Astromets Mind: March 2016

Monday, March 28, 2016

2015 GIF’s and Stats: Upper Level Right-Handed Relievers

The top-five bullpen-only righties I saw between AA and AAA last year

Note: Order does not reflect relative ranking

       1)   Akeel Morris

       2015 with St. Lucie: 24 G, 32 IP, 1.69 ERA/2.01 FIP, 11 H, 6 R, 46 K: 14 BB (38.3 K%: 11.7 BB%), .104 AVG, .170 BABIP, 80.5 LOB%, 0.28 HR/9

       2015 with Binghamton: 23 G, 29.1 IP, 2.45 ERA/2.86 FIP, 17 H, 8 R, 35 K: 15 BB (29.9 K%: 12.8 BB%), .167 AVG, .242 BABIP, 78.4 LOB%, 0.31 HR/9

Akeel is more of a known relief prospect, especially given he his one bad major league relief appearance to his name from last year. He throws a low-to-mid-90’s fastball, a slider and a changeup that all get good swing-and-miss results, but he’s always needed to improve his command. He lives around the strike zone enough to be effective in the minors, but he’ll need to command his stuff better at the major league level. After an initial transition phase when he reached AA, Akeel went back to dominating like he do, finishing the season with just 2 ER allowed over his final 18 appearances (25 IP) for a 0.72 ERA. He also had a 32.3 K%: 10.8 BB% down the stretch, and allowed a mere 11 hits. He finished the season ready for AAA, and close to ML ready, but it’s not that big of a deal if he starts the season back with the B-Mets if there's a bullpen crunch in Las Vegas.

       Astromets Mind Coverage

2014 GIFs
2015 with Binghamton
6/30 – 1 IP, H, BB, 2 K
Swinging strike
Swinging strike
Swinging strike

7/5 – 1 IP, 2 H, 2 R, BB, 2 K, 2 Balks, 1 FO
Balk #1
Balk #2

8/14 – 2 IP, H, R, BB, 2 K, 1 GO: 2 FO
Swinging strike
Swinging strike
Swinging strike
Called strike

8/25 – 2.2 IP, 3 K, 3 GO, 3 IR – 0 S

9/2 – 1 IP, 3 K
Swinging strike
Swinging strike
Swinging strike
Swinging strike

       2)   Zack Thornton

2015 GIF’s and Stats: Upper Level Left-Handed Relievers

MLB front office exec's 'Love A Lefty' too!

This trio of 27-year old lefties and Josh Edgin (29) start the season atop the Mets lefty bullpen depth

       1)   Josh Smoker, 27

       2015 with Savannah: 6 G, 6.2 IP, 8.10 ERA/1.98 FIP, 11 H, 6 R, 8 K: 2 BB, .478 BABIP, 53.9 LOB%, 0 HR

       2015 with St. Lucie: 14 G, 21.1 IP, 1.69 ERA/2.18 FIP, 12 H, 5 R (4 ER), 26 K: 6 BB (31 K%: 7.1 BB%), .154 AVG, .216 BABIP, 78.3 LOB%, 0.42 HR/9

       2015 with Binghamton: 21 G, 21 IP, 3.00 ERA/2.36 FIP, 16 H, 8 R (7 ER), 26 K: 11 BB (29.2 K%: 12.4 BB%), .205 AVG, .308 BABIP, 70.4 LOB%, 0 HR

Josh Smoker’s return to affiliated ball in 2015 went great, and he’s poised to help the Mets should they desire a lefty when injury hits. Hitting upper 90’s (topped around 97 MPH last year) with his fastball from the left side is his specialty, but Smoker also throws a nice splitter, and an occasional slider. There’s no deception in his delivery, so he doesn’t have a huge platoon advantage, but his stuff plays against both sides. He’s ready for Las Vegas, but the Mets bullpen crunch could push him back to Binghamton. That wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing though, as he just needs innings, and they may be harder to come by with the 51s early in the year. Even if it’s just a September callup, I think Smoker will finish the year in the Mets pen.

       Astromets Mind Coverage

2015 with Savannah
5/7 – 1.2 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 2 K, 3 GO: 1 FO
Swinging strike
Called strike
Swinging strike
Swinging strike

2015 with Binghamton
7/5 – 1 IP, 2 K, 1 FO

7/22 – 1 IP, K, 1 GO: 1 FO
Swinging strikeslo-mo

7/24 – 1.1 IP, H, BB, K, 2 GO, 1 IR – 0 S
Swinging strike

7/27 – 2 IP, H, R (0 ER), BB, 4 K, 2 GO
Swinging strike
Called strike

8/15 – 1.1 IP, H, 2 K, GO, 1 IR – 0 S
Swinging strike
Swinging strike
Swinging strike
Swinging strike
Swinging strike

9/2 – 1 IP, BB, GO
Called strike

       2)   Dario Alvarez, 27

       2015 with Binghamton: 32 G, 31 IP, 3.19 ERA/3.17 FIP, 21 H, 14 R (11 ER), 43 K: 16 BB (32.1 K%: 11.9 BB%), .183 AVG, .271 BABIP, 69.9 LOB%, 0.58 HR/9

       2015 with Las Vegas: 16 G, 11 IP, 2.45 ERA/2.33 FIP, 6 H, 3 R, 19 K: 5 BB (43.2 K%: 11.4 BB%), .167 AVG, .353 BABIP, 78.6 LOB%, 0 HR

Dario Alvarez emerged in the Mets system during the 2014 season, rising as high as the majors in September, but was sent back for more seasoning in AA and AAA last year. His fastball sits in the low-90’s, but his bread-and-butter is a sweeping slider that lefties find hard to hit, and even harder to resist swinging at. He’s a LOOGY with a nearly sidearm motion that aids in his deception of lefties. He’s below Smoker and a healthy Josh Edgin on the Mets lefty depth chart, but don’t sleep on Alvarez, because his LOOGY ways make him a potential replacement for Jerry Blevins or Antonio Bastardo, should bad performance or injury rear their ugly heads. When at his best, Alvarez lives at the bottom of the zone and works to set up his slider. The biggest hurdle for Alvarez is his control, as he’s never had a BB% in the single digits, and was even at 9.4% vs. LHB’s last year. If he wants a major league team to feel comfortable relying on him, Alvarez is going to have to show he can improve his walk rates.

