As baseball fans interested in learning more about the game, we took a giant step forward with the arrival of Baseball-Reference. It’s hard to remember but there was a time when they did not update stats with the current season until the year was over. We took another step forward with FanGraphs, with all of its advanced statistics. There were others along the way, too, and the goal here is not to slight those sites. Rather, it’s that there’s another great advancement with the Statcast numbers that are now in the public domain.

One of my goals this offseason was to dive into some of the Statcast numbers. Because of my use and familiarity with B-R and FG, the Statcast numbers aren’t as convenient when trying to put together a study. They’re all there – it’s just that you have to do it manually, rather than being able to click on rows and have the numbers calculated, like you can with B-R.

Anyway, for this article, I went thru all of the Statcast box scores for the Mets in September and October and looked for all of the team’s players to produce an exit velocity (EV) of 100 or greater. The decision was made to start with EV because it’s a pretty simple concept. We used to talk about – man, he scorched that ball! Now, we can say, that ball had an EV of 110! Even Keith Hernandez, who used to openly scoff at the numbers, now realizes the value and will cite them during games.

Not all EVs are created equally. You also have to include launch angle in your calculations. A ball with an EV of 107 with a high launch angle has a good chance to be a home run. A ball with that same EV but a low single digit launch angle might easily be an out. In an effort to not make any more numbers than necessary here, launch angle was not recorded. But xBA, which includes launch angle, is here. xBA is calculated using both EV and launch angle and comparing it to historic numbers with those two inputs.

Pulling numbers out of the air – if a ball has a 100 EV and a 15-degree launch angle, Statcast goes back and compares all balls hit with those same numbers and calculates an expected batting average. The idea is that xBA takes out defense and ballpark and instead looks at the skill level of the hitter. In a way, it’s similar to FIP. Regardless, the thing to remember is that it’s possible that a player can hit the ball with the EV and launch angle that has an xBA of .980 and still make an out. It’s overwhelmingly unlikely, but not impossible.

The Mets had 194 balls hit in what we call the final month of the season with an EV of 100 or greater. It’s too much to include all 194 in one chart. So, will break it down to five charts – four with 39 players and the final one with 38. Here are the 39 balls with the highest EV for the Mets in September:

Date Player EV Result xBA
9/9/22 Pete Alonso 115.6 HR .920
9/7/22 Pete Alonso 113.3 double .640
9/19/22 Pete Alonso 113.1 HR 1.000
9/7 G2 Pete Alonso 112.5 single .310
9/13/22 Pete Alonso 112.4 HR 1.000
10/5/22 Mark Vientos 111.9 single .520
9/25/22 Pete Alonso 110.6 HR 1.000
9/14/22 Pete Alonso 109.7 HR .870
9/19/22 Tyler Naquin 109.6 single .210
9/15/22 Daniel Vogelbach 109.1 double .760
9/7 G2 Daniel Vogelbach 109.1 single .850
9/7/22 Pete Alonso 109 single .650
9/3/22 Eduardo Escobar 108.9 HR 1.000
10/4 G2 Francisco Alvarez 108.9 HR 1.000
9/1/22 Francisco Lindor 108.6 single .190
9/15/22 Mark Vientos 108.5 single .480
9/20/22 Pete Alonso 108.3 HR .930
9/7 G2 James McCann 108.1 single .860
10/4 G2 Francisco Alvarez 107.8 double .670
9/7/22 Eduardo Escobar 107.8 HR .980
9/25/22 Francisco Lindor 107.6 single .510
9/11/22 Brandon Nimmo 107.6 HR .970
9/7/22 Francisco Lindor 107.5 out .240
10/1/22 Pete Alonso 107.4 single .420
9/25/22 Mark Vientos 107.4 out .480
10/5/22 James McCann 107.4 single .640
9/25/22 Tyler Naquin 107.4 single .840
9/10/22 Darin Ruf 107.3 out .540
9/15/22 Francisco Lindor 107.3 HR .940
10/4 G2 James McCann 107.1 out .310
9/1/22 Pete Alonso 107 out .570
9/1/22 Francisco Lindor 107 double .640
9/2/22 Mark Canha 107 Double .900
9/6/22 Brandon Nimmo 107 HR .960
10/5/22 Mark Canha 107 HR .960
9/19/22 Brandon Nimmo 106.9 out .200
10/5/22 Mark Vientos 106.9 out .390
9/13/22 Eduardo Escobar 106.8 out .760
9/3/22 James McCann 106.7 out .900

