Building a Farm: Top Prospects

On Wednesday, we took a look at the top farm systems in baseball. Today, we’ll take a look at how the top prospects stack up against each other. We’re essentially looking at the same principles that we were looking at in the farm systems. How do the prospects rank after the lists are averaged together? Where are the true gaps/tiers in prospects? And how good is the prospect class overall? Let’s take a look.

Averaged Prospect Lists

Name BA BP Law FG Sic BB MLB Average RANK
Jurickson Profar 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1.0 1
Dylan Bundy 2 4 3 3 3 2 2 2.7 2
Oscar Taveras 3 2 2 2 2 8 3 3.1 3
Wil Myers 4 7 4 4 7 3 4 4.7 4
Gerrit Cole 7 3 8 6 5 5 9 6.1 5
Jose Fernandez 5 6 16 8 8 11 7 8.7 6
Zack Wheeler 11 5 13 9 15 7 8 9.7 7
Xander Bogaerts 8 12 5 5 4 20 20 10.6 8
Taijuan Walker 18 9 9 13 19 4 5 11.0 9
Tyler Skaggs 12 17 12 7 16 17 10 13.0 10
Travis d’Arnaud 23 15 14 11 13 13 6 13.6 11
Christian Yelich 15 23 6 10 12 21 13 14.3 12
Jameson Taillon 19 11 20 14 17 10 15 15.1 13
Miguel Sano 9 21 11 17 10 28 12 15.4 14
Shelby Miller 6 16 21 25 6 14 25 16.1 15
Mike Zunino 17 33 15 12 9 6 23 16.4 16
Francisco Lindor 28 10 7 20 31 9 14 17.0 17
Byron Buxton 10 8 22 16 37 16 19 18.3 18
Javier Baez 16 20 31 22 18 25 16 21.1 19
Kevin Gausman 26 13 26 15 23 15 37 22.1 20
Trevor Bauer 14 24 25 28 11 38 17 22.4 21
Carlos Correa 13 26 24 34 24 12 30 23.3 22
Billy Hamilton 20 14 30 30 14 55 11 24.9 23
Archie Bradley 25 31 29 26 21 26 24 26.0 24
Anthony Rendon 30 35 17 39 33 19 28 28.7 25
Kyle Zimmer 24 41 27 18 43 22 34 29.9 26
Nick Castellanos 21 37 38 21 67 23 21 32.6 27
Addison Russell 48 22 10 43 30 31 48 33.1 28
Jonathan Singleton 27 25 32 29 57 43 27 34.3 29
Albert Almora 33 18 33 51 44 24 39 34.6 30
Aaron Sanchez 65 32 19 23 42 27 35 34.7 31
Mike Olt 22 30 71 47 29 30 22 35.9 32
Julio Teheran 44 52 28 19 41 37 31 36.0 33
Danny Hultzen 29 50 66 44 28 18 18 36.1 34
Carlos Martinez 38 43 39 35 20 47 33 36.4 35
Jorge Soler 34 36 42 50 25 32 42 37.3 36
Jackie Bradley 31 27 40 54 45 41 32 38.6 37
Gary Sanchez 57 47 18 42 46 40 36 40.9 38
Mason Williams 32 51 35 36 64 35 41 42.0 39
Chris Archer 36 29 53 27 39 65 46 42.1 40
Austin Hedges 58 19 36 31 32 59 73 44.0 41
Noah Syndergaard 54 28 97 46 22 34 29 44.3 42
Matt Barnes 40 38 79 41 59 33 38 46.9 43
Trevor Rosenthal 39 45 58 59 27 61 43 47.4 44
Alen Hanson 61 66 34 33 49 36 54 47.6 45
Taylor Guerrieri 62 48 47 40 56 45 44 48.9 46
David Dahl 53 40 37 56 69 42 58 50.7 47
Robert Stephenson 56 78 48 32 55 39 51 51.3 48
Max Fried 46 61 51 68 54 29 53 51.7 49
George Springer 37 55 43 53 72 48 57 52.1 50
Gregory Polanco 51 44 55 60 50 44 65 52.7 51
Kaleb Cowart 60 42 23 75 68 49 67 54.9 52
Oswaldo Arcia 41 60 59 66 36 50 92 57.7 53
Brian Goodwin 70 74 44 38 71 64 52 59.0 54
Bubba Starling 35 49 45 84 101 81 26 60.1 55
Nolan Arenado 52 57 101 48 53 58 62 61.6 56
Nick Franklin 79 72 69 74 40 57 47 62.6 57
Kyle Gibson 68 64 41 77 62 79 49 62.9 58
Kyle Crick 66 65 76 45 52 53 85 63.1 59
Aaron Hicks 72 46 49 65 35 78 97 63.1 60
Michael Wacha 76 56 101 24 34 80 82 64.7 61
Jedd Gyorko 71 84 70 67 38 77 50 65.3 62
Casey Kelly 45 77 60 89 51 66 69 65.3 63
Trevor Story 96 34 85 49 47 51 98 65.7 64
Alex Meyer 59 88 61 78 63 72 40 65.9 65
Allen Webster 49 69 63 55 88 93 71 69.7 66
Courtney Hawkins 55 101 74 63 76 52 68 69.9 67
Justin Nicolino 86 73 62 79 60 63 72 70.7 68
Lucas Giolito 67 70 77 70 101 46 74 72.1 69
Luis Heredia 78 53 84 62 74 56 101 72.6 70
Jake Odorizzi 92 83 68 86 80 68 45 74.6 71
Tyler Austin 77 101 52 101 58 60 75 74.9 72