       Astromets Mind Coverage

2014 coverage
2015 with Binghamton
5/15 – 0.2 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 2 K, HBP
Called strike
Swinging strike

5/20 – 1.2 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 3 BB, 3 K, HR
Swinging strike
Swinging strike
Swinging strike

7/21 – 1 IP, 3 K
Called strikeslo-mo
Swinging strikeslo-mo
Called strikeslo-mo

2015 with Las Vegas
8/6 – 1 IP, K, GO
Swinging strike

       3)   Chase Huchingson, 27 on 4/14

       2015 with Binghamton: 22 G, 26.2 IP, 5.06 ERA/4.06 FIP, 24 H, 16 R (15 ER), 29 K: 18 BB (23.6 K%: 14.6 BB%), .238 AVG, .324 BABIP, 67.3 LOB%, 0.34 HR/9

       2015 with Las Vegas: 29 G, 29.2 IP, 3.34 ERA/4.88 FIP, 28 H, 16 R (11 ER), 22 K: 22 BB (16.2 K%: 16.2 BB%), .248 AVG, .300 BABIP, 70.6 LOB%, 0.30 HR/9

Chase looked like a promising lefty reliever in the Mets system while posting a 1.69 ERA over 45 appearances from the Binghamton bullpen in 2013, but he hasn’t been the same pitcher since returning from a 2014 suspension for a ‘drug of abuse.’ Huchingson was basically Dario Alvarez-lite last year: similar side-arming motion, low-90’s heat, and big wipeout slider, just wilder and less effective. He has the tools to be an effective LOOGY, he just has to control the repertoire. There are a number of lefties in the system ahead of Chase, so I don’t expect him to make this team this year unless injuries get that bad.

       Astromets Mind Coverage

2014 GIFs
2015 with Las Vegas
6/21 – 1.2 IP, H, 2 K, HBP, 1 GO: 1 FO
Called strike
Called strike

7/17 – 0.2 IP, BB, K, GO
Swinging strike

2015 GIF’s and Stats: Savannah Relievers

David Roseboom, Luis Mateo, Alberto Baldonado and Jimmy Duff

Savannah’s bullpen saw a lot of turnover during the 2015 season, but these were the top-5 relievers I saw on

Note: Order does not reflect relative ranking

          1)   James Duff, RHP, 22

          2015 with Savannah: 35 G, 41.1 IP, 3.48 ERA/2.32 FIP, 40 H, 17 R (16 ER), 44 K: 8 BB (25.7 K%: 4.7 BB%), .247 AVG, .333 BABIP, 67.2 LOB%, 0.22 HR/9

          2015 with St. Lucie: 12 G, 18.2 IP, 1.93 ERA/2.95 FIP, 16 H, 4 R, 13 K: 1 BB (18.1 K%: 1.4 BB%), .232 AVG, .273 BABIP, 85.2 LOB%, 0.48 HR/9

The Mets selected Duff in the 20th round of the 2014 draft because he was a big pitcher (6’6) with good control and a nice sinker. The big guy was still available in the 20th round because he was only sitting 86-90 with his heat, but he’s had a nice start to his pro career, finishing the year as one of the best relief pitchers on the St. Lucie roster. In addition to the sinker, Duff mixes in a nice changeup and an improving slider. He was particularly effective against RHB’s last year, finishing with a 27.5 K%: 2.2 BB% and .515 OPS allowed against righties across both levels. At one point he had 11 straight scoreless appearances for Savannah, and he was used for more than one inning in 21 of 47 appearances last year. He only spent a month with St. Lucie, but he’s probably ready for a relief role in the B-Mets pen, if available. The Mets could still move him back to the rotation, although they didn’t exactly use him as a piggyback starter last year, so it doesn’t appear to be the plan.

          Astromets Mind Coverage

4/23 – 2 IP, 2 K, 4 GO
Swinging strike
Called strike

5/7 – 2 IP, 4 K, 2 GO
‘Immaculate’ 6th inning
Strike 1
Strike 2
Strike 3
Strike 4
Strike 5
Strike 6
Strike 7
Strike 8
Strike 9
Strikeout #4

5/24 – 1 IP, 4 H, 2 R, K
Swinging strike
Swinging strike

7/4 – 1 IP, K, 2 FO
Swinging strike
Swinging strike

7/5 – 1 IP, H, K, 1 GO: 1 FO
Strikeout to end the game

          2)   David Roseboom, LHP, 24 on 5/17

Sunday, March 27, 2016

2015 Splits in Review: Mickey Jannis

Image from this blog

The knuckleballer went from Indy ball to the Arizona Fall League in 2015, what does 2016 have in store for Mickey Jannis?

2015 with Long Island Ducks: 16 G (11 GS), 83.2 IP, 1.83 RA/1.18 ERA, 53 H, 17 R (11 ER), 3 HR, 67 K: 26 BB (20.6 K%: 8.0 BB%)

2015 with St. Lucie: 8 G (7 GS), 45.1 IP, 4.96 RA/2.98 ERA/3.67 FIP, 43 H, 25 R (15 ER), HR, 25 K: 18 BB (12.5 K%: 9 BB%), .250/.318/.302, .276 BABIP, .052 ISO, 61.7 LOB%, 0.20 HR/9, 93 ERA-/114 FIP-/124 xFIP-, 92 wRC+, 50.7 GB%: 29.7 FB%: 13.5 LD%: 6.1 PU%, 1.03 GO/AO

2015 with Binghamton: 3 GS, 13 IP, 5.54 RA/5.54 ERA/4.42 FIP, 10 H, 8 R, HR, 11 K: 8 BB (19 K%: 13.8 BB%), .204/.310/.286, .237 BABIP, .082 ISO, 60.2 LOB%, 0.69 HR/9, 151 ERA-/120 FIP-/105 xFIP-, 76 wRC+, 71.1 GB%: 15.8 FB%: 5.3 LD%: 7.9 PU%, 2.45 GO/AO, 217 Pitches, 16.7 P/IP, 60.4% Strikes, 9.2 SwStr%, 22.2% Whiff/Swing

2015 in the AFL: 6 GS, 29 IP, 3.41 RA/2.48 ERA/4.31 FIP, 26 H, 11 R (8 ER), 17 K: 13 BB (14.2 K%: 10.8 BB%), .231/.320/.308, .287 BABIP, .087 ISO, 75.1 LOB%, 0.31 HR/9, 58 ERA-/101 FIP-/119 xFIP-, 90 wRC+, 51.7 GB%: 20.7 FB%: 18.4 LD%: 9.2 PU%, 1.07 GO/AO, 443 Pitches, 15.28 P/IP, 6.8 SwStr%, 16.1% Whiff/Swing

