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Friday, January 06, 2017

Andruw Jones

Eligible in 2018

DL from MN Posted: January 06, 2017 at 11:23 AM | 30 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. shoewizard Posted: January 08, 2017 at 03:11 PM (#5379785)
Would have been an interesting discussion had he got hit by a bus before he played his age 30 season. Below are centerfielders through age 29, with 20 or more WAA. His numbers are so heavily skewed to the defense, would have made for a great debate. Unfortunately his drop off from age 30 so severe as to make the point moot, most likely

Rk             Player WAA/pos  Rbat Rfield OPS+   PA    R  HR  RBI   BB   SO   BA  OBP  SLG   OPS
1       Mickey Mantle    63.9 573.8   15.4  175 6697 1244 374 1063 1129 1136 .308 .425 .579 1.004
2             Ty Cobb    61.0 550.9    4.0  182 6596 1134  57  975  597  459 .369 .433 .510  .943
3        Tris Speaker    49.2 418.6   60.0  169 5814  896  43  681  608  269 .344 .422 .485  .907
4         Willie Mays    48.4 364.6   90.1  158 5301  884 279  812  566  505 .317 .390 .585  .975
5         Ken Griffey    47.8 357.2   73.0  149 6688 1063 398 1152  747  984 .299 .380 .569  .948
6        Andruw Jones    38.0 133.7  219.7  116 6617  962 342 1023  647 1256 .267 .345 .505  .850
7          Mike Trout    36.5 293.7   16.0  170 3558  600 168  497  477  784 .306 .405 .557  .963
8        Joe DiMaggio    34.7 333.1   46.0  159 4418  858 219  930  404  196 .339 .403 .607 1.010
9         Duke Snider    32.4 288.9   30.0  144 5494  903 276  911  615  770 .306 .385 .557  .942
10       Cesar Cedeno    29.8 215.8   10.9  130 6051  848 158  744  510  704 .290 .353 .458  .811
11       Andre Dawson    27.2 134.5   85.4  123 5022  698 182  669  288  725 .282 .328 .479  .807
12         Chet Lemon    24.2 163.7   76.7  127 4857  633 136  545  442  599 .282 .361 .457  .819
13     Richie Ashburn    23.6 132.7   87.6  112 6109  837  19  413  676  321 .313 .393 .393  .787
14     Carlos Beltran    23.2 114.4   44.1  115 5178  826 203  763  522  836 .281 .355 .492  .847
15       Reggie Smith    22.9 166.4   57.8  133 4863  671 172  636  496  568 .285 .359 .478  .837
16        Vada Pinson    22.7 167.8   
-0.9  119 6851  978 186  814  409  831 .297 .341 .469  .810
17   Andrew McCutchen    22.0 236.9  
-58.0  138 5179  720 175  637  612  922 .292 .381 .487  .869
18         Larry Doby    21.9 188.5   18.0  145 3570  582 144  530  531  562 .288 .400 .504  .903
19       Kenny Lofton    20.5  72.5   65.0  115 3175  551  39  261  307  343 .313 .379 .431  .811 


Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 1/8/2017.
   2. OCF Posted: January 08, 2017 at 03:21 PM (#5379801)
Among players who are HoVG or better - among those whose HoM cases are at least worth discussing - and who neither very young nor very old, who had the worst season?

The candidates I see are Jimmy Wynn, 1971 (age 29, 123 G, -0.9 WAR) and Andrew Jones, 2008 (age 31, 75G, -1.6 WAR).

Wynn came back from that to have at least one MVP-quality season later in his career. Jones had better years than that but was never again even a good regular. (He had had a 2007 that wasn’t up to his previous standards, but a lot of people - me included - were expecting him to bounce back from that.)

Can you find a collection of 2008 pitchers who add up to that many (238) PA and collectively hit petter than Jones?

OK, he’s not a career candidate. His case will be based entirely on what he did from 1997 through 2006 or 2007, and will rest to an uncommonly large degree on assessments of his defensive value. I expect whatever substantive discussion there is to focus on that defensive value.
   3. OCF Posted: January 08, 2017 at 03:51 PM (#5379819)
About that defensive value ...