Yasiel Puig 47 79 101 99 26 101 76 75.6 73
Wily Peralta 69 68 73 101 90 69 64 76.3 74
Hak-Ju Lee 90 75 78 37 101 101 56 76.9 75
Rymer Liriano 101 39 54 93 100 101 55 77.6 76
Jake Marisnick 64 71 82 90 101 73 70 78.7 77
Jesse Biddle 89 67 95 88 61 101 60 80.1 78
Yordano Ventura 85 62 101 83 93 82 59 80.7 79
Kolten Wong 84 90 96 58 85 76 79 81.1 80
Tony Cingrani 82 91 98 69 65 101 66 81.7 81
Martin Perez 81 59 93 73 101 71 94 81.7 82
Dorssys Paulino 101 96 56 76 82 67 101 82.7 83
Jonathan Schoop 101 80 50 57 101 101 101 84.4 84
Matt Davidson 88 89 75 61 101 101 77 84.6 85
Slade Heathcott 63 101 57 87 101 83 101 84.7 86
James Paxton 87 92 101 101 91 62 61 85.0 87
Andrew Heaney 43 101 101 72 101 100 81 85.6 88
Roberto Osuna 101 101 87 81 75 70 89 86.3 89
Lance McCullers 50 101 101 101 66 84 101 86.3 90
Corey Seager 101 101 46 97 70 89 101 86.4 91
Arodys Vizcaino 83 54 64 101 101 101 101 86.4 92
Delino DeShields 99 101 83 52 77 96 100 86.9 93
Zach Lee 101 87 67 91 101 85 78 87.1 94
J.R. Graham 93 63 94 80 85 101 101 88.1 95
Daniel Corcino 94 101 72 71 81 101 101 88.7 96
Leonys Martin 97 101 101 82 78 74 101 90.6 97
Didi Gregorius 80 101 101 98 101 101 63 92.1 98
Joe Ross 101 101 88 101 101 54 101 92.4 99
Hyun-Jin Ryu 42 101 101 101 101 101 101 92.6 100
Eddie Rosario 101 101 65 101 79 101 101 92.7 101
Adam Eaton 73 101 91 100 92 101 96 93.4 102
Adalberto Mondesi 101 58 101 101 101 91 101 93.4 103
Brad Miller 101 101 101 101 48 101 101 93.4 104
Jorge Alfaro 101 76 101 101 101 88 87 93.6 105
A.J. Cole 101 101 89 92 89 98 90 94.3 106
Dan Straily 101 85 101 101 96 75 101 94.3 107
Clayton Blackburn 101 95 80 101 83 101 101 94.6 108
Luis Sardinas 101 86 101 95 101 101 83 95.4 109
Chris Stratton 101 101 101 101 73 90 101 95.4 110
Carlos Sanchez 101 101 101 64 101 101 101 95.7 111
Alex Colome 101 101 81 85 101 101 101 95.9 112
Jarred Cosart 101 101 86 101 101 101 88 97.0 113
Avisail Garcia 74 101 101 101 101 101 101 97.1 114
Cody Buckel 101 101 90 101 101 101 86 97.3 115
Marcell Ozuna 75 101 101 101 101 101 101 97.3 116
Robbie Erlin 101 101 101 101 87 92 101 97.7 117
Ethan Martin 101 101 101 101 101 101 80 98.0 118
Chris Owings 101 81 101 101 101 101 101 98.1 119
Michael Choice 101 82 101 101 101 101 101 98.3 120
Bruce Rondon 95 101 101 101 99 101 91 98.4 121
Henry Owens 91 101 101 101 101 101 93 98.4 122
Michael Fulmer 101 98 101 101 86 101 101 98.4 123
Joc Pederson 101 101 101 101 101 101 84 98.6 124
Kyle Parker 101 101 101 101 84 101 101 98.6 125
Stryker Trahan 101 101 101 101 101 86 101 98.9 126
Brett Jackson 101 101 101 101 101 87 101 99.0 127
Marcus Stroman 98 101 101 101 101 94 101 99.6 128
Victor Sanchez 101 101 101 101 95 97 101 99.6 129
Adam Morgan 101 101 92 101 101 101 101 99.7 130
Tyler Thornburg 101 100 101 94 101 101 101 99.9 131
Christian Bethancourt 101 93 101 101 101 101 101 99.9 132
Tyrell Jenkins 101 94 101 101 101 101 101 100.0 133
Matt Wisler 101 101 101 101 94 101 101 100.0 134
Joey Gallo 101 101 101 101 101 95 101 100.1 135
Jose Iglesias 101 101 101 101 101 101 95 100.1 136
Chris Reed 101 101 101 96 101 101 101 100.3 137
Sean Nolin 101 97 101 101 101 101 101 100.4 138
Brandon Maurer 101 101 101 101 97 101 101 100.4 139
Dan Vogelbach 101 101 101 101 98 101 101 100.6 140
Josh Bell 101 101 101 101 101 99 101 100.7 141
Nathan Karns 101 101 99 101 101 101 101 100.7 142
Lewis Brinson 101 99 101 101 101 101 101 100.7 143
Gary Brown 101 101 101 101 101 101 99 100.7 144
Eduardo Rodriguez 101 101 100 101 101 101 101 100.9 145
Roman Quinn 100 101 101 101 101 101 101 100.9 146

