the second, Strasburg retired 10 of the next 11 batters, five by strikeout. In two starts against the Mets this season, Strasburg is 2-0 with a 0.69 earned run average and 20 strikeouts in 13 innings.

Weren’t they supposed to be shutting this guy down?

Another upside was Jeremy Hefner (1-4). He made his fourth start of the season — his first since June 6. Pitching well, he allowed six hits and three runs (two earned) in six innings with two walks and seven strikeouts. After surrendering back-to-back solo homers to Michael Morse and Danny Espinosa in the second, Hefner did not let the game unravel.

That’s what you have a bullpen for.

The Nationals put runners on the corners with one out in the fourth. Sandy Leon grounded to first base but, when the Davis fired home, the ball popped out of catcher Josh Thole’s glove, allowing the run to score. Hefner, however, retired the next seven batters in a row. In the seventh, Adam LaRoche creamed a two-run homer to deep right field off reliever Tim Byrdak, extending Washington’s lead to four.

In the eighth, the Nationals’ bullpen walked the bases loaded with nobody out and the top of the Mets’ order up. Tejada lined out to center field, Jordany Valdespin drove in a run with a groundout and David Wright grounded out to end the threat.

The Mets were sent packing to face the west. This season is not going to get any easier from this point on. My fear though is, it’s just going to get worse.

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Playing the Name Game

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Playing the Name Game

Posted on 17 July 2012 by Daniel Aubain

We’ve all seen the fantasy baseball articles where the writer will compare one nameless player’s statistics to another nameless player’s statistics and then hit you with a ton of reasons why you should be looking past simple name recognition if you want to be winning your fantasy baseball league. And do you know why you see articles of this type all over the fantasy baseball blogosphere? Because they’re very helpful when evaluating your roster and the “who’s who” out there on waivers.

I’ll run through a few of my own comparisons (using standard 5×5 categories) for your fantasy baseball viewing pleasure and hopefully give you something to mull over as you assess your roster(s).

Player A: .275 BA (84/305), 48 R, 14 HR, 44 RBI, 12 SB
Player B: .292 BA (85/291), 42 R, 15 HR, 60 RBI, 1 SB
Player C: .249 BA (77/309), 48 R, 18 HR, 57 RBI, 5 SB
Player D: .279 BA (96/344), 59 R, 5 HR, 33 RBI, 15 SB

A quick glance at these statistics shows distinct advantages for one player over the others depending on which category you choose to compare but, overall, Yahoo! ranks these four players as having “similar” value; all four being separated by only 12 places in their rankings. To be fair, all four of these players qualify at the same fantasy baseball position for 2012: outfield.

Which of these four players would you guess is the most widely owned? Well chicks and fantasy baseball owners truly love the longball because Player C comes in at 97% owned yet has the lowest batting average of the group at .249. Player D is the least owned at 72% but leads this group in hits, runs and stolen bases. Player A seems to be the most balanced player in this group and, deservingly so, is also the highest ranked at #58 overall with a 93% ownership rate. Player B leads this group in batting average and RBI and eeks in at third place in ownership numbers at 73%.

Any idea of who all four of these players are yet? Drum roll, please. Player A is 58th-ranked Jason Heyward of the Atlanta Braves. Player B is 66th-ranked Jason Kubel of the Arizona Diamondbacks. Player C is 67th-ranked Jay Bruce of the Cincinnati Reds. And Player D is 70th-ranked Alejandro De Aza of the Chicago White Sox.

My fantasy perspective: With ownership numbers of over 70% for each of these four players, they probably aren’t readily available on waivers in any league worth a damn at participating in here at the midway point. So let’s focus on what name recognition could do for you on the trade market. You’d probably think I was smoking something whacky if I offered you my Kubel for your Heyward in a deal. But think of the reverse for a moment. What if you owned Heyward or Bruce. You could possibly pry a Kubel or De Aza plus a second player from an owner who weighs a deal on name recognition rather than what truly counts in fantasy baseball…statistics! Obviously if your league is a keeper or dynasty format you may value certain players differently for their long-term value but the average fantasy baseball player ins’t in a league of these types. You may only have a few weeks left to make a trade in your league so start doing your homework. Now may be the time to trade away some of your “big name” players for multiple pieces to help you in your drive for a fantasy baseball championship.