In what should come as a shock to no one, Alonso had the five-highest EVs for the team. But in perhaps a bit of a surprise, Vientos broke the monopoly with a ball hit 111.9 mph. An indication of how important it is to hit the ball hard are the results we find in this chart. The top 22 hardest-hit balls all resulted in hits, including 10 HR. The ball with the highest EV that resulted in an out was Lindor’s ball with an EV of 107.5 on 9/7. But that ball had an xBA of just .240, so it’s not a surprise that it resulted in an out.

Here’s how it broke down by player:

11 – Alonso
5 – Lindor
4 – McCann, Vientos
3 – Escobar, Nimmo
2 – Alvarez, Canha, Naquin, Vogelbach
1 – Ruf

It was quite a shock to me that McCann had four of the 39-highest EVs in September. And it’s encouraging to see Alvarez and Vientos on here, too. Alonso hit the ball 93 times in September, meaning he had an EV of 106.7 or more 12% of the time. Alvarez hit the ball eight times, giving him an EV of 106.7 or greater 25% of the time. The numbers for Vientos are 24 and 17%, respectively.

Date Player EV Result xBA
9/4/22 Starling Marte 106.5 out .690
9/6/22 Francisco Lindor 106.4 out .230
9/6/22 Brandon Nimmo 106.1 out .250
9/7/22 Francisco Lindor 106.1 out .540
9/1/22 James McCann 106.1 out .550
9/2/22 Starling Marte 106 out .540
9/7 G2 Tyler Naquin 106 out .570
10/5/22 Francisco Lindor 106 double .610
9/19/22 Brandon Nimmo 106 triple .840
9/24/22 Mark Vientos 106 HR .950
9/7/22 Brandon Nimmo 105.9 single .360
9/7/22 Tyler Naquin 105.9 HR .880
9/9/22 Eduardo Escobar 105.8 out .560
9/2/22 Pete Alonso 105.8 HR .630
9/11/22 Tomas Nido 105.7 HR .700
10/2/22 Daniel Vogelbach 105.7 HR .700
9/10/22 Francisco Lindor 105.7 HR .810
9/21/22 Tyler Naquin 105.7 double .940
9/28/22 Eduardo Escobar 105.6 HR .890
10/2/22 Brandon Nimmo 105.5 out .420
9/24/22 Pete Alonso 105.5 out .550
10/5/22 James McCann 105.5 HR .730
9/17/22 Eduardo Escobar 105.5 HR .890
9/14/22 Brandon Nimmo 105.4 error .260
9/7/22 Tyler Naquin 105.4 out .400
9/9/22 Mark Canha 105.3 out .820
9/28/22 Eduardo Escobar 105.2 single .280
9/20/22 Pete Alonso 105.1 out .140
10/4 G2 Francisco Lindor 105.1 HR .650
9/7/22 Eduardo Escobar 104.9 single .690
9/2/22 Brandon Nimmo 104.6 out .520
9/4/22 Eduardo Escobar 104.5 single .780
10/2/22 Francisco Lindor 104.4 out .090
9/4/22 Daniel Vogelbach 104.4 out .290
9/20/22 Francisco Lindor 104.4 HR .710
9/15/22 Jeff McNeil 104.3 single .890
9/18/22 Francisco Lindor 104.1 single .340
9/6/22 Tyler Naquin 104.1 out .620
9/3/22 Pete Alonso 104.1 out .630

In our second batch, we see the first eight all resulted in outs. It was particularly tough for McCann, who made an out on a ball hit with an xBA of .900 – ouch. In all, there were 20 hits and 19 outs in this grouping. And 11 of the 20 hits were home runs.

Lindor led the way with eight entries on this second list.