It should be no surprise that Jurickson Profar heads the list as he has been number one on all the major prospect lists due to his talent, position, and readiness. Dylan Bundy, Oscar Taveras, and Wil Myers follow closely behind in the second tier, and Gerrit Cole sits in the next tier all by himself. The next tier is about 4-6 players and finishes out the players who appear in several top 10s.

The next 70 or so prospects fall in line without too many major gaps, but there are several that seem fairly interchangeable. Jameson Taillon and Miguel Sano seem to be similarly well-regarded as do Shelby Miller and Mike Zunino, who fit in behind the other two. Kevin Gausman and Trevor Bauer also fit the same mold.

There seems to be a gap between Kyle Zimmer (26) and Nick Castellanos (27), possibly marking off another tier. Another occurs with Kaleb Cowart (52) and Oswaldo Arcia (53), and then another happens between Alex Meyer (65) and Allen Webster (66). Once you get to the 80s, the prospects become more and more condensed. One of the things we sometimes forget is how interchangeable a lot of these prospects are within a given range. Players are put in an order, but the order is often not decisive.

Putting Those Against the Averaged Grades and Risks

Name Pos Team GRADE RISK AVG RANK
Jurickson Profar SS TEX 72.5 1.0 1.0 1
Dylan Bundy RHP BAL 75.0 1.5 2.7 2
Oscar Taveras OF STL 70.0 1.0 3.1 3
Wil Myers OF TB 65.0 1.0 4.7 4
Gerrit Cole RHP PIT 72.5 2.0 6.1 5
Jose Fernandez RHP MIA 70.0 2.0 8.7 6
Zack Wheeler RHP NYM 67.5 2.0 9.7 7
Xander Bogaerts SS BOS 70.0 2.5 10.6 8
Taijuan Walker RHP SEA 70.0 3.0 11.0 9
Tyler Skaggs LHP ARZ 62.5 1.0 13.0 10
Travis d’Arnaud C NYM 60.0 1.5 13.6 11
Christian Yelich OF MIA 62.5 2.0 14.3 12
Jameson Taillon RHP PIT 67.5 2.0 15.1 13
Miguel Sano 3B MIN 67.5 3.0 15.4 14
Shelby Miller RHP STL 67.5 1.5 16.1 15
Mike Zunino C SEA 57.5 1.5 16.4 16
Francisco Lindor SS CLE 67.5 3.0 17.0 17
Byron Buxton CF MIN 70.0 3.5 18.3 18
Javier Baez SS CHC 67.5 3.5 21.1 19
Kevin Gausman RHP BAL 67.5 2.0 22.1 20
Trevor Bauer RHP CLE 65.0 2.0 22.4 21
Carlos Correa SS HOU 70.0 3.0 23.3 22
Billy Hamilton CF CIN 67.5 2.0 24.9 23
Archie Bradley RHP ARZ 70.0 3.0 26.0 24
Anthony Rendon 3B WSH 65.0 3.0 28.7 25
Kyle Zimmer RHP KC 67.5 2.0 29.9 26
Nick Castellanos 3B/OF DET 62.5 2.0 32.6 27
