Posted by: portersprospectreport | September 13, 2008

The Price is Finally Right

2008 MILB Player of the Year
2008 MILB Player of the Year

Perhaps the most anticipated call up of the 2008 season has finally made his way to the big club.  Today, the Tampa Bay Rays have announced that 2007 #1 overall pick David Price will be joining the Rays and is eligible to pitch today. 

The plan for Price is to pitch him as a lefty reliever out of the pen, though I would not rule him out for any starts in the near future.  The Rays are slowly but surely pulling away from the Boston Red Sox in the AL East and the Rays brass are eager to see exactly what they have in the fomer Vanderbilt superstar. 

Price, because of his late call up, is not eligible for the post season roster, but expect to see his cards make a modest jump as the ESPN viewing public gets an opportunity to see him. 

Bigger things are in line for 2009 for sure!

Posted by: portersprospectreport | September 13, 2008

$100 Well Spent #4

As promised, this next $100 segment focuses on the N.L. teams that are in the playoff hunt as of September 12th.  One note, just hours after my post on the A.L. teams, Paul Konerko sprained his knee and Ervin Santana had one of his worst outings of his season.  So much for my Midas Touch.

I was parusing the box scores and standings in the N.L. and have come to the realization that this will be much more difficult than the A.L. post.  There are 8 teams (as opposed to 5 A.L. teams) with a realistic shot at the playoffs.  For the sake of convenience, I have omitted the Arizona Diamondbacks and St. Louis Cardinals from the equation as they seem to be the most unlikely temas of the bunch to stay in the pennant race.  My apologies to those of you who disagree.  Now, I bring you my $100 well spent for N.L. playoff contenders.

New York Mets—82-63 1st Place N.L. East


2006 Bowman Chrome Draft Mike Pelfrey (x5)—$7.50

  • Pelfrey has been pitching like the frontline starter Mets GM Omar Minaya projected him to be when he selected him with the Mets’ 1st round selection in 2005.  Pelfrey has pitched at least 7 innings in 4 of his last 5 starts including back to back complete games.  With injuries to John Maine and the struggles of Pedro Martinez, Pelfrey has stepped up big time and may find himself as the number two option behind ace southpaw Johan Santana in the playoffs.  At $1.50 each, Pelfrey’s Bowman Chrome Draft cards are well under their $8.00 Beckett values and a great economical value buy right now. 


Carlos Beltran 1995 Topps Traded (x2)—$7.00

  • Remember when this card was selling in the $15-20 range?  Beltran is having another solid season in which he has collected 100 RBI and scored more than 100 runs in the middle of the Mets lineup.  He is getting hot at just the right time and is one of the catalysts in the Mets lineup.  Gotta think this card will get some more attention if the Mets can continue their run and fend off the Phillies.


Philadelphia Phillies—80-67 2nd Place NL East, 2nd Place WC


Jason Werth 1997 Bowman Chrome (x6)—$12.00

  • Werth is enjoying his best season as a pro with the Phillies hitting .276  with 22 HR 59 RBI and 17 SB in his first full season.  Werth has a powerful and athletic 6-5 225 lb. frame that, due to numerous injuries, has taken some time to blossom to its potential.  Werth can adeptly play any OF position and his #2 spot in the lineup between Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley leads to many scoring opportunities.  These cards are solid values at their prices for an underrated player in a lineup of superstars.

Brett Myers Topps Finest—$9.00

  • This card is a limited edition of Myers’ RC.  Brett Myers has been shuttled from rotation to pen to rotation again.  He has been villified by some and diefied by others.  He is a talented but caustic enigma who is currently at the apex of his game and carrying the Phillie’s rotation through September.  Myers has won 5 of his last 6 starts pitching at least 78 innings in each while allowing only 6 ER and striking out 49 in 46 innings.  Myers is a fiery competitor who will not back down from the challenge that the post season brings.  Hopefully, he will not melt down either.

Chicago Cubs—88-58 1st Place NL Central (Best Record in NL)



Rich Harden 2002 Topps (x3)—$7.50

  • Harden has rivaled C.C. Sabathia as the best mid-season acquisition this season.   Since his trade to the Cubbies, Harden has gone 5-1 with a 1. 65 ERA and has struck out 78 in just 60 innings and has held National League hitters to a stingy .169 BA.   Harden, with apologies to Carlos Zambrano, is the true ace of the Cubs and his continued dominance will be integral to the postseason success of the Cubs.  If the Cubs go to the World Series, which is very probable, Harden’s cards could enjoy the market bump that Josh Beckett enjoyed last year.