***

Player A: .246 BA (82/334), 46 R, 12 HR, 44 RBI, 12 SB
Player B: .269 BA (88/327), 41 R, 10 HR, 45 RBI, 10 SB

For comparison purposes again, I picked two players who qualify at the same fantasy baseball postion for 2012: third base. Player A also qualifies at shortstop. A quick look at the statistics of these two players shows each are within a close enough margin to deserve comparison. Only 14 players have accomplished a 10 HR/10 SB or better line so far in 2012 and each of these players fall into that rare group at the midway point. Player A is the 110th-ranked player on Yahoo! while Player B is close behind at 115th. So can you explain to me why Player A is owned in 98% of all Yahoo! leagues and Player B is only 51% owned? I can. Name recognition and “potential”. Have you guessed the players yet? Well, Player A is Hanley Ramirez of the Miami Marlins and Player B is Chase Headley of the San Diego Padres.

My fantasy perspective: Headly is a player possibly on the move before the July 31st Trade Deadline and now might be a good time to pick him up in fantasy baseball. If he is traded away from PETCO Park to a contender with a hitter’s park, his fantasy value instantly jumps. Come to think of it, a trade to any other team in any other park increases his fantasy value. HanRam, on the other hand, is probably NOT getting traded in real life (although the Marlins would be smart to explore all offers) but could bring in a haul if someone in your league believes he’ll have a big second half (I don’t). Play up that he was a second round pick with third base and shortstop eligibility. Unfortunately he’s been pretty awful lately (last 33 gmaes: .192 BA, 1 HR, 7 RBI). If he gets hot, MOVE HIM!

***

Player A: .286 BA (98/343), 43 R, 6 HR, 46 RBI, 0 SB
Player B: .299 BA (59/197), 29 R, 13 HR, 40 RBI, 2 SB

In over 40% LESS at bats, Player B is providing comparable  offensive numbers to Player A. Unfortunately, Player A was ranked 9th overall on Yahoo! to start the season, cost you a 1st round pick to draft him and is currently ranked 162nd while Player B was ranked 494th overall, went virtually undrafted and is currently ranked 170th. Yet Player A is 98% owned while Player B is just 53% owned. Any guesses who these two players are? Player A is Adrian Gonzalez of the Boston Red Sox and Player B is Tyler Colvin of the Colorado Rockies.

My fantasy perspective: In no way am I suggesting that you should drop Gonzalez and pick up Colvin off waivers if he’s available. But what we see here is a fantasy owner handcuffed by Gonzalez and his struggles. There’s not a lot of people out there willing to trade away Gonzalez at this point because you’d probably wind up having to accept less than market value. And if that’s the case, why not simply hold on to him in hopes he heats it up in the second half while you’re trying to make a run at a title. Colvin, on the other hand, is a player who should see more real-world opportunities in Colorado and continue to provide fantasy value in the second half and should continue to see ownership numbers rise. If only the Rockies had the huevos rancheros to trade away Todd Helton and Jason Giambi. IF ONLY…

Winning at fantasy baseball is determined by which team accumulates the most statistics to earn the most points in categories that matter not by collecting your favorite players or the players whose names you hear on Sports Center the most (PS, if you watch ESPN for baseball news you’re doing fantasy baseball wrong). If you’re able to look at the numbers it takes to get back into the race or keep your team ahead of the pack while removing the personal connection we all have to our perception of a player’s value based on name and/or past performances then there are opportunities to be had to be successful in building and maintaining a winning team.

Were you able to guess any of these players’ names while you were reading this article? If so, which ones? Leave me a comment below or connect with me on Twitter @DJAubain to continue the conversation.

NOTE: All statistics quoted are accurate through games played through July 15th unless otherwise noted.

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