Addison Russell SS OAK 65.0 2.5 33.1 28
Jonathan Singleton 1B HOU 67.5 2.0 34.3 29
Albert Almora OF CHC 60.0 2.0 34.6 30
Aaron Sanchez RHP TOR 65.0 3.0 34.7 31
Mike Olt 3B TEX 62.5 1.5 35.9 32
Julio Teheran RHP ATL 60.0 2.0 36.0 33
Danny Hultzen LHP SEA 60.0 2.0 36.1 34
Carlos Martinez RHP STL 67.5 2.5 36.4 35
Jorge Soler OF CHC 62.5 3.0 37.3 36
Jackie Bradley CF BOS 60.0 2.0 38.6 37
Gary Sanchez C NYY 62.5 3.0 40.9 38
Mason Williams OF NYY 62.5 2.5 42.0 39
Chris Archer RHP TB 62.5 2.0 42.1 40
Austin Hedges C SD 65.0 3.0 44.0 41
Noah Syndergaard RHP NYM 65.0 3.0 44.3 42
Matt Barnes RHP BOS 62.5 2.0 46.9 43
Trevor Rosenthal RHP STL 60.0 1.0 47.4 44
Alen Hanson SS PIT 60.0 3.0 47.6 45
Taylor Guerrieri RHP TB 62.5 3.0 48.9 46
David Dahl OF COL 65.0 3.0 50.7 47
Robert Stephenson RHP CIN 62.5 3.0 51.3 48
Max Fried LHP SD 62.5 3.0 51.7 49
George Springer CF HOU 62.5 3.0 52.1 50
Gregory Polanco CF PIT 60.0 3.0 52.7 51
Kaleb Cowart 3B LAA 62.5 3.0 54.9 52
Oswaldo Arcia OF MIN 60.0 2.0 57.7 53
Brian Goodwin CF WSH 60.0 3.0 59.0 54
Bubba Starling OF KC 70.0 4.0 60.1 55
Nolan Arenado 3B COL 52.5 2.0 61.6 56
Nick Franklin SS SEA 52.5 1.5 62.6 57
Kyle Gibson RHP MIN 57.5 2.0 62.9 58
Kyle Crick RHP SF 62.5 3.0 63.1 59
Aaron Hicks CF MIN 57.5 2.0 63.1 60
Michael Wacha RHP STL 57.5 2.0 64.7 61
Jedd Gyorko 3B SD 52.5 1.5 65.3 62
Casey Kelly RHP SD 52.5 1.5 65.3 63
Trevor Story SS COL 57.5 2.5 65.7 64
Alex Meyer RHP MIN 60.0 3.0 65.9 65
Allen Webster RHP BOS 60.0 2.0 69.7 66
Courtney Hawkins OF CHW 60.0 3.0 69.9 67
Justin Nicolino LHP MIA 57.5 2.0 70.7 68
Lucas Giolito RHP WSH 70.0 4.0 72.1 69
Luis Heredia RHP PIT 62.5 3.5 72.6 70
Jake Odorizzi RHP TB 55.0 2.0 74.6 71
Tyler Austin OF NYY 57.5 2.5 74.9 72
Yasiel Puig OF LAD 62.5 3.5 75.6 73
Wily Peralta RHP MIL 60.0 2.0 76.3 74
Hak-Ju Lee SS TB 55.0 2.0 76.9 75
Rymer Liriano OF SD 57.5 3.0 77.6 76
Jake Marisnick CF MIA 60.0 3.0 78.7 77
Jesse Biddle LHP PHI 57.5 2.5 80.1 78
Yordano Ventura RHP KC 62.5 3.0 80.7 79
Kolten Wong 2B STL 52.5 1.5 81.1 80
Tony Cingrani LHP CIN 52.5 2.0 81.7 81
Martin Perez LHP TEX 55.0 1.5 81.7 82
Dorssys Paulino SS CLE 60.0 4.0 82.7 83
Jonathan Schoop SS BAL 55.0 2.5 84.4 84
Matt Davidson 3B ARZ 52.5 2.0 84.6 85
Slade Heathcott CF NYY 60.0 3.0 84.7 86
James Paxton LHP SEA 52.5 2.0 85.0 87