Per Brooks
Fourseam: Averaged 91 MPH on 13 pitches
Twoseam: Averaged 89 MPH on 15 pitches
Knuckleball: Averaged 78 MPH on 174 pitches, 19% Whiff/Swing

When Mickey Jannis’s dream of pitching in the major leagues came to an abrupt halt after the 2011 season, he knew he’d have to reinvent himself to make it back. The Rays, who had selected him in the 44th round of the 2010 draft, cut him loose, and no one picked him up that offseason. As I went into when the signing was announced, Jannis had dabbled with the knuckleball previously, and was considering trying it as his primary pitch in Indy ball when R.A. Dickey emerged with the Mets, which sealed the deal. It took some time to transition completely, but he got help from knuckleball master Charlie Hough along the way, and his hard work paid off when he reached AA and the AFL in 2015. He had only made two appearances as high as the A+ level while pitching for the Rays as a ‘normal’ pitcher, so last year had to be pretty satisfying.

2015 Splits in Review: Scarlyn Reyes

Scarlyn Reyes, Sand Gnats, 2015
The lanky righty is getting a little older for prospect status, but a move to the bullpen should let the Mets take advantage of his promising fastball

2015 with Savannah: 16 GS, 92.2 IP, 4.56 RA/3.40 ERA/3.76 FIP/3.69 xFIP, 87 H, 47 R (35 ER), 78 K: 32 BB (19.6 K%: 8 BB%), .242 AVG, 297 BABIP, 66.4 LOB%, 0.49 HR/9, 90 ERA-/99 FIP-/97 xFIP-, 95 wRC+, 52 GB%: 21 FB%: 20.3 LD%: 6.6 PU%, 1.08 GO/AO, 8.8% HR/FB

2015 with St. Lucie: 7 GS, 35.1 IP, 4.84 RA/3.82 ERA/4.04 FIP/4.11 xFIP, 39 H, 19 R (15 ER), 24 K: 18 BB (14.6 K%: 10.9 BB%), .277/.372/.376, .325 BABIP, 70.5 LOB%, 0.25 HR/9, 119 ERA-/126 FIP-/128 xFIP-, 137 wRC+, 50.9 GB%: 21.6 FB%: 21.6 LD%: 6 PU%, 1.04 GO/AO, 4% HR/FB

            The Mets signed Scarlyn Reyes out of the Dominican Republic in February 2013 for $25,000, getting him for a bargain because he was already 22, which is old for an international free agent. Reyes was interesting because he was sitting mid-90’s with his fastball, and maxing out at 97 MPH. After spending 2013 in the DSL, the Mets brought Reyes stateside for extended spring training and time with the Cyclones in 2014, and then he split 2015 between Savannah and St. Lucie. He’s been a starter to this point, but I don’t think anyone sees him in that role long-term because his stuff just hasn’t been consistent. Below I look at some trends from his 2015 splits, and then share GIF links from his 2015 starts. I was able to catch 3 of his Savannah starts on last year before his promotion, so there are a good number of Reyes GIF’s at the bottom of this page – it’s not the best sample size, but I listened to most of his starts with St. Lucie too.

Scarlyn Reyes 2015 spray charts vs. LHB (left) and vs. RHB (right)

Saturday, March 26, 2016

2015 Splits in Review: Josh Prevost

Josh Prevost, Sand Gnats, 2015

RH SP, 24

2015 with Savannah: 12 GS, 74.1 IP, 4.60 RA/3.75 ERA/3.70 FIP/3.92 xFIP, 79 H, 38 R (31 ER), 46 K: 18 BB (14.5 K%: 5.7 BB%), .268/.321/.385, .309 BABIP, .117 ISO, 65.4 LOB%, 0.36 HR/9, 99 ERA-/97 FIP-/103 xFIP-, 105 wRC+, 52.5 GB%: 22.5 FB%: 20.5 LD%: 4.5 PU%, 1.10 GO/AO, 5.5% HR/FB

            The Mets drafted the 6’8” Josh Prevost out of Seton Hall with their 5th round pick in the 2014 draft because he was a senior sign with a projectable sinker. They sent him straight to Brooklyn, where he got acclimated to the minors in the Cyclones pen over 11 strong appearances. Prevost’s success was rewarded with a rotation spot in Savannah coming out of Spring Training, but a late May injury kept him out of the rotation for two months. The team never announced anything about the injury last year, but I finally read it was shoulder tendinitis back in December – “They were babying it, but that was probably better in the long run,” said Prevost. The timing couldn’t have been worse either, as he had allowed just 3 ER over his previous 21 IP, with 12 K: 2 BB and 21 H allowed during that 3 start span. He would come back and win all 4 of his decisions down the stretch with Savannah (in 5 starts), but the missed time was unfortunate for someone already behind the ball some due to his age. Below I look at some of the trends in Prevost’s splits from 2015 as I discuss what I saw from him, and then share GIF’s from the 3 starts I caught on

Josh Prevost's 2015 Savannah spray charts vs. LHB (left) and vs. RHB (right)

2015 Splits in Review: Corey Oswalt

Corey Oswalt

The 2012 draft pick had a good full season debut with Savannah, and could be useful down the line for the Mets

RH SP, 22

2015 with Savannah: 23 GS, 128.2 IP, 4.13 RA/3.36 ERA/3.06 FIP/3.16 xFIP, 153 H, 59 R (48 ER), 99 K: 21 BB (18.3 K%: 3.9 BB%), .295/.327/.393, .355 BABIP*, .094 ISO, 104 wRC+ª, 69.6 LOB%, 0.42 HR/9, 89 ERA-/81 FIP-/83 xFIP-, 49.6 GB%: 21.7 FB%: 22.1 LD%: 6.6 PU%, 0.99 GO/AO, 6.7% HR/FB

*.422 BABIP allowed at home, .301 BABIP allowed on the road
ª104 wRC+ with the bases empty and with runners on base

            The Mets drafted Corey Oswalt out of Madison HS in San Diego with their 7th round pick in the 2012 draft aware that he was going to be a long-term project on the mound. He had mostly been a third baseman in high school, but he surged on the mound during his senior year, and former exec Paul DePodesta saw him a few times before the draft. The Mets took a chance on him, and Oswalt quickly gave up his commitment to play for UC Santa Barbara. Oswalt didn’t have a great debut season with Kingsport after signing, and then he missed most of 2013 battling injuries, but he finally broke through with a nice year for Brooklyn in 2014, which earned him a starter’s role with Savannah in 2015. He allowed a .355 BABIP last year, and I think that masks the quality of his season. He induced groundballs at nearly a 50% rate, only walked 4% of batters faced, and maintained an average strikeout rate, so it was actually a pretty good year for the righty. Below I take a look at some of the trends from his 2015 splits and then share GIF’s from the 5 starts I caught last year.