Aramis Ramirez 1997 Bowman Chrome—$6.00

  • What an underrated rookie card this is!  Ramirez season after season is the glue that holds the middle of the Cubs’ lineup together.  This season is no exception.  Ramirez is hitting .280 with 24 HR 103 RBI and 87 runs scored.  Additionally, Ramirez has walked a career high 69 times and has a career best .373 OBP.  Ramirez has always been an underrated hitter, but since August 1st, he is batting .300 with 6 HR and 30 RBI.  A sterling postseason campaign can make Ramirez’s ’97 Bowman Chrome card reach the plateaus of $15-20 that other former ’97 Bowman Chrome RC’s of Adrian Beltre, Lance Berkman, and Eric Chavez have at one time enjoyed.

Milwaukee Brewers—(83-64) 2nd Place NL Central, 1st Place NL WC


J.J. Hardy 2003 Topps Blue Chips Auto—$10.00

  • On a team glistening with young superstar hitters like Ryan Braun, Prince Fielder, and Corey Hart, Hardy’s contributions often go somewhat overlooked.  However, his .283 BA with 24 HR and 70 RBI plus his solid play at SS has become a stalwhart fixture for an organization that has rapidly evolved into one of baseball’s best.  This is Hardy’s sole 1st year auto and it is certainly undervalued and, perhaps like Hardy himself, underappreciated.


C.C. Sabathia 1999 Topps Finest—$5.00

  • Sabathia has been nothing short of dominant since his move to the Brewers.  A perfect 9-0 record with a 1.59 ERA, Sabathia is the ace that the Brewers have been seeking over the last two years.  Sabathia has numerous 1999 RC’s, but the Finest is a high quality and visually appealing card that seems to be in shorter supply than the others.  The Brewers have a daunting task of fending off other hot teams like Houston and St. Louis for the Wild Card spot, but their potent lineup and big horse at the top of the rotation should provide them enough firepower to earn their first postseason berth in 26 years.


Houston Astros—80-67 3rd Place NL Central, 3rd Place WC

Hunter Pence 2006 Bowman Chrome Prospects (x2)—$7.00

  • We were all introduced to Pence last season when he and fellow NL Central phenom Ryan Braun took the collecting world by storm with their sterling debuts.  This season, the rage for Pence’s cards have cooled somewhat as he has had a decent but understated sophomore season hitting .273 with 22 HR and 75 RBI.  Pence is an integral part to the surging Astros’ lineup as fellow OF Carlos Lee is on the shelf through thre rest of the regular season with a fractured finger.  Pence has done his part in September hitting .390 with 2 HR 6 RBI and 5 doubles.  While his 2004 cards are all too expensive for this list, his ’06 Bowman Chrome Prospect cards could well be nice values if the Astros can continue their torrid pace and track down the Brewers.

Los Angeles Dodgers—75-71 1st Place NL West

Chad Billingsley 2003 Bowman Heritage Auto—$13.00

  • Billingsley has taken huge strides forward to become the ace that the Dodgers projected him to be when they selected him in the first round of  the ’03 draft.  Billingsley has won 6 of his last 7 decisions and has lowered his overall ERA to 3.02 after begining the season with an 0-4 record.  The playoffs are a time where the frontline players step forward and turn themselves into household names.  Surging since the Manny Ramirez trade, the Dodgers have several key youngsters that can make the transistion from sleepers to superstars.  Billingsley is at the top of that list.

Andre Ethier 2003 Prospect Premieres (x5)—$7.50

  • This guy has been sizzling in September, hitting a robust .595 with 2 HR 12 RBI and 14 runs scored.  Additionally, he has walked 9 times while only punching out 5 times.  Ethier is the perfect compliment to Man-Ram and he has been very comfortble hitting in the 2 spot ahead of him.  The Prospect Premieres card is an XRC set which also features an autograph from Ethier.  His ’03 and ’05 autos are sold in the $20-30 range, but his ’06 autos can be had for under $10.  As a first year card, the ’03 Prospect Premieres has solid value for its price and could be a hot commodity if Ethier can transform inoto a postseason superstar.