The way bb-ref records defensive value is different in when PBP metrics are available compared to earlier times, right? And the spread of value under PBP metrics is wider than the spread of value based on things like adjusted range factors, right? I have to admit that under the chart shoewizard posted, seeing Jones with more than twice the defensive value of Willie Mays over the same ages is a little hard to swallow.
   4. Jaack Posted: January 08, 2017 at 06:52 PM (#5379882)
I currently have Andruw Jones at the bottom of the ballot, but I can't lie, he makes me nervous.

Here are Fangraphs' all time outfield defense leaders:
Outfielders by Defensive Value (Fangraphs)

There isn't really a great comparison to Andruw Jones among these defensive leaders. Clemente, Bonds, Mays, Yaz, and Kaline are all probably HoMers without their otherworldly defense. Paul Blair and Jim Piersall weren't particularly good hitters.

That leaves Jesse Barfield. Now Andruw was a better defender than Barfield, and he also played in center as opposed to right. But do I feel confident in saying that Jones is THAT much better than Barfield? Baseball Prospectus prefers Barfield's glove to Jones' before positional adjustment.

I'm gonna take a longer look here.
   5. Jaack Posted: January 08, 2017 at 07:30 PM (#5379897)
Looking at some of the effects on the Braves

The most prominent Braves pitchers from 1997-2007 are Maddux, Smoltz, Glavine, Hudson, and Millwood. Not a bad bunch.

I should also note that the Braves had one of the best defenses in baseball both before Andruw Jones and during his tenure. Even if you replaced him with an average defender, they'd be top 5 in the league.

Maddux was a groundball guy, so he's going to see less of an effect, but if anything, Maddux gets worse when Jones arrives. His BABIP in 1996 jumped, but Jones' arrival in 1997 does nothing to change that. Maddux isn't the same pitcher after he leaves Atlanta in 2004, but his last year in Atlanta is around the same level as his post Atlanta years. If you shifted all of Maddux's years foward one, you could make a pretty good narrative either way on Jones' effect, but as is... it's hard to say.

Smoltz doesn't do enough after Jones to really say anything, but he is better after Jones starts playing. But once again the big shift in Smoltz's rate stats comes in 1996, not 1997.

Glavine's rate stats ALSO improve in 1996. But they also get a lot worse once he goes to the Mets. This might be the best case in favor of Andruw Jones' defense.

Hudson is only in Atlanta in the latter half of Jones' tenure and he's another groundball pitcher. His rate stats get worse when moving from Oakland to Atlanta (understandible considering the foul territory in Oakland). In 2008, the first season without Jones, Hudson only has half a season, but his BABIP sees a huge drop. It had been around .290 for his three years with Jones, but in 2008 it goes down to .262. With the exception of a big blip in 2009, Hudson's BABIP in Atlanta is generally significantly lower without Jones.

Millwood is basically the same guy after he leaves Atlanta in 2003.

One last intersting thing to note. Andruw Jones, JD Drew, and Brian Jordan went from Atlanta to the Dodgers in this period, and for all three players, their outfield defensive stats significantly declined. Gary Sheffield went from LA to Atlanta, and his defense improved from awful to okay (and it went subsequentially back to awful in New York).

There looks to be something weird going on with defensive metrics and Atlanta outfielders. I'm feeling even shakier about Andruw Jones.
   6. Bleed the Freak Posted: January 08, 2017 at 08:26 PM (#5379915)
3. OCF Posted: January 08, 2017 at 03:51 PM (#5379819)
About that defensive value ...

The way bb-ref records defensive value is different in when PBP metrics are available compared to earlier times, right? And the spread of value under PBP metrics is wider than the spread of value based on things like adjusted range factors, right? I have to admit that under the chart shoewizard posted, seeing Jones with more than twice the defensive value of Willie Mays over the same ages is a little hard to swallow.


DRS is used by Baseball-Reference after 2003 and UZR by Fangraphs after 2002.
Total Zone is used by both prior to that time frame.
DRA is used by Baseball Gauge.
   7. Barnaby Jones Posted: January 08, 2017 at 09:26 PM (#5379938)
One last intersting thing to note. Andruw Jones, JD Drew, and Brian Jordan went from Atlanta to the Dodgers in this period, and for all three players, their outfield defensive stats significantly declined. Gary Sheffield went from LA to Atlanta, and his defense improved from awful to okay (and it went subsequentially back to awful in New York).