Date Player EV Result xBA
10/4/22 Brandon Nimmo 104.1 HR .790
9/10/22 Eduardo Escobar 104.1 HR .840
10/1/22 Tomas Nido 104 out .490
9/7/22 Tomas Nido 104 double .620
9/7 G2 Tyler Naquin 104 out .710
9/4/22 Brandon Nimmo 104 single .750
9/20/22 Mark Vientos 103.8 out .380
9/3/22 Darin Ruf 103.8 out .620
9/12/22 Eduardo Escobar 103.8 triple .720
9/6/22 James McCann 103.8 single .840
9/30/22 Francisco Lindor 103.7 out .380
9/28/22 Tomas Nido 103.6 double .840
10/1/22 Jeff McNeil 103.6 single .890
9/23/22 James McCann 103.5 out .320
9/1/22 Darin Ruf 103.4 out .250
9/12/22 James McCann 103.4 single .320
9/13/22 Mark Vientos 103.4 out .520
9/19/22 Daniel Vogelbach 103.4 double .530
9/7 G2 Francisco Lindor 103.4 double .730
9/11/22 Brandon Nimmo 103.4 double .740
9/2/22 Pete Alonso 103.3 out .210
9/25/22 Tyler Naquin 103.3 out .770
10/4/22 Tomas Nido 103.2 out .600
9/10/22 Mark Canha 103.2 HR .760
9/16/22 Eduardo Escobar 103.1 double .470
10/4 G2 Jeff McNeil 103.1 HR .760
9/7/22 Brandon Nimmo 102.9 out .640
9/14/22 Tomas Nido 102.9 HR .700
9/23/22 Mark Canha 102.8 double .670
9/7 G2 Daniel Vogelbach 102.7 out .250
9/4/22 Jeff McNeil 102.7 single .880
9/18/22 Tomas Nido 102.7 single .880
9/7 G2 Mark Canha 102.7 double .890
9/21/22 Francisco Lindor 102.6 out .650
9/30/22 Tomas Nido 102.6 HR .760
9/2/22 Mark Canha 102.6 single .840
10/1/22 Brandon Nimmo 102.5 out .480
9/16/22 Daniel Vogelbach 102.5 HR .770
9/1/22 James McCann 102.4 double .450

Naquin hit into some bad luck here. He had balls hit with an xBA of .710 and .770 that were both turned into outs. Seven of the 24 hits in this group were homers, including two by Nido

Speaking of Nido, he led this grouping with seven balls hit between 102.4 and 104.1 mph.

Date Player EV Result xBA
9/2/22 Brandon Nimmo 102.4 triple .490
10/1/22 Brandon Nimmo 102.4 single .500
10/4/22 Tomas Nido 102.4 single .810
10/5/22 Mark Vientos 102.3 single .270
9/24/22 Pete Alonso 102.3 HR .600
9/3/22 Starling Marte 102.3 single .930
9/11/22 Mark Vientos 102.2 out .090
9/24/22 Francisco Lindor 102.2 single .630
9/13/22 Luis Guillorme 102.2 single .810
9/18/22 Pete Alonso 102.1 out .270
10/4 G2 Brandon Nimmo 102.1 double .480
9/18/22 Mark Canha 102.1 out .560
9/12/22 Eduardo Escobar 102 out .200
9/7/22 Mark Canha 102 out .530
9/25/22 Tomas Nido 102 double .530
9/12/22 Francisco Lindor 102 HR .630
9/12/22 Pete Alonso 101.9 single .300
10/4/22 Brandon Nimmo 101.9 double .570
9/17/22 Eduardo Escobar 101.8 single .480
9/7 G2 Pete Alonso 101.8 out .520
9/11/22 Eduardo Escobar 101.8 HR .700
10/2/22 Eduardo Escobar 101.8 single .810
9/19/22 Mark Canha 101.7 out .310
10/5/22 Tyler Naquin 101.7 out .310
9/13/22 James McCann 101.7 out .480
9/2/22 Eduardo Escobar 101.7 HR .630
9/13/22 Jeff McNeil 101.6 single .250
9/16/22 Brandon Nimmo 101.6 out .250
10/1/22 Brandon Nimmo 101.6 out .630
9/25/22 Pete Alonso 101.6 double .680
9/23/22 Brandon Nimmo 101.6 single .690
9/9/22 Eduardo Escobar 101.6 single .740
9/14/22 Darin Ruf 101.6 single .810
9/23/22 Francisco Lindor 101.5 single .520
10/2/22 Jeff McNeil 101.5 HR .600
9/10/22 Eduardo Escobar 101.5 double .650
9/19/22 Francisco Lindor 101.5 single .810
10/4/22 Francisco Lindor 101.4 out .310
9/21/22 Jeff McNeil 101.4 out .400

Earlier, we saw Alonso hit a HR on a ball with an xBA of 1.000 – meaning possibly that it was a ball that was going to go out in any park. This time he had a HR on a ball with an xBA of .600, so it’s safe to say that one wouldn’t have been out in every park.