Matt Kemp 2005 Topps Chrome Update (x5)—$8.00

  • This guy is soooo close to being a big time superstar.  He has had a very nice 2008 campaign hitting .286 with 16 HR 71 RBI and 33 SB.  This is his first full season and not even the sky can limit his potential as an all-around mega talent.  He must learn to cut down his K’s and keep focused.  Kemp has many offereings in 2005 to choose from, including a Bowman Chrome auto that would also be a good investment (though too expensive for the $100 Well Spent article).  I chose his chromes as I felt $1.50 was a steal for a player of his talent.  The Dodgers have all the ingredients in place for a long and productive postseason run.

Phew!  There it is $100 worth of National League Playoff Contenders!  As always your thoughts and contributions are solicited and appreciated by me.  Hopefully, I won’t jinx this batch!  Stay tuned as I will be posting later about David Price’s promotion to the big club in Tampa Bay and we’ll also examine Razor’s newest signees. 

For now, though, it is time to go enjoy the sunshine!

Posted by: portersprospectreport | September 11, 2008

Recent MLB Callup #1—Travis Snider

Lots more HR's in this bat!
Lots more HR in this bat!

Travis Snider

Snider has accomplished much in his second full season as a professional baseball player.  Snider began the season at High A Dunedin and struggled.  Regardless, the organization promoted him to AA New Hampshire, then AAA Syracuse, and finally to Toronto.  At each stop, Snider’s performance improved and he opened eyes with his immense power potential.  Snider has adjusted to MLB pitching well thusfar, hitting .310 with his first MLB homerun being a cannon shot over the centerfield wall at Toronto.

True, his strikeout rate is less than desireable, but the fact remains that Snider is only 20 years old and has been jettisoned at light speed through the minor leagues.  His intense work ethic and passion for the game are prime indicators that he is more than competent to work out the kinks in his game.  He heads to the Arizona Fall League in October to get more seasoning.

I fully expect Snider to impress and be a front runner for the 2009 A.L. R.O.Y award.  Get his ’06 cards NOW!

Posted by: portersprospectreport | September 11, 2008

Recent MLB Debut #2—Michael Bowden

See you in October?

Done for 2008


Michael Bowden

I have written several articles about the Boston Red Sox top pitching prospect chronicling his meteoric ascention to the major leagues as well as his projected potential.  He came up for a brief cup of coffee in a spot start while Josh Beckett was on the DL.  It was a good start as he gained his first major league victory throwing 5 innings in which he limited the Baltimore Orioles to 2 runs on 7 hits while striking out 3 and walking one.  Immediately following the start, Bowden was sent back to AAA to make room for Beckett.

I still maintain that Bowden is a middle of the rotation starter who does not have the ceiling of Clay Buccholz.  The Red Sox pitching staff is set for the playoffs, enough so that Bowden and Buchholz have been shut down for the rest of the season. 

Bowden will certainly be a major competitor for a rotation spot for the Red Sox along side fellow phenoms Buchholz and Justin Masterson.  Don’t be surpised to see him also being mentioned in offseason trade rumors.

Posted by: portersprospectreport | September 11, 2008

September 11—7 Years Later

God Bless America

God Bless America

We’ve lived seven years since the horrors of September 11, 2001.  Today it remains the darkest moment of our country’s recent history and the loss is still profoundly felt to this day. 

I pray that we will all take a moment within our busy day to remember the lives of those who were lost, whether it be in the disasters or the rescue efforts that followed.  Also, I would like to thank the brave members of our armed forces who have risked or given their lives to ensure the safety, freedom, and prosperity that our great nation and its people enjoy today. 

Your efforts are not taken for granted and your courage is an exemplary testimony of  the greatness of the United States of America.  Thank you and may God continue to bless you and your loved ones.

Posted by: portersprospectreport | September 10, 2008

Recent MLB Callup #3—Alcides Escobar

Now has the bat to go with the glove

Alcides Escobar

Escobar entered the 2008 season as a slick fielding SS with no pop ( 7 career HR in 1,595 minor league AB) and little plate discipline. Regardless, he was rated by Baseball Maerica as the #3 ranked prospect in the deep Milwaukee Brewers farm system.  Escobar did much to earn that nod this season, hitting .328 with 8 HR 76 RBI 34 SB and 95 runs scored.  Additionally, he showed improved plate discipline garnering a career high 31 walks vs. 82 K’s. 