Corey Oswalt 2015 spray charts vs. LHB (left) and vs. RHB (right)

Friday, March 25, 2016

2015 Splits Review: Jonathan Johnson

JJ's big year earned him a first-half All-Star nod in the SAL, but his age is a major obstacle at this point

Inf, LHB, 27

2015 with Savannah (including playoffs): 123 G, 513 PA, .267/.394/.374, 75 R, 110 H, 21 2B, 4 3B, 5 HR, 39 RBI, 47 K: 77 BB (9.2 K%: 15 BB%), .288 BABIP, .107 ISO, 127 wRC+, 13.7 AB/XBH, 6.6% HR/FB, 53.8 GB%: 20.7 FB%: 17.9 LD%: 7.6 PU%, 23-32 on stolen bases (72%)

            If you’re an aspiring baseball player, not getting drafted is usually the end of the road. There are always free agent contracts handed out to the top senior’s not drafted, but unless you get an offer, you’re stuck looking for a job in Indy ball or hanging up the cleats. That’s where Jonathan Johnson found himself after the 2011 draft, but he chose not to give up, and his hard work in the Frontier League finally led to a minor league contract with the Mets midway through the 2014 season. Johnson would join the Sand Gnats at the end of June 2014, and he’s been their primary second baseman since. He’s been the same hitter with Savannah that he was in Indy ball for parts of 4 seasons, and the Frontier League is comparable in talent level to the SAL, so it’s too bad he wasn’t given a chance in the minors out of college.

Jonathan Johnson's 2015 spray charts vs. LHP (left) and RHP (right)

2015 Splits Review: Vicente Lupo

The slugging outfielder had a big second half, but can he overcome the massive strikeout problems he showed in his full-season debut?

LF/1B/DH, RHB, 22

2015 with Savannah: 93 G, 335 PA, .213/.304/.381, 38 R, 61 H, 18 2B, 3 3B, 8 HR, 40 RBI, 133 K: 32 BB (39.9 K%: 9.6 BB%), .351 BABIP, .168 ISO, 95 wRC+, 9.9 AB/XBH, 15.7% HR/FB, 41.4 GB%: 32.5 FB%: 21 LD%: 5.1 PU%, 5-9 on stolen bases (56%)

            One look at Vicente Lupo, or his stats, and it quickly becomes clear why he’s interesting: power. If you are looking at his stats, it’s also easy to see why he’s not more interesting or well known: strikeouts, so many strikeouts. There were only 3 instances when Lupo went multiple games without a strikeout in 2015, and he never lasted 3 games. Lupo is a classic three-true-outcome guy, but then again he better be if he’s striking out 40% of the time. He’s a big guy, with huge forearms, and predictably not much of a runner. That said, he’s not a butcher in LF or on the base paths, he’s just limited. Check out his splits and some cage work from May I captured during my trip to Rome – apologies for the shakiness, I had never taped pro cage action before.

Vicente Lupo's 2015 Splits vs. LHP (left) and vs. RHP (right)

2015 Splits Review: J.C. Rodriguez

The switch hitter had a nice year in a utility infielder role for Savannah last year

3B/SS/2B/LF, Switch-hitter, 23

2015 with Savannah (including playoffs): 115 G, 469 G, .256/.315/.342, 50 R, 107 H, 17 2B, 5 3B, 3 HR, 47 RBI, 99 K: 35 BB (21.1 K%: 7.5 BB%), .324, .086, 89 wRC+, 16.7 AB/XBH, 4.6% HR/FB, 51.9 GB%: 20.1 FB%: 19.8 LD%: 8.3 PU%, 17-25 on stolen base attempts (68%)

The Mets signed J.C. Rodriguez out of the Neftali Cruz Academy in the Dominican Republic back in July 2010. He’s been in the organization awhile, but last year was only his 3rd season stateside, and 1st in full season ball action. This means that while J.C. isn’t old at only 23, he’ll be eligible for minor league free agency after the 2017 season, and he has a long way to climb between now and then for the Mets to add him to their 40-man roster. He didn’t have a big year at the plate for Savannah in 2015, but he played good defense at 3B and 2B, and looked fine at SS when I saw him, which keeps him interesting as a utility guy. In the field, he’s got fluid actions and enough arm for the left side of the infield, so his defensive versatility should remain an asset for him as he ages.

J.C. Rodriguez's 2015 Spray Charts vs. LHP (left) and vs. RHP (right)

Thursday, March 24, 2016

2015 Splits Review: Tomas Nido

The 2012 draft pick started showing some of the pop potential that got him drafted in his first taste of full-season ball last year

2015 with Savannah (including playoffs): 89 G, 346 PA, .253/.278/.363, 40 R, 83 H, 14 2B, 2 3B, 6 HR, 40 RBI, 88 K: 12 BB (25.4 K%: 3.5 BB%), .324 BABIP, .110 ISO, 79 wRC+, 15.1 AB/XBH, 9.7% HR/FB, 45.4 GB%: 26.1 FB%: 26.1 LD%: 2.5 PU%, 41 of 104 potential baserunners caught stealing (39%), will be 22 on April 12

The Mets selected Tomas Nido out of Orangewood Christian HS in Florida with their 8th round pick of the 2012 draft. He was considered a good catcher with some nice pop potential heading into the draft, and the profile hasn’t much as he enters his 2nd year of full season ball nearly 4 years later. Nido was Savannah’s primary catcher in 2015, but he was still a catcher, so he got less playing time than most starting prospects. He was also given a dozen starts at DH, but his 75 games behind the plate more than double his previous pro high of 31 with Brooklyn in 2014.
            Nido had a strong year behind the plate for Savannah, and he gunned down nearly 40% of 104 would-be base stealers. During Sand Gnats MiLB.TV coverage, he threw out 3 runners at 2B (links below) – one great pop time, one average, one hard to tell but looks below average – and picked a runner off at 1B in the rain. He also worked well with a pitching staff that saw a lot of turnover, but led the league with only 3.77 runs allowed per game. Below I take a look at some trends in his splits from 2015, and then share links to all GIF coverage of him I caught last year.