There looks to be something weird going on with defensive metrics and Atlanta outfielders. I'm feeling even shakier about Andruw Jones.


I think this pattern, while interesting, dissipates if we look at the actual players in question.

- Brian Jordan was just as good of a defender for years in STL before moving to ATL; he battled injures his entire time in LAD.
- JD Drew seems to have played about same level of defense from 22-30, from STL to ATL to LAD on a rate basis. His year in ATL stands out a because that was the only year in that period that he actually stayed on the field. Even his first year in LAD, he generated DRS at the exact same rate as ATL (6 in 72 games vs. 15 in 145).
- Jones notoriously became a ridiculous physically embarrassment in LA, and his body basically collapsed.
- Sheffield is the most interesting; can't say for sure why he has better numbers in ATL, but he did make a big show of playing the part and behaving himself in ATL. Perhaps that extended to his defense.

In terms of other Braves' OF who played at Turner, some counterpoints:

- Heyward has maintained his high defensive numbers after the move to Wrigley.
- Francouer initially maintained his high level after moving to the Mets, though quickly declined.
- Michael Bourn had outlandishly good defensive years at both Turner Field and Enron.
- Nate McLouth had outlandishly poor defensive years at both Turner and PNC.
- Lofton was good in both ATL and CLE.

Having watched a large portion of Andruw Jones' career, his defensive stats are pretty much what I would have expected. An absolute joy to watch.
   8. DL from MN Posted: January 08, 2017 at 10:25 PM (#5379961)
I don't doubt that Jones was great in CF. I doubt he was 100+ runs better than Mays or Bonds, especially when they're +30 on the basepaths and Andruw is a -5.
   9. Jaack Posted: January 08, 2017 at 11:41 PM (#5379989)
I still think that Jones is probably a top 5 or so defensive outfielder of all time. I just don't think he was as good as the metrics are saying he was. It's just too unbelievably good.

I just can't see how someone can be 80-100 runs better with the glove than any other player especially when all that value was generated in just 11 years of productivity.

And the metrics just love Atlanta's defense in general in this era. I'm not sure why but I think there are two possible causes.

1. Braves pitchers were great at producing weak contact. Maddux and Glavine were both career FIP beaters.
2. I am admittedly not familiar with the Braves coaching staffs of this era so I can't say anything definitively, but based on their continuously good defense's I think they might have had really good defensive positioning, which can be an explication for sudden defenaive improvement.

I feel pretty good about the first part, the second part I'm less sure about and will have to research.

If Andruw Jones is the defender that the metric say he is, he's clearly a HoMer to me. But for a guy with a short career and not a whole lot of value outside his glove, I think it's worth the time investigating and a first look hasn't eased my concerns.
   10. DL from MN Posted: January 09, 2017 at 10:33 AM (#5380154)
He tended to play shallow. Was he stealing pop-ups from the SS and 2B?
   11. DL from MN Posted: January 09, 2017 at 10:45 AM (#5380163)
Dan R's numbers have Andruw as 16 Fielding Wins Above Average. Not sure about the method used, but that's in line with other top defenders like Mays (13.5), Clemente (12.7), Barfield (12.8)

Jim Edmonds is a 6.2 FWAA. I believe Andruw could be 10 wins better than him and 3 wins better than Mays. Tris Speaker tops Andruw at 19.2.
   12. Rally Posted: January 09, 2017 at 10:56 AM (#5380174)
He tended to play shallow. Was he stealing pop-ups from the SS and 2B?


According to Chris Dial, he was.

The defensive metrics on BBref are mine through 2002, from BIS from 2003 on. I trust them generally to be right on who is good and bad defensively, but I'm not completely sold here. I would not vote for Andruw if your vote depends on him being the greatest rate stat center fielder to ever play.

I would regress things like this: Identify the top 3-5 other center fielders, average their rates, and apply to Andruw. If he's still over the line when you consider him as one of the very best defensive center fielders, then vote for him.

But if your vote depends on him being superior in the field to Willie Mays, Devon White, and Garry Maddox, then don't do it. He might have been, but I don't have enough faith in that.