Nimmo and Escobar pace this grouping with seven hits apiece.

Date Player EV Result xBA
9/10/22 Francisco Lindor 101.4 double .640
10/4 G2 Mark Canha 101.4 single .730
10/2/22 James McCann 101.3 out .180
9/7/22 Francisco Lindor 101.3 out .400
9/13/22 Jeff McNeil 101.3 out .470
9/14/22 Eduardo Escobar 101.2 out .320
10/4 G2 Jeff McNeil 101.2 out .680
9/13/22 Francisco Lindor 101.1 out .560
10/2/22 Mark Canha 101.1 single .920
9/23/22 Eduardo Escobar 101 out .450
9/2/22 Eduardo Escobar 100.9 out .040
10/1/22 Francisco Lindor 100.9 out .180
9/10/22 James McCann 100.9 double .400
9/24/22 Luis Guillorme 100.9 single .890
9/21/22 Luis Guillorme 100.8 out .410
9/7 G2 Jeff McNeil 100.8 single .920
10/5/22 Francisco Lindor 100.7 out .270
9/20/22 Mark Canha 100.7 single .640
9/13/22 Jeff McNeil 100.7 single .770
9/9/22 Brandon Nimmo 100.6 out .290
9/25/22 Tyler Naquin 100.6 out .290
9/20/22 James McCann 100.6 out .300
9/11/22 Tomas Nido 100.6 single .770
9/27/22 Brandon Nimmo 100.4 out .250
9/27/22 Pete Alonso 100.3 HR .410
9/23/22 Jeff McNeil 100.3 single .440
10/4/22 Tyler Naquin 100.3 out .450
9/23/22 Jeff McNeil 100.3 double .500
9/11/22 Tomas Nido 100.3 double .700
10/4/22 Brandon Nimmo 100.2 single .370
9/30/22 Francisco Alvarez 100.2 out .410
9/23/22 Mark Vientos 100.2 double .680
9/17/22 James McCann 100.1 out .170
9/14/22 Mark Canha 100.1 single .270
9/15/22 Jeff McNeil 100.1 out .500
9/16/22 Luis Guillorme 100.1 single .650
9/13/22 Pete Alonso 100 out .010
9/21/22 Francisco Lindor 100 double .570

There was just one homer in this last grouping, by Alonso with a 100.3 EV. This was not the lowest EV for a homer in September, as at least Nimmo hit one with an EV in the 98 range. There were more outs (20) than hits (18) in this last grouping. McNeil ran into an out on a ball with an xBA of .680, which was quite the contrast to the out by Alonso that had a .010 xBA. McNeil had the most appearances on this list with seven.

Without bogging this down with another chart, here were the appearances of players on all 194 balls hit in September with an EV of 100 or greater:

27 – Lindor
24 – Nimmo
23 – Alonso
22 – Escobar
15 – McCann
14 – Canha, McNeil
12 – Naquin, Nido
10 – Vientos
7 – Vogelbach
4 – Guillorme, Ruf
3 – Alvarez, Marte

It’s a bit surprising that Alonso didn’t lead the way but he wasn’t far from the lead. And it might be a bit comforting to know that if the Carlos Correa deal doesn’t end up happening, that Escobar showed in September that there was still plenty of life left in his bat. McCann’s performance is shocking. He hit the ball 38 times and 15 of them had an EV of 100 or greater, which means that 39% of his balls were hit this hard. Maybe there’s still life in his bat, too. Good luck to the Orioles finding out.

Finally, let’s break this down by xBA, showing how many hits Mets players got:

Under .199: 1-9 — .111
.200s: 5-21 — .230
.300s: 6-16 — .375
.400s: 10-23 — .435
.500s: 9-24 — .375
.600s: 23-32 — .719
.700s: 22-25 — .880
.800s: 24-25 — .960
.900s: 12-14 — .857
1.000: 5-5 – 1.000

When the Mets hit a ball in September with an EV of 100 or greater, they were 117-194, which works out to a .603 AVG. Not too shabby. They hit in some bad luck with the 24 balls hit for an xBA in the .500s and the 14 balls hit with an xBA in the .900s. But that was more than made up for in the better-than-expected outcomes on the 32 balls hit in the .600s, 25 in the .700s and the 25 in the .800s

12 comments on “Deep dive on the 194 times the Mets had a ball with a 100 or greater EV in September

  • Jimmy P

    Yes, was aware that McCann’s EV numbers were very good.