Tomas Nido's 2015 spray chart vs. LHP (left) and vs. RHP (right)

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

2015 Season in Review: Michael Gibbons

Image from this announcement about his signing

The undrafted college free agent from the 2014 class took a debut tour of the system in 2015, making starts from Brooklyn to Binghamton, and everywhere in between

2015 with Brooklyn: 2 GS, 1 CG, 10.2 IP, 5.91 RA/5.91 ERA/3.98 FIP, 11 H, 7 R, HR, 10 K: 3 BB (21.7 K%: 6.5 BB%)

2015 with Savannah: 6 GS, 1 CG, 34.1 IP, 4.46 RA/2.88 ERA/4.33 FIP, 43 H, 17 R (11 ER), 3 HR, 23 K: 11 BB (15.3 K%: 7.3 BB%)

2015 with St. Lucie: 3 GS, 1 CG, 4.00 RA/3.50 ERA/2.78 FIP, 17 H, 8 R (7 ER), 11 K: 3 BB (14.9 K%: 4.1 BB%)

2015 with Binghamton: 1 GS, 6.1 IP, 4 H, 3 R, HR, 3 K: BB

2015 Totals: 12 GS, 3 CG, 4.54 RA/3.63 ERA/3.92 FIP, 75 H, 35 R (28 ER), 5 HR, 47 K: 18 BB (15.9 K%: 6.1 BB%), 0.65 HR/9, 68.9 LOB%, .275 AVG, .317 BABIP

            It’s a crazy world we live in, and sometimes all it takes is being in the right place at the right time for something to happen that changes your life. For Mets prospect Michael Gibbons, the right place and time was the FCBL Pro Day on July 26th, 2014, because Mets special assistant to the GM J.P. Ricciardi happened to be in attendance that day. Gibbons would show off 95 MPH heat with his 4-seamer in front of the Mets exec, and then signed a free agent contract with the Mets just a few weeks later. He’d have to wait 10 months to make his pro debut in a spot start for St. Lucie, but it was well worth the wait, as he went 7 scoreless with 4 K’s and only 2 singles allowed. This started a crazy few months for Gibbons, who went on to start at 4 different levels, with mostly solid results. I was able to catch 3 of his starts on, and he’s a relative unknown who snuck onto the Baseball America Mets top-30, so I wanted to take a closer look at what the Mets have with Gibbons. Since he never stayed with one team for more than 6 starts, I’m not going to bother looking at his splits, but I will point out that he was better against RHB’s in 2015.

Monday, March 21, 2016

2015 Splits Review: John Mora

The little speedster had a big season in the outfield for Savannah last year, so what kind of prospect do the Mets have on their hand?

2015 with Savannah (including playoffs): 118 G, 493 PA, .278/.370/.424, 66 R, 22 2B, 12 3B, 5 HR, 61 RBI, 70 K: 59 BB (14.2 K%: 12 BB%), .319 BABIP, .146 ISO, 127 wRC+, 10.7 AB/XBH, 6.4% HR/FB, 50.1 GB%: 21.8 FB%: 19.3 LD%: 8.7 PU%, 14-25 on Stolen Bases

            The Mets signed John Mora out of the Dominican Republic as an 18-year old back in November 2011 and then sent him to the DSL. For most DR prospects, the story ends there, but after a couple of seasons hitting well in the DSL, the Mets brought Mora stateside to start the 2014 season in extended spring training and then the GCL. The Mets would promote him past Kingsport after a big first month in the GCL, and Mora went on to post a nice .292 average during his month in Brooklyn (95 wRC+), which earned him a shot with Savannah out of the gate in 2015. And he took full advantage of his shot with the Sand Gnats, tying for the team lead in wRC+ (128) and XBH (39) during the regular season, without posting a crazy BABIP (.320). He played all 3-outfield positions while with Savannah, spending half of his time in CF and the other half split evenly between LF and RF. Below I take a look at some trends from Mora’s 2015, and then share links to all GIF and YouTube coverage of Mora.

2015 Splits Review: Eudor Garcia

After a promising SAL campaign in 2015, the lefty swinging third baseman will miss the first half of 2016 due to a suspension for banned substances

2015 with Savannah (including playoffs): 108 G, 442 PA, .298/.342/.444, 59 R, 25 2B, 4 3B, 9 HR, 60 RBI, 100 K: 23 BB (22.6 K%: 5.2 BB%), .372 BABIP, .146 ISO, 122 wRC+, 10.8 AB/XBH, 11.1% HR/FB, 42.7 GB%: 27 FB%: 27 LD%: 3.3 PU%

            With their 4th round pick in the 2014 draft, the Mets selected a lefty-swinging third baseman named Eudor Garcia, who was, “billed as the top hitter in the state of Texas,” per Baseball America’s 2016 Prospect Guidebook. Garcia didn’t excel at the plate in his first taste of pro ball – he had a 98 wRC+ in the rookie APPY League – but after staying back for some extended spring training to start the 2015 season, he was a consistent force in the Savannah lineup from May 6th on. He has a small timing device in his set-up, but is otherwise very quiet at the plate, with a smooth swing, and power to all fields. Here's some video I caught of him in the cage from May. Since it has to be addressed, his suspension is a setback, but it won’t be an issue so long as he doesn’t take banned substances again. He was caught with bumetanide and furosemide in his system, which are used to clear out ones system, so we don’t know what he was actually taking, and can only hope he’s more careful with what he takes in the future.