Also, click on the advanced tab of the BBref fielding table. By TZ, Jones is +165 for range, and +55 for arm. To check on the range part you'd need to play with retrosheet and come up with your own fielding system. If you are up for it, I highly encourage it, but in the decade since I published TZ I can count on one hand the number of people who have done so and published results, so I realize its not for everyone. But the +55 for OF arm, which is an incredibly huge amount, can be verified. Go look at the breakdown of how many runners went 1st-3rd, scored from 3rd on flyballs, etc. Compare it to another outfielder. Does the rating make sense? All the data is there for anyone who wants to confirm or refute that total.

   13. Rally Posted: January 09, 2017 at 11:11 AM (#5380187)
Even if you regress the defensive numbers a bit, he certainly will hold some appeal to a peak voter. He had more value after the age of 30 than Sandy Koufax, but just barely.
   14. Bleed the Freak Posted: January 09, 2017 at 11:33 AM (#5380202)
Thanks arom for clearing up the years:)
   15. Bleed the Freak Posted: January 09, 2017 at 08:10 PM (#5380710)
Quoting Michael Humphrey's from Wizardry:

"Some combination of the [John] Walsh and [Sean] Smith defensive runs estimates for runners held would boost Andruw Jones to close to 250 career defensive runs, and a TPAR total comfortably ahead of Mays. Jones was always a power hitter, typically hitting thirty-fiver homers a year. Prior to the 2005 season he worked out, bulked up, hit fifty-one homeruns--and had his first negative DRA rating.

With the possible exception of Richie Ashburn, Andruw Jones in his peak seasons (however defined) recorded more putouts relative to his contemporary centerfielders, given the total number of batted allowed by his team's pitchers, than anyone in history. With the possible exception of Tris Speaker and Paul Blair, Andruw Jones has also played the most shallow centerfield relative to his contemporary centerfielders than anyone in history.

The two facts are connected: Jones has positioned himself to catch a high number of short high flies that would normally be caught by middle-infielders. He obviously shouldn't be given credit for making plays on what amount to automatic outs that could readily be made by any one of two or three fielders. DRA has an adjustment that takes this into account, and it has a substantial impact on Jones's DRA rating, so I believe that the numbers for Jones reasonably measure this real value to this teams. The Smith for 1997-99, which used batted ball data and calculation methods that would generally avoid crediting Jones for a lot of runs saved by taking discretionary chances, is nearly identical for that period.

Despite his disappointingly early decline, Andruw Jones deserves to be elected to the Hall of Fame [Merit]. Based on Sean Smith's WAR, Jones had four seasons of MVP-candidate value (1998-2000 and 2005); three exceptionally strong all-star quality seasons (2002-03 and 2006), and three more seasons that were well above average (1997, 2001, and 2004). As he would have had at most only four borderline all-star quality seasons without his well-documented defensive value, it will be interesting to see if and when Hall of Fame voters recognize his excellence."

Humphrey's has tweaked DRA value since the book hit publication, but Andruw's overall defensive value remains the same, ~20 wins worth of value. As the great doc has mentioned, DRA does not include outfielder arm values. His R-Of equates to almost 50 runs or another ~5 wins, consistent with what Mike noted in his novel.
   16. Zach Posted: January 09, 2017 at 08:22 PM (#5380715)
I wonder how the Braves did on fly balls in general during Jones's years. Did the team have a very low AVG/SLG against, or was it just the same outs in different baskets?
   17. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 09, 2017 at 08:27 PM (#5380716)
All the voters should probably check out the Tango blog for the recent work on defense.

It also suggests that OF with big DRS/UZR numbers are probably stealing high probability outs from other players.
   18. Rally Posted: January 10, 2017 at 10:42 AM (#5380919)
Yeah. Fully agree with snapper on that. Also check out baseballsavant.com and look at the defensive profile for outfielders.
   19. DL from MN Posted: January 10, 2017 at 11:12 AM (#5380937)
What is the theoretical upper limit for outfield play if an elite centerfielder (Willie Mays) successfully converted all of his chances?

BTW - Devon White averaged 1 FWAA over his 12 full seasons (RField 156). Tris Speaker put up 17 FWAA over his first 13 seasons (RField of 90).