    It’s funny, because it’s the kind of data we all wished we had long ago. We see Piazza and say, “Nobody hits the ball harder.” That was the proof of his talent.

    But launch angle, as you note, is also critically important.

    And what about placement? Jeff McNeil led the NL in batting average and his “hard hit” rate is, I’m pretty sure, below average.

    Separating the signal from the noise has never been more important, because we are flooded with data, a lot of it without context or meaning.

    • Brian Joura

      According to his Baseball Savant page, McNeil was in the 8th percentile in HrdHit% – can’t get much lower than that.

      But he’s in the 62nd percentile in max EV, so it’s not like he doesn’t have the ability to hit the ball hard. Rather, he chooses often not to do so. I’ve had this discussion with ChrisF, where he essentially says that McNeil is so good with how he’s performing now, why would you want to tinker with that?

      But I think McNeil could follow in the footsteps of Daniel Murphy and look to pull the ball – and hit it harder – rather than just being content to flick the ball the other way.

      My hope is that with the new shift rules that McNeil will pay less attention to where the infielders are playing and more attention on where the outfielders are set up.

  • ChrisF

    hope you’re feeling better Brian. I was sick all last week too, and in the matter of 3 weeks managed to dodge covid twice.

    Thanks for this exhaustive data compilation and reduction. I think the notion of hit the ball hard and success will follow is a maxim to live by. As every microsecond of ball movement comes into play, I think that there will be finally data collected to achieve more definitive causality gradually replacing correlation. It amazing to see how all this continues to grow, and just what teams do to make the most of pure objectivity in the context of a purely subjective human endeavor.

    One thing about exit velocity and launch angle is that not all launch angles are created the same, nor will resultant EVs and outcomes.

    At its heart, LA is simply the angle of initial ball flight after bat contact. That said, things are not as easy as that given that we have a spherical ball making contact with a cylindrical bat. The best point of contact occurs when the midline of the ball hits the midline of the bat, transferring the most energy, and velocity to the exiting ball. The batter controls a key aspect of this, which is the bat path. The longer the path stays in the plane of the pitched ball, the more likely there is for contact, and hard contact. However a level swing is likely to produce the hardest hut ball, but at lower launch angles. High launch angles happen when the ball hits above the midline of the bat, but there is less energy translated to the ball exit velocity.

    By contrast, an upper cut bat path can make intense contact with the pitched ball and lead to high exit velocities associated with home runs. The counter point to this approach is that the bat path spends less time in the plane of the ball, leading to a lot of swing-miss events.

    So while there is a lot of interest in the actual launch angle, really the best measure is not the raw angle at the instant of contact, but the angle between bat bath and launch. An upper cut swing with a high launch angle really has a low angle between bat path and ball flight angle.

    I’d really like to see LA and EV move past the point of contact info, and include swing data including bat mass, swing velocity, and swing angle.

    Keep the data coming!!

    • Brian Joura

      It’s amazing that MLB has allowed this to be in the public domain. So often we criticize MLB for its missteps but rarely do we credit the org when it does something right. Having this Statcast data available to everyone is a great move on MLB’s part. It allows people to better understand and become more passionate about the game.

      As for your specific issues – I can’t make an intelligent case against it. But I don’t think you can make the case for it, either. I made the comparison to FIP and with that stat, people were able to point out where it fell short, specifically with knuckleball pitchers. Where do you think the current model of LA/EV/xBA is falling short? Who are the hitters who are being “cheated” or unnecessarily “promoted” with the current system?

  • MikeW

    So Brian, when are you going to write a book ?

  • T.J.

    Tremendous piece. Numbers supporting the traditional eye test. And, as the players and teams have known for quite some time, this evidence unfortunately supports the elevated strikeouts, regardless of how much it ruffles us old fans who were raised on “shorten up” with two strikes. Now it’s simply swing hard in case you hit it. Every. Single. Time… Almost.