His defense at 3B has been a question mark since he was drafted, but BA sounded optimistic about his chances of staying, “most scouts grade him as an adequate defensive third baseman with fair hands and average range but choppy motions.” He was doing a lot of pre-game drills at 3B when I saw the Sand Gnats in Rome, so it seems like something he’s working on, and sticking at 3B would be huge for his future. He doesn’t have a rocket arm, but it’s accurate and I didn’t see him bouncing many throws on His actions are a little stiff, and he didn’t always have the best footwork approaching groundballs, but he showed more than enough to stick at the position for now. Below I take a look at some trends from his 2015 with Savannah, and then share links to GIF and video coverage of Eudor.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

2015 Splits Review: Luis Guillorme

Luis "Quick Hands" Guillorme

The slick fielding shortstop won the SAL MVP award in 2015 and keeps turning heads with his defense

2015 with Savannah (included playoffs): 125 G, 535 PA, .319/.392/.354, 68 R, 16 2B, 55 RBI, 71 K: 55 BB (13.3 K%: 10.3 BB%) – 9.5% swinging strikeout rate, 13 GIDP, 17 SH, .374 BABIP, .035 ISO, 120 wRC+ (127 pwRC+), 18-26 on stolen bases, 28.6 AB/XBH, 69.7 GB%: 10.7 FB%: 18.1 LD%: 1.5 PU%

            If your new to this site or Mets prospects, I introduced Luis Guillorme a little in my Mets in the WBCQ post, but since he’s among the top-25 prospects in the system, and one I’ve seen live and on, I wanted to write a longer post. The Mets went over-slot to sign shortstop Guillorme out of Coral Springs High School in Florida during the 10th round of the 2013 draft because his defense was good enough to earn him a Omar Viszquel draft day comparison. Comparing a high school kid who was drafted in the 10th round to a potential Hall Of Famer is usually a massive exaggeration, but Guillorme has proven to be one of the top defensive shortstops in the minors, so maybe not so massive in this case. Vizquel is the best-case outcome for all defense-first, light-hitting shortstops, so it’s an unfair comp to just throw out there, but Guillorme has shown some similar traits offensively too. Vizquel posted a 147 K: 136 BB ratio (12.8 K%: 11.8 BB%) over his first 284 minor league games (3 seasons and change), and went on to post a 1,087 K: 1,028 BB ratio over nearly 3,000 career major league games, so he was well above league average at drawing walks and not striking out during his career. Guillorme’s 115 K: 89 BB ratio (11.7 K%: 9.1 BB%) in his first 3 seasons (223 games) is near that level, and he’s hit for a better average so far than Vizquel ever did in the minors, but ‘Little O’ had 55 XBH during his first 3 plus seasons (36 2B, 10 3B, 9 HR), while ‘Little Luis’ has only the 30 doubles to date. Digging a little deeper, Vizquel only had a dozen sac bunts in his first 3 minor league seasons, but he’d end up with 256 in his major league career, and was often at or near the top of the sac bunt leader board. Guillorme has 27 sac bunts to date, and the bunt was a regular part of his game in 2015, when he finished with 16 sacs and often tried to bunt his way on. Vizquel was rated faster and stole 50 bases in his first 3 minor league seasons, and then 404 in his major league career, which Guillorme won’t match. But he does have 30 stolen bases to date, and could be capable of picking his spots for some low but efficient totals in the majors.
            The Vizquel comparison above was meant to show that there is a valuable starting outcome possible from the defense-first, light-hitting shortstop model, and that Guillorme is filling in many areas of the mold Vizquel set, which may be intentional. That said, many scouts and prospect outlets don’t think he’ll hit enough to hold down a starters job at the major leagues. He has 20-power and below average home-to-first times, so his offensive game is limited, but he has good bat control, which should help him maintain a high contact rate as he moves up. Baseball America describes his plan at the plate perfectly in their 2016 Prospect Guidebook, saying that he has, “a flat-plane, inside-out swing he uses to repeatedly serve the ball to left field.” You can see what they mean in his spray charts and many of the GIF’s below, as Luis slapped single after single over the shortstops head last year. Below I look at a few trends from his 2015 to keep an eye on as he advances to the FSL this year.
As a quick side note, BA has him as a high risk, 50 future value prospect ranked #12 in the system, that BP report has him as a high risk, 30 future value prospect ranked #20 in Jeff’s list, and Fangraphs put him in the 45+ category at #9, with Farnsworth labeling him a 35/45/55 future value prospect. Borrowing a line I saw during the Mike Newman tirade, Fangraphs is saying he’ll either be a future AAAA player, a future fringe starter, or a future good starter – gee, thanks, that helps clear things up.

Luis Guillorme's 2015 spray chart vs. LHP (left) and RHP (right)

Friday, March 18, 2016

Mets Minors Transactions, March 11-17

Keeping track of recent minor transactions within the Mets system

Last week 

New York Mets

3/11 – The Mets made their first round of cuts: Rafael Montero, Dario Alvarez, Akeel Morris, Chasen Bradford, and Paul Sewald. I discussed my thoughts on these cuts in last weeks post, but it’s old news by now anyway.

3/15 – The second group of cuts was a bit bigger: Robert Gsellman, Seth Lugo, Gabriel Ynoa, Jeff Walters, Josh Smoker, Dilson Herrera, Brandon Nimmo, Duane Below, Stolmy Pimentel, Gavin Cecchini, Dominic Smith, Marc Krauss, and Travis Taijeron. This second group of cuts is a mix of guys who aren’t expected to help this year and guys who will be among the first called up. Obviously Dilson is waiting for the first opportunity to arise at 2B. Duane Below and Seth Lugo are probably the Mets top starting pitcher depth at the moment, though Gsellman or Ynoa could leapfrog them (at least Below) with strong performances. Taijeron or Krauss could be brought up as bench help if injuries get bad. Josh Smoker is a beast of a lefty who could force his way into the Mets pen with a strong AAA performance. Walters is a righty who was in the same place Smoker is now two years ago, but then TJS set him back. He didn’t have the same life on his fastball last year with Binghamton though, so we’ll see what he brings to Las Vegas this year.

3/16 – In an unexpected twist, Ruben Tejada was released so the Mets could save ~$2.5 Mil. Tejada was never really appreciated by Mets fans, but he was one of the longest tenured Mets and usually a better player than most fans gave him credit for. He didn’t really have a spot on the Mets bench, as they have other backup SS options and his bat can’t carry him on the bench. That said, it’s hard for met to believe there are 30 better shortstops in the majors right now, because Tejada is good enough defensively for SS, and provides average shortstop production at the plate. For his career, Tejada has an 86 wRC+, which is the league average wRC+ for a shortstop over the past 5 years. He’s been a 2+ fWAR/600 PA player in 4 of the past 5 seasons, he just really stunk it up in 2013. I hope Ruben can find a team where he fits in and where he’s not immediately forced to try and replace a franchise shortstop.