So far, like Mat Gamel and Angel Salome, Escobar has not gotten much playing time as the Brewers are working to chase down the Cubs for the N.L. Central division while fending off the Phillies and Cardinals in the Wild Card chase.  Escobar will likely get some pinch running opportunities and may be used as late inning defensive replacements.  Also like his Hunstville counterparts, Escobar is headed to Arizona to play fall ball and will compete for a roster spot in spring training next year.  J.J. Hardy seems to be firmly entrenched as the shortstop, but Rickie Weeks’ status as the second baseman, especially in light of the mid-season Ray Durham signing, is tenuous at best.  If  Escobar is able to perform well in Arizona, the Brewers may full well find a way to package Weeks up in an offseason deal.  Regardless, Escobar will be in the Brewers lineup full time at some point in 2009.

Posted by: portersprospectreport | September 9, 2008

Recent MLB Debut #4—Mat Gamel

Will he stick at third?

Will he stick at third?

Mat Gamel

Gamel was a beast this season following a very successful campaign at winter ball.  At AA Hunstville, Gamel hit .329 with 19 HR and 96 RBI.  He also had 35 doubles and 7 triples to go along with his 92 runs.  Though his season was great, his numbers decreased mightily following the departure of Matt LaPorta to Cleveland in the C.C. Sabathia trade.  Is this a big deal or nothing to be concerned about?  I maintain that it is both.  Gamel has proven that he can hit very well for moderate power and good average, but he is likely going to be a complimentary piece in an MLB lineup and not a superstar. 

Gamel has one hit in two AB with Milwaukee and should not fit into their post season plans.  In October, Gamel will be headed to the Arizona Fall League to get more defensive seasoning at 3rd base, he is still raw, and I will be anxious to see if he can continue his torrid pace at the plate.

Posted by: portersprospectreport | September 9, 2008

$100 Well Spent #3

Last time I focused on upcoming potential September callups, this time I will dedicate my hypothetical C-note to impact RC’s during the pennant stretch.  Every year, certain RC’s pop up out of the wood work to become brief denizens on collector hot lists.  I recall 1986 when an ordinary Mets 3B, Ray Knight, whose greatest previous conquest was being the spouse of LPGA legend Nancy Lopez, became the toast of the Big Apple and a brief hobby sensation with an MVP performance against the Buckner-cursed Boston Red Sox. 

As of today, 11 teams (5 A.L. & 6 N.L.) are in the thick of the playoff race.  I began writing this article with the intent of giving a player to watch from each contending team.  However, that task has proven to be daunting and waters down the quality of depth that each of these teams posesses.  So, I have decided that this post will be focused on the 5 A.L. teams and the next post will highlight the 6 N.L. teams.  Each post will be allocated $100 (not $50 and $50). 

Ok, this will be hard, but I will am up for the task.  As always, your thoughts and prospective lists are welcome.  I will be using average Ebay prices from the past two weeks as my point of reference.  Here we go…


Tampa Bay Rays—87-57 1st place A.L. East

Rocco Baldelli 2000 Bowman Chrome DP (x5)—$7.50

  • The revival of Rocco has been the one of the great chapters within the success story that is the 2008 Tampa Bay Rays.  Baldelli, who was once compared to Joltin’ Joe Dimaggio, had his career seemingly cut short when he fell prey to a chronic fatigue disorder which robbed his body of the necessary energy to participate in strenuous physical activity.  Somehow, Baldelli has found a way to make it back to the Rays’ lineup as a DH and RF.  Baldelli cannot yet handle a full time workload, but his story is as compelling as that of the Rays this season and that is sure to get more national publicity the further the Rays progress in the playoffs.


Carlos Pena 1999 Bowman Chrome (x5)—$7.50

  • How far the mighty have fallen.  Last season’s breakout player has not delivered the goods this season hitting just .245 with 27 HR and 85 RBI.  While this is a far cry from last year’s 46 HR 121 RBI performance, it bears worth noticing that Pena was suffering from nagging injuries that kept him out of most of June.  Since his return, Pena has averaged a HR every 10 AB’s and is walking quite a bit more.  He has carried this lineup since Evan Longoria’s hand injury and will play a crucial role within this lineup down the home stretch.  Collectors have become disenchanted with his cards, don’t make the same mistake.  the ’99 Bowman Chrome series 2 set features the nicest of his low end RC’s and are readily available in quantities.