Let's take a look at Jones' best season of RField. In 1999 he posted a +36. His fellow outfielders also scored quite high - Brian Jordan was +17, Gerald Williams +10. That's an outfield total of +63. Meanwhile the infielders Weiss, Klesko, Chipper Jones and Bret Boone were a collective -37. None of those infielders were that great but they were all better in RField in 1998 and 2000 than in 1999.
   20. DL from MN Posted: January 10, 2017 at 11:35 AM (#5380962)
Just looking over last season's top gloves we saw Kiermaier post a 42 RField, Betts 32, Pillar 21, Dyson at 19 and Marisnick 18 in part time duty. How likely is it that MLB has 5 guys who are better centerfielders than Paul Blair, Garry Maddox or Devon White? The numbers aren't on the same scale.
   21. Rally Posted: January 10, 2017 at 11:36 AM (#5380964)
DL, the data shown on baseballsavant.com could help answer your question. Pull up an outfielder's defensive chart and look at the one on hits allowed. Ignore anything below the red line - those are plays where the time/distance combination means no human can catch it. Start counting the dots. A perfect outfielder would catch anything in the easy, routine, tough, and highlight bands. It's a rough estimate when you have to make a judgment call on what is on or over the line.

My rough estimate is "35 more catches than Ender Inciarte made last year".
   22. Rally Posted: January 10, 2017 at 11:37 AM (#5380967)
Or 15 more catches than Kevin Kiermaier made, though he missed a lot of time to injury.
   23. DL from MN Posted: January 10, 2017 at 11:51 AM (#5380980)
If we adjust the league-wide bell curves of defensive performance to match then Chet Lemon actually looks as good as Andruw Jones - more bat and more career.
   24. Ardo Posted: January 10, 2017 at 03:24 PM (#5381126)
Let's see... both Jones and Lemon had their last elite all-around season at age 29. Lemon's decline phase wasn't as steep as Jones's, but his peak value wasn't as high.

Lemon had slightly more on-base ability, Jones slightly more power. They played in radically different contexts; Jones's time was much more hitter-friendly and had higher standard deviations.

Jones is in the conversation with Speaker, Ashburn, Max Carey, and Mays for "greatest defensive CF ever". Lemon was an excellent defensive CF, but not quite as superlative.

Lemon vs. Jones is a hard case - so difficult that I like Jones's candidacy less.

PS: How could anyone look at Chet Lemon and Steve Kemp heads-up and decide, "We want Kemp"? Were the RBI really enough to fool the White Sox?
   25. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: January 11, 2017 at 10:40 AM (#5381549)
Were the RBI really enough to fool the White Sox?


35 years ago? yes.
Waaay back in the day Kemp was one of those guys who for awhile was held in far higher regard than his performance/physical tools seemed to warrant, you got the impression that folks thought he'd have an FRobbie type career...
Didn't see him a lot until he came to the Yankees, looked like like a complete nothingburger (and for the Yankees he was)

Kemp blames an eye injury he suffered in 1983 for derailing his career, but he was in premature decline before then
   26. Rally Posted: January 11, 2017 at 11:26 AM (#5381592)
I vaguely remember the eye injury doing that but looking at his game logs I can't tell when it happened. He was hit by 2 pitches that year but played the following game. In fact, he continued to play in both of those games after the HBP.

Or was it something like a foul ball hitting him in the eye? He didn't play after September 6.

Kemp's record before 1983 doesn't look like premature decline - though 1983 itself does. He was a solid player, a patient lefty bat good for 20 homers per year. His 1983 season was bad. At the time it was looked at as him not being able to handle the pressure of NYC, or his contract. Yankees signed him to a 5 year, 5.45 million deal which with baseball inflation is probably equivalent to a 5 year, 100 million deal today. They probably had ideas about him using the short porch in right to become a 30 homer man.

Trading him for Lemon turned out a horrible move for White Sox and a great one for the Tigers. Kemp was one year away from free agency. They were the same age. Lemon had enough service time to be a free agent, I don't know his contract situation was at the time of the trade.
   27. Rally Posted: January 11, 2017 at 11:29 AM (#5381597)
Here it is:

"After struggling most of the season with a bone chip in his right shoulder, Kemp was standing in left field playing catch before a game.