2015 Splits Review: Robert Gsellman

2015 with St. Lucie: 6-0, 8 GS, 51 IP, 1.76 RA/1.76 ERA/2.80 FIP/2.96 xFIP, 37 H, 10 R, 0.18 HR/9, 37 K: 11 BB (18.9 K%: 5.6 B%), 55 ERA-/87 FIP-/92 xFIP-, 82.7 LOB%, 7 2B, 3B, HR, 61 wRC+, 60.4 GB%: 24.3 FB%: 9 LD%: 6.2 PU%, 1.53 GO/AO, 2.9% HR/FB, Runners went 2-6 on stolen base attempts, with 4 pickoffs credited to Gsellman

2015 with Binghamton (including playoffs): 7-7, 17 GS, 96.2 IP, 4.56 RA/3.54 ERA/3.62 FIP/3.86 xFIP, 98 H, 49 R (38 ER), 0.37 HR/9, 54 K: 29 BB (13.1 K%: 7.1 BB%), 96 ERA-/98 FIP-/105 xFIP-, 64.5 LOB%, 12 2B, 3 3B, 4 HR, 87 wRC+, 51.4 GB%: 23.8 FB%: 16 LD%: 8.8 PU%, 1.06 GO/AO, 5.3% HR/FB, 15.3 P/IP, 6.3 SwStr%, 14.3 Whiff/Swing, Runners went 5-9 on stolen base attempts with 1 pickoff credited to Gsellman

            22-year old Robert Gsellman has been on a steady rise through the minors since the team drafted him with the 402nd overall pick in the 2011 draft (13th round), and now finds himself as one of the top pitching prospects within the system. That’s mostly because Gsellman had a big year in 2015, which saw him dominate the FSL for the first half and then put up a strong second half with Binghamton, but also because the Mets trades last July emptied out much of the SP depth within the system – I ranked him the #4 starting pitcher prospect left after Matz was promoted last year, and then the three guys ahead of him were traded. Gsellman’s strikeout and runs allowed numbers with the B-Mets aren’t good, but he held EL batters to an 87 wRC+ last year, and his stuff is better than those strikeout numbers suggest. Gsellman’s most commonly thrown pitch is a low-90’s sinker that has some great sinking motion, which has allowed Gsellman to post great groundball rates throughout the minors, but that Gsellman relies on too much. His best pitch is a beautiful and big curveball that sits in the upper 70’s and generally ranks as one of the best pitches in the Mets system, although there was a recent negative report on it. After seeing him multiple times in the FSL, Jeff Moore of BP wrote of the curve, “already an above-average major league pitch, has the potential to be a legitimate plus offering,” but then BA wrote the following in their 2016 Prospect Guidebook, “A long arm action prevents Gsellman from repeating his release point, so his curveball grades as below-average.” That doesn’t jive with what I’ve seen at all, as Gsellman has shown great control of the curve, and induces a lot of swinging strikes with the pitch, which is why I think he would benefit from using it more often. His repertoire is rounded out with a potentially average changeup that he pounds the bottom of the zone with. Below I take a look at some trends from his 2015 numbers, and then share links to a bunch of Gsellman GIF’s posted at Astromets Mind the past two season, as well as some youtube video’s of Gsellman.

Robert Gsellman's AA spray chart vs. RHB (on left) and vs. LHB (on right)

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Minor League Mets in the 2016 WBC Qualifier’s

Luis Guillorme (left), Alberto Baldonado (middle), and Dilson Herrera (right) in their respective WBC team's gear
(Photos from Facebook)

There are 5 minor leaguers from the Mets farm system representing the club in the WBC qualifiers from today through Sunday, so I'm previewing the 4 you hardly know

            The qualifiers for the 4th World Baseball Classic are set to continue Thursday afternoon in two locations: Estadio B-Air in Mexicali, and the Rod Carew National Stadium in Panama City. The winning team from each qualifier will advance to the 2017 tournament, and the Mets are well represented this week, with a good chance that at least one prospect comes back to camp with a little extra bragging rights. All Mets fans know of Dilson Herrera, who will play for Colombia this week, but less known is his Colombian teammate RHP Nabil Crismatt, who was one of the best strikeout pitchers in the APPY league last season. Those two will be playing in Panama City this week, as will shortstop Luis Guillorme (representing team Spain) and LHP Alberto Baldonado (representing team Panama). Catcher Xorge Carrillo will be the lone Mets prospect in Mexicali, and he may end up catching former Mets starter Ollie Perez while there. I really haven't followed the WBC action too closely, but my guess is that Mexico comes out as the winner from their group, which includes the Czech Republic, Germany, and Nicaragua, and that Columbia comes out as the winner from their group, which includes France, Panama, and Spain. Below I take a closer look at the lesser-known Mets prospects playing in the WBC spotlight this week.


Wednesday, March 16, 2016

2015 Split Review: L.J. Mazzilli

Strike zone profile from his brief AFL stint

2015 with Binghamton (including playoffs): 104 G, 387 PA, .260/.336/.332, 51 R, 21 2B, 2 3B, 23 RBI, 60 K: 37 BB (15.5 K%: 9.6 BB%), .314 BABIP, .072 ISO, 97 wRC+, 5-7 on Stolen Bases,  15 AB/XBH, 38.2 GB%: 31.4 FB%: 23 LD%: 7.4 PU%, 7.4 SwStr%, 17.2% Whiff/Swing, 3.64 P/PA