Boston Red Sox—85-58 2nd Place A.L East, 1st Place W.C.

 Jon Lester 2006 Bowman Chrome Draft (x10)—$12.50

  • It is really hard to find an under-hyped Red Sox prospect or player.  Lester is not underhyped, and this card is not Lester’s first (2002 Prospect Premieres) nor is it his best.  However, it is one that can be bought for cheap and is available in bulk quantities.  Lester has #1 starter stuff and knows how to win.  His no-hitter this season and return from cancer are compelling stories that will get more play, the more the Sox play.  Lester has an opportunity to move into the #2 spot in the rotation between Beckett and Dice-K if the Sox decide to employ a righty, lefty, righty look to their rotation.  That is a distinct possibility that will allow Lester to pitch more post-season innings, increasing the chances for him to do something special in the national spotlight.


Jed Lowrie 2005 Bowman Chrome Draft (x2)—$7.50

  • Lowrie has all but taken the starting SS job away from Julio Lugo and has proven resilient in his first 200 AB’s.  While Lowrie does not have much power, he is particularly adept at driving in runs, especially in crucial situations.  Ammortized over a 600 AB season, Lowrie would have a Tommy Herr-like 6 HR and 120 RBI.  Clutch hitting during the ’08 playoffs could vault Lowrie into the hearts of Red Sox Nation alongside other young stars like Dustin Pedroia and Jacoby Ellsbury.


Chicago White Sox— 80-62 1st Place A.L. Central


 Gavin Floyd 2002 Bowman Chrome Auto—$12.00

  • The White Sox have been a team that has been bouyed primarily on power hitting offense to keep them atop the heap in the A.L. Central.  Now with MLB HR leader Carlos Quentin on the shelf for the remainder of the year, it is the pitching that must step forward to keep them there.  Gavin Floyd has been a long term package of unfulfilled promise since his days as a number one draft pick with the Philadelphia Phillies.  This year, Floyd has gone a long way to making himself into a number one pitcher for a playoff contender.  Floyd has a 15-6 record, including wins in his last 5 decisions.  The White Sox still have enough offense to match up against any pitching rotation, but their own rotation will be the key in determining if and how far the South Side Boys will go in October.


Paul Konerko 1994 Topps Traded (X10)—$12.50

  • Konerko has had a disasterous ’08 (he killed my fantasy team).  However, since the acquisition of Ken Griffey Jr. and a temporary decrease in AB’s, Paulie has turned things around big time.  He’s batting .367 since the beginning of August with 7 HR (including one in each of the last three games) 15 RBI and 20 BB vs. just 14 K’s.  With Quentin on the shelf, Konerko’s power needs to be present in the middle of the lineup.  So far, he seems up to the task.

Minnesota Twins—78-65 2nd place A.L. Central, 2nd place W.C.

Francisco Liriano 2002 Bowman (X10)—$12.50

  • Perhaps the antithesis to the Chicago White Sox, the Minnesota Twins’ formula for success has been its starting pitching.  Headlining that group is the dominant left arm of ace Francisco Liriano.  Liriano has been perfect since his return from minor league exile winning his last 5 decisions and lowering his ERA an even 8 runs per 9 IP during that stretch.  Liriano is unquestionably the ace of this rotation and has the Twins surging since his return.  The Twins took their sweet time in getting Liriano back into their rotation, let’s hope for their sake that it wasn’t too long.


Kevin Slowey 2005 Bowman Chrome Draft (X10)—$12.50

  • The yin to Liriano’s yang, Slowey offers control and deception from the right hand side of the mound.  Slowey struggled in the early going this year, but has really turned it on going 4-1 in the month of August with 37 K’s and only 2 walks in 37 IP.  Slowey doesn’t have the flash or velocity that most frontline pitchers possess, but he has evolved into a winner who gives quality starts each and every time out.  He will surely be the number two pitcher in the Twins rotation if they play in October.