A line drive off the bat of Omar Moreno hit the unsuspecting Kemp just below his left eye, shattering his cheekbone."

http://articles.latimes.com/1991-03-05/sports/sp-319_1_future-major
   28. Bleed the Freak Posted: January 11, 2017 at 09:22 PM (#5382090)
Kiko, when you get a chance, can you give your thoughts on Andruw.

http://baseball.tomthress.com/StatTables/PlayerStats.php?id=jonea002

http://baseball.tomthress.com/StatTables/FieldingStats.php?id=jonea002

Nearly 8 of his 9.5 fielding wins are from component 5, hits versus outs on balls in play.
Does the split seem ok between batters, pitchers, fielders on this?

http://baseball.tomthress.com/Leaders/Leaders.php?y=&y1;=&y2;=&l=&a=c&s=c5&n=50

For component 5, Andruw places 32nd overall in career NET fielding wins.

http://baseball.tomthress.com/Leaders/Leaders.php?y=&y1;=&y2;=&l=&a=c&n=50&s=f8

Andruw scores the 3rd most overall CF fielding wins: Amos Otis 9.1, Willie Davis 8.9, Andruw Jones 8.3, Curt Flood 8.1, Duke Snider 7.4, Paul Blair 6.0, Joe DiMaggio 5.9, Jim Edmonds 5.1, Dave Henderson 4.7, and Andre Dawson 4.5.

http://baseball.tomthress.com/StatTables/Similars.php?id=jonea002

The most similar players comprise 5 hall of meriters, 2 likely future hall of meriters, and 3 good but short of hall of merit players (so far).

http://baseball.tomthress.com/Leaders/UberLeaders.php?y1=1930&y2=2016&p=0.5&e=0.5&w=0.137&a=2.012&a2=0.813&r=1&na=0&nr=0&c=1.127&b1=0.929&b2=1.005&b3=0.961&ss=0.929&lf=0.961&cf=0.961&rf=0.961&dh=0.929&ph=0.961&pr=0.961&o1=0.976&sp=0.976&rp=1.510&psw=1&psa=1&psr=1>=162&ga=1&n=250

A key stat iteration places him in the electable, but not priority eligibles.

His post-season WPA adds no value, although is .796 OPS would indicate league averageish performance in 279 PA, roughly a win in Kiko pWROL.

He doesn't get a boost from situational (RE24) hitting either.

Interesting candidate!
   29. Kiko Sakata Posted: January 12, 2017 at 11:03 AM (#5382265)
Kiko, when you get a chance, can you give your thoughts on Andruw.


Serious candidate, probably at least borderline Personal Hall of Merit for me, but somewhere in the 30-40 range for this year as I have a pretty good number of pHOM-not-HOM guys that I like more.

My system basically ends up treating him the way that AROM suggested in comment #12: "Identify the top 3-5 other center fielders, average their rates, and apply to Andruw. If he's still over the line when you consider him as one of the very best defensive center fielders, then vote for him." He's clearly among the best defensive CF by my system, but not head-and-shoulders above everybody else. Pretty good hitter with good power (which my system likes) in his prime. His prime was a decent length and my current weighting scheme zeroes out negatives, so his collapse isn't hurting him, but he's not picking up anything in his post-prime like a lot of guys who manage to stay above at least replacement level, if not average, for a few years.

Reading through this thread, I think in some ways the comp I like best may be Jesse Barfield. Excellent defenders - on the strength on one extraordinary skill (range for Jones, arm for Barfield) and above-average skill elsewhere (i.e., good arm for Jones, good range for Barfield). Both were good, power-heavy hitters in their prime, but both had very short careers as a good, or even useful, player. Jones played the more important defensive position and had a somewhat longer prime, so he ends up considerably higher in my consideration set than Barfield (who's maybe top 200 among 2018 HOM candidates for me), but broadly similar skill set and career shape.
   30. theorioleway Posted: March 02, 2017 at 03:41 PM (#5411791)
One thing in regard to Jones' otherworldly metrics: we've seen with Adam Jones and Andrew McCutcheon that CF who play shallow and can't get back to deep balls get penalized very heavily. The fact that Andruw Jones was able to play shallow and still get to all the deep balls and have such a great rating in the metrics seem to indicate his defense was legit. And of course the eye test showed him to be legitimately great as well.

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