            Although L.J. Mazzilli was a feel-good draft-pick for those Mets fans who have fond memories of his father Lee, it was considered more of a money saving safe pick for those who follow the draft closely. The Mets knew he had little leverage as a 22-year old college senior, and so they signed him for about 140K under slot, which allowed them to go over slot elsewhere. Still, his game was expected to at least get him to the upper levels of the minors, with Rob Castellanos of Amazin’ Avenue saying, “I think there is a fair chance that he eventually becomes a regular or semi-regular player in the big leagues.” Mazzilli then went out and hit his way through all A-ball levels with little problems during the 2013 and 2014 season. He was poised for a big year at Binghamton in 2015, but then a suspension for a ‘drug of abuse’ was handed down last offseason, which meant he’d sit out the first half of the year.
            When his 2015 finally did start, I expected him to help the B-Mets offense but be shaky on the defensive side. He then went out and provided about league average offensive production (97 wRC+), while committing 13 errors in 83 games at 2B, which fits that profile, but his defense was pretty consistent and looked better than the error count, while his offensive production was nonexistent at times because he was so streaky. He had five 4-hit games and two 3-hit games, and those seven games account for ~30% of his hits with the B-Mets. As a perfect example of his streakiness, he went 12-24 in the third week of July, but then 3-25 the following week – or taking it a little further, he followed that 12-24 stretch with a 14-78 stretch over his next 20 games, then went 9-13 over a 4-game stretch, followed by a 5-28 week. In late June, he had a 5-game hit streak, went hitless over his next 4, and then put together a 7-game hit streak. He was streaky during the 2014 season too, but the lows were not quite so low. Still, he found other little ways to help the team win when the hits weren’t falling, something even scouts who likely barely saw him noticed – Baseball America said, “Mazzilli brings a hard-nosed style of play to the diamond and is regarded by scouts as a classic overachiever type,” in their 2016 Prospect Guidebook. Although he didn’t hit any homeruns with Binghamton (he hit one during a ‘rehab’ game with St. Lucie), he showed an impressive ability to hit doubles, finishing top-30 in the EL in just over half a season’s work – the EL doubles leader had 32. Also, he hit 11 homeruns combined in 2014 while playing in some tough home parks for homeruns (albeit against A-ball pitchers), so he’s shown the ability to knock some out, it just didn’t happen last year. Below I take a look at some trends from his 2015 splits with Binghamton, and then share a lot of hitting and fielding GIF’s at the bottom. I tried to GIF as much of Mazzilli as possible down the stretch since I had nothing on him from the first half.

Spray chart vs. LHP (on the left) and vs. RHP (on the right)

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

2015 Splits Review: Brandon Nimmo

Nimmo entered the 2015 season with a retooled swing that was supposed to help him turn on the inside pitch for more power, but he then failed to match his 2014 ISO and HR rates, so will power ever be a big part of his game, or will he be limited to a table-setter’s role?

2015 with Binghamton: 68 G, 302 PA, .279/.354/.368, 26 R, 12 2B, 3 3B, 2 HR, 16 RBI, 55 K: 26 BB (18.2 K%: 8.6 BB%), .343 BABIP, .089 ISO, 111 wRC+, 45.5 GB%: 23.9 FB%: 23.5 LD%: 7 PU%, 8.2 SwStr%, 17.7% Whiff/Swing, 4.05 P/PA, 15.8 AB/XBH, 27.3 HR/FB, 0-2 on stolen bases

2015 with Las Vegas: 32 G, 112 PA, .264/.393/.418, 19 R, 3 2B, 3B, 3 HR, 8 RBI, 20 K: 18 BB (17.9 K%: 16.1 BB%), .304 BABIP, .154 ISO, 121 wRC+, 56.3 GB%: 15.5 FB%: 22.5 LD%: 5.6 PU%, 9.3 SwStr%, 22% Whiff/Swing, 4.41 P/PA, 13 AB/XBH, 27.3% HR/FB, 5-9 on stolen bases

            The question above is one of several that has followed Brandon Nimmo since the Mets selected him with the 13th overall pick in the 2011 draft, which was a controversial pick considering how raw and untested Nimmo was at the time. The Mets have molded him into an impressive, yet still somewhat raw, prospect in the nearly 5 years since, and he enters 2016 as a 23-year old in AAA who is still playing CF – whether he will stick in CF is another question that’s followed him, and he did see some time in RF last year. He’s on the Mets 40-man, but the Mets outfield situation is very full at the major league level, and he’ll have a couple of expendable teammates on the 51s (Roger Bernadina and Travis Taijeron), so there is neither the expectation nor the need for him to help the Mets this year. That’s obviously a good thing since he needs more development time, but also because it should help keep Mets fans (particularly #MetsTwitter) off his back and out of his head this year. Unfortunately, there have been few updates on him since it was reported that he had a tear of the posterior tibial tendon in his left foot a month ago, so he’ll likely start the season late due to his first injury of 2016 – his health is another one of those questions that’s followed him. The projections for Nimmo range from platoon outfielder to everyday center fielder, but either could have a role on the 2017 Mets if he doesn’t stumble this year. From what I’ve seen, he’s still got enough speed to steal a few infield hits and handle CF with average range, but he looked like a potential plus defender during the small sample of games he played in RF, and he should get a chance to show off his underrated arm there more often. Below I take a look at some of his trends from 2015, and then share a bunch of 2015 GIF’s of Nimmo hitting, running, or tracking down the ball in the outfield.

Brandon Nimmo's 2015 Spray chart vs. LHP (on left) and vs. RHP (on right)

Distribution of the pitch count that Brandon Nimmo's PA's ended on in 2015

Monday, March 14, 2016

2015 Split Review: Matt Reynolds

After a breakout 2014, Reynolds offense slipped in 2015, so what was different?

2015 with Las Vegas: 115 G, 490 PA, .267/.319/.402, 70 R, 32 2B, 5 3B, 6 HR, 65 RBI, 92 K: 32 BB (18.8 K%: 6.5 BB%), 90 wRC+, .319 BABIP, .135 ISO, 13-17 on stolen bases (78%), 10.3 AB/XBH, 6.1 HR/FB, 44.4 GB%: 27.7 FB%: 23.2 LD%: 4.7 PU%, 10.3 SwStr%, 22.5 Whiff/Swing, 3.81 P/PA

            Matt Reynolds was one of the top hitters in the minors during the 2014 season – he finished 6th in the minor league title race with a .343 average – but his success was largely boosted by a nearly .420 BABIP, which sent up red flags for everyone. When his BABIP dropped about 100 points with Las Vegas in 2015, Reynolds resulting output proved to be below average for the PCL, which may have you thinking his prospect status fell considerably. However, after the 2014 season, I spent a lot of words trying to figure out what level of production Reynolds would have provided with a lower BABIP, and I ended up underselling him a little – I concluded that he’d put up a .262/.314/.362 slash line with a .325 BABIP, so I really just missed on the extra base hit rate. The more important conclusion from that post, and the one expressed in many prospect reports, was that Reynolds likely ceiling was as a utility infielder. So even though he had a somewhat disappointing season in 2015, it didn’t hurt his projected future upside, but rather helped clarify his path to improving it.
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