Andrew Heaney LHP MIA 60.0 2.0 85.6 88
Roberto Osuna RHP TOR 57.5 3.5 86.3 89
Lance McCullers RHP HOU 67.5 3.5 86.3 90
Corey Seager SS LAD 57.5 3.0 86.4 91
Arodys Vizcaino RHP CHC 65.0 3.5 86.4 92
Delino DeShields 2B HOU 57.5 2.5 86.9 93
Zach Lee RHP LAD 55.0 2.5 87.1 94
JR Graham RHP ATL 55.0 2.0 88.1 95
Daniel Corcino RHP CIN 55.0 2.0 88.7 96
Leonys Martin OF TEX 50.0 2.0 90.6 97
Didi Gregorius SS ARZ 52.5 1.5 92.1 98
Joe Ross RHP SD 57.5 3.5 92.4 99
Hyu-Jin Ryu LHP LAD 52.5 1.0 92.6 100
Eddie Rosario 2B/CF MIN 52.5 2.5 92.7 101
Adam Eaton CF ARZ 52.5 1.0 93.4 102
Adalberto Mondesi SS KC 62.5 4.0 93.4 103
Brad Miller SS SEA 50.0 2.0 93.4 104
Jorge Alfaro C TEX 65.0 4.0 93.6 105
AJ Cole RHP WSH 57.5 3.0 94.3 106
Dan Straily RHP OAK 50.0 1.5 94.3 107
Clayton Blackburn RHP SF 52.5 2.5 94.6 108
Luis Sardinas SS TEX 60.0 3.5 95.4 109
Chris Stratton RHP SF 55.0 2.5 95.4 110
Carlos Sanchez SS CHW 50.0 2.0 95.7 111
Alex Colome RHP TB 55.0 2.0 95.9 112
Jarred Cosart RHP HOU 57.5 2.5 97.0 113
Avisail Garcia OF DET 57.5 3.0 97.1 114
Cody Buckel RHP TEX 50.0 2.0 97.3 115
Marcell Ozuna OF MIA 55.0 3.0 97.3 116
Robbie Erlin LHP SD 50.0 2.0 97.7 117
Ethan Martin RHP PHI 57.5 2.5 98.0 118
Chris Owings SS ARZ 52.5 3.0 98.1 119
Michael Choice OF OAK 57.5 3.0 98.3 120
Bruce Rondon RHP DET 55.0 2.0 98.4 121
Henry Owens LHP BOS 57.5 3.0 98.4 122
Michael Fulmer RHP NYM 55.0 3.0 98.4 123
Joc Pederson OF LAD 52.5 2.5 98.6 124
Kyle Parker OF COL 50.0 2.5 98.6 125
Stryker Trahan C ARZ 55.0 3.0 98.9 126
Brett Jackson OF CHC 52.5 2.5 99.0 127
Marcus Stroman RHP TOR 57.5 2.5 99.6 128
Victor Sanchez RHP SEA 57.5 3.5 99.6 129
Adam Morgan RHP PHI 57.5 2.5 99.7 130
Tyler Thornburg RHP MIL 52.5 1.5 99.9 131
Christian Bethancourt C ATL 57.5 3.5 99.9 132
Tyrell Jenkins RHP STL 57.5 3.5 100.0 133
Matt Wisler RHP SD 52.5 2.5 100.0 134
Joey Gallo 3B TEX 62.5 4.0 100.1 135
Jose Iglesias SS BOS 47.5 2.0 100.1 136
Chris Reed LHP LAD 55.0 3.0 100.3 137
Sean Nolin LHP TOR 52.5 2.0 100.4 138
Brandon Maurer RHP SEA 52.5 2.5 100.4 139
Dan Vogelbach 1B CHC 55.0 3.0 100.6 140
Josh Bell OF PIT 60.0 3.5 100.7 141
Nathan Karns RHP WSH 52.5 2.5 100.7 142
Lewis Brinson OF TEX 62.5 4.0 100.7 143
Gary Brown OF SF 55.0 2.5 100.7 144
Eduardo Rodriguez RHP BAL 50.0 3.0 100.9 145
Roman Quinn SS PHI 60.0 3.5 100.9 146