    McCann is the case study of the guy that can crush it when and if he makes contact. But, his inability to make regular contact combined with his inability to elevate has killed his offensive game. He is a frustrating case because he has the bat speed in most cases. A minor tweak could get him back to the .700+ OPS level, but I can’t blame the Mets for moving on and adding a LH batting option at C.

    • Brian Joura

      Absolutely – you can’t ignore the ability to make consistent contact. It brings to mind the old maxim on fast guys and stolen bases — you can’t steal first base.

      I do think there’s something to the percentage of balls that are hit that make loud contact, however we want to define it. I defined it here as 100 EV but maybe a better definition is 93 or 95 or some other number. It would be a whole lot easier if we could query the data, rather than having to go thru each individual box score

  • NYM6986

    Lots to consider from a new perspective. Having seen Aaron Judge hit a ball out as quickly as he does, would have to believe that both his bat speed and launch angle are elevated above the average player. Felt the same way in the first year that Cespedes was with us and how fast some of his balls left the yard. Harder hit balls, even without a great launch angle, should have a better chance of being a hit, and I believe your stats back that up. Interesting thought on elevating the angle might lead to more swings and misses which seems like where you find a player trying to HRs and not concentrating on making solid contact and letting the rest just happen. Lenny Dykstra came to SP in 1987 all jacked on steroids and thought he was a home run hitter instead of a table setter. Oops. Too bad McCann did not get a few breaks and hit at an acceptable rate because I liked his game calling and his throws down to 2B. Anything close to his hitting at his last stop would have made his acquisition a bargain. So much for the woulda-coulda-shoulda of buying one thing and getting another. As far as you’re book title, perhaps “The Joura has reached a verdict on the Mets.”

    • MikeW

      How about Jourassic Park.

      • Metsense

        Monumental research with great analysis. Thanks. I hope you’re feeling better.
        McNeil is an enigma. Does he want to be a 2019 version of himself with a bWAR 5.1 and oWAR 4.6 or his 2022 batting championship version with a 5.7 bWAR and a oWAR 5.1? On paper it looks like 2022 was a better year. If there wasn’t a rule change it should a no-brainer for him to continue his approach but in 2023 he won’t have as much of the holes in the opposite field that he utilized in 2022. Therefore, in theory, he won’t get those flick hits. He will have the the hole in short right field in 2023 so he should pull the ball more often. It might result into more hard hit balls and more homeruns. Instead of being in the competition for only a batting crown, he might be considered in the discussion for the MVP.
        Alsono with his hard ball rate should have a better batting average. Piazza had a career .308 BA. Is it just bad luck for Alsonso?
        McCann was a surprise.

        • Brian Joura

          McNeil only really pulled the ball for 2 months back in 2019 so I’m not sure it’s fair just to compare the raw WAR totals and come to any conclusions.

          The Alonso-Piazza comparison is very interesting. In three of his four seasons in the majors, Alonso has a BABIP between .274 – .280, with the exception being the Covid year in 2020 when it was just .242 in 239 PA.

          Piazza had a lifetime .314 BABIP and from 1993-1998, he never had a mark lower than .322 in the category. He also had a better K% than Alonso, but we should acknowledge that Pete has made really nice strides in that department.

  • TexasGusCC

    I also applaud the work and see some interesting numbers. When JD Davis was traded to San Francisco while he was leading the NL in EV, I was very upset. In fact, his slugging took the biggest jump from .369 to .496, giving him an OPS+ of 140 after being at 97 with the Mets. Now, I feel the Mets made the same mistake with McCann. While I never knew just how well, I did see him putting better wood on balls in September and didn’t like the clearance price they put on him. The Braves look for good deals and the Mets look to jettison players because we believe they can’t excel on the Mets. Well, I know that Baltimore is a haven for right handed hitters and Citifield was a morgue for them, but as 6986 said, McCann looked good in other areas but the results weren’t happening and it did make sense to get a lefty hitting catcher. I would have offered up Nido or McCann – whomever brings the most back – and maybe the Mets did this, maybe they hung onto Nido thinking he could communicate better with Alvarez. Either way, Alvarez is the future.

    Funny having Vientos in limited at bats have as much as Vogelbach and Ruf combined. Sad, actually.

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