L.A. Angels—87-56 1st Place A.L. West (Best A.L. record)


 Ervin Santana 2004 Bowman’s Best Auto—$12.00

  • 2008 marks the coming out party for Santana and the end of years of frustration for the L.A. Angels organization.  Santana has shown glimpses of dominance in the past, but this season he has put it all together to be the ace of the Angels’ staff going 15-5 with a 3.32 ERA and 191 K’s vs. only 44 BB.  Santana’s opponents are only hitting .233 off of him, but he has allowed 19 dingers, which may haunt him come playoff time.  The Angels are going far this year, perhaps all the way to the World Series parade.  Don’t be surprised to see Ervin Santana supplant John Lackey as the Angels most used pitcher come playoff time. 


Brandon Wood 2003 UD Prospect Premieres (x2)—$4.50

  • Ugh, I wish I had more money to spend! Brandon Wood is not ready yet, but he is not far from ready to be superstar in this league.  Plate discipline has been his bane, but he is showing signs of figuring things out.  I think that he will be included on the Angels’ post season roster as a bench bat that can provide game changing power late in a game.  We shall see.  regardless, he is on the cusp of being the regular 3B that the Angels have been searching for since the days of Dallas McPherson.


Wow, that was difficult and should provide fodder for great conversation.  Let’s see how it all plays out!


Posted by: portersprospectreport | September 9, 2008

Recent MLB Call-Up #5—Dexter Fowler

Gen Y's version of Eric Davis?

Gen Y's Eric Davis?

Dexter Fowler

I’ve written a few tidbits about the Colorado Rockies phenom and now his time as a major league player has come.  Last season, injuries marred Fowler’s productivity, limiting him to just 65 games in which he hit 2 HR and 23 RBI.  This season, Fowler has been healthy and produced in congruence to his top prospect status.  Though he missed a month playing for the Bronze Medal winning US national team, Fowler hit .335 with 9 HR 64 RBI 92 runs and 20 SB for AA Tulsa.  Additionally, his 65 BB/89 K’s shows that he has an advanced grasp of the strike zone.

Colorado is on the outer fringes of the pennant chase, trailing the L.A. Dodgers by 6 games as of today.  That has limited Fowler’s playing time to just one AB and one awful pinch running experience (he was picked off by Benji Molina). As September rolls on, the Rockies will fall out of the playoff hunt and Fowler will accrue more AB’s.  Additionally, he is slated to participate in the Arizona Fall League.

He reminds me so much of Alexis Rios in body type and athleticism.  His power is not at the level of Rios’ yet, but I am optimistic that this will develop.  Fowler hit 30 doubles and 9 triples this year which shows that he has more power to come.  Additionally, his 6-5 195 lb. frame can easily accept 15-20 more pounds of muscle without drastically impacting his speed.  He is much more refined at the plate, on the basepaths, and defensively than Rios which makes his ceiling precipitously greater.  Dexter has 1st year cards in only one set, 2004 Donruss Elite Extra.  His autographs (#’ed to 643) sell for $35-40 each and his first chrome cards in the 2006 Bowman Chrome Prospects set sell for $1.50-2.00 each. 

Fowler is an All-Star in the making and all of his cards, both spendy and cheap, are great value buys at their current prices.

Posted by: portersprospectreport | September 8, 2008

Recent MLB Callup #6—Kila Ka’aihue

KK more apt to BB

KK more apt to BB


Kila Ka’aihue

What a season it’s been for this guy!  Ka’aihue decimated AA and AAA pitching, hitting .314 with 37 HR and 100 RBI.  Even more impressive were the 104 BB/67 K’s.  Ka’aihue has always controlled the strike zone well and has hit for power, but the nearly 70 point jump in batting average was unexpected.  Thusfar with K.C., Ka’aihue has started one game where he went 1-4 with a run scored.  Kila was added to the 40 man roster not only to assess his skills, but also to protect him from being eligible for the Rule 5 draft. 

Ka’aihue is slated to join the Arizona Fall League where he can continue to prove his worthiness of the 1B position for Kansas City next season.  With only Ryan Shealy and Ross Gload offering competition at 1B, Ka’aihue stands a great shot of earning the starting nod with a solid fall and spring.  Kila’s cards are pretty hot right now and a more valuable sell than buy.  I think he will be a solid MLB player, but I am not quite ready to believe that he will replicate that at the pro level.

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