I thought it would be interesting to put these prospects up against each other to see the interplay between their talent and the risk of reaching that talent. The very top talent have high ceilings and low risks, which is what we would expect. Profar and Bundy act as an example of the interplay as Profar seems to have a slightly lower ceiling, but he has a slightly lower risk as well, putting him over the top.

Taking a look further down the list, Mike Zunino is the first one that jumped out to me because of his 57.5 grade as opposed to the 60+ grades around him, but his much lower risk against those that follow help it make sense. We get all the way down to the late 50s before we start seeing 50 grades start popping up, but the risks of those prospects are, again, lower than that of the prospects around them. A couple 70 grade prospects in Bubba Starling and Lucas Giolito are in this range, but their risks due to inexperience, rawness, and injury push them down the list.

A break seems to happen in that 50 ranking range as the late 50s are where the 50 grades start showing up with more regularity. A few straight 50 grades are Carlos Sanchez (111), Cody Buckel (115), Robbie Erlin (117), and Kyle Parker (125), and their grades are, as expected, relatively lower than their peers. The only sub-50 grade that shows up is Jose Iglesias (136).

Let’s also take a look at the top prospects as a whole.

Measure GRADE RISK Low Med High Ext
Average 59.538 2.5 58.875 57.955 61.085 64.643
Correlation to RANK -0.727 0.288

This is more of an exercise in curiosity. It’s easy to comprehend farm systems being of lower quality than others, but I wanted to know if there was difference year-to-year in the quality of top prospects. The numbers above don’t answer that question, but it’s something I’ll keep an eye on in the future. As for the correlations, they come out about as we would expect – mostly based off the player’s ceiling.

Again, I don’t claim to have all the answers here. When I started this project, I was curious about how a prospect’s ceiling/grade and risk worked in relation to each other. How did it affect their status? How did grade and risk affect the status of a farm system? There are no real answers. It’s just cool to see it all laid out, and I hope you’ve enjoyed the series.



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Scott
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Scott
3 years 1 month ago

I really like the second list w/ the grades/risk/rank. This is really good work. Thanks.

cnote66
Member
cnote66
3 years 1 month ago

agreed, very cool!

Daniel
Guest
Daniel
3 years 1 month ago

interesting thing I noticed-
5 of the 7 players with grades of 60+ below 100 were Rangers

Jim Lahey
Guest
Jim Lahey
3 years 1 month ago

Lance McCullers is an interesting one. Grade of 67.5 but avg of 86.3 and Rank of 90. How does he get to 67.5? Hes the only one with that grade ranked lower than 35th.

Shane
Guest
Shane
3 years 1 month ago

Does anybody have any answers to me as to how Baseball America evaluates prospects differently than others? Specifically, Aaron Sanchez has an aggregate ranking of the other 6 scouting resources used of 29, while Baseball America has him at 65.It just seemed to be quite an outlier, and considering KLaw and others have had considerable praise for Sanchez, I’m curious if anyone has an answer to my question as to why BA ranked Sanchez behind the likes of Slade Heathcott, Lance McCullers, and Kaleb Cowart.

Thanks for listening.

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