It feels like just the other day the baseball regular season started. You wrote “I heart baseball” in permanent marker on your arm, then you met a girl who wrote “I heart guys who heart baseball” on her arm, then, during sex in July, you screamed out, “Give it to me, Giancarlo!” and now you don’t have baseball or a girlfriend. C’mon, calendar, make like a soldier and turn to March. The only cure for the post-baseball season blues — recapping the preseason top twenty lists and being hand-fed Doritos. First up, Cool Ranch and our preseason Top 20 Catchers for 2018. It’s important to look back before we look ahead to 2018. To paraphrase the one and only B-Real, “How do you know where you’re at, if you don’t know where you’ve been? Understand where I’m coming from?”  It wouldn’t be fair for me to preseason rank the players, then rank them again in the postseason based on my opinion, so these postseason top 20 lists are ranked according to our Fantasy Baseball Player Rater. It’s cold hard math, y’all! Please, for the love that all is holy, don’t ask me if this is for next year.  Anyway, here’s the top 20 catchers for 2018 fantasy baseball and how they compared to where I originally ranked them:

1. J.T. Realmuto – Catchers are hilarious this year. Not haha hilarious like The Ha! Network, but haha like Nelson Muntz, mock-laughing and pointing. There’s one catcher in the top 90 overall, and only one catcher who returned more than $14. So, if you, say, drafted a catcher before the top 90 or paid more than $14, you got duped, especially since that catcher you drafted was not Jerry Tomato Realmuto. Jerry Tomato to the rest of the catchers, “Let’s go, ketchup!” Also, Jerry Tomato’s stats were, well, yawnstipating for any player who is not a catcher. Barely 20 homers, no real steals, decent but not great batting average.  I think the catchers have taken offense to me saying to punt them every year and have revolted into being revolting. Preseason Rank #3, 2018 Projections: 86/19/58/.283/9 in 521 ABs, Final Numbers:  74/21/74/.277/3 in 477 ABs

2. Yadier Molina – Next year’s catcher rankings:  Y bother.  As in just draft someone with a name starting with Y.  Preseason Rank #6, 2018 Projections: 54/16/67/.266/6 in 472 ABs, Final Numbers:  55/20/74/.261/4 in 459 ABs

3. Yasmani Grandal – How about that preseason worry about Austin Barnes stealing Grandal’s playing time?  Unsubstantiated and unfounded!  Also, something I haven’t mentioned yet but pertains to all the catchers, I wasn’t totally off on my projections, it’s just the catchers sucked so bad that they nearly reached my preseason projections but found themselves about ten rankings spots ahead of where I thought they’d end up, i.e., there was no top catchers this year.  Preseason Rank #15, 2018 Projections: 49/20/64/.249 in 413 ABs, Final Numbers:  65/24/68/.241/2 in 440 ABs

4. Salvador Perez – My Perez ranking and the number one thing they hear in dry cleaners are both ‘spot on.’   Preseason Rank #4, 2018 Projections: 55/26/75/.264 in 510 ABs, Final Numbers:  52/27/80/.235/1 in 510 ABs

5. Evan Gattis – CBS ranked him in the top 20 overall.  If you drafted wearing overalls, you’d be less wrong.  Preseason Rank #16, 2018 Projections: 45/18/58/.249 in 412 ABs, Final Numbers:  49/25/78/.226/1 in 407 ABs

6. Wilson Ramos – His projections vs. end of season rank is just yet another example of how bad the catchers were.  I was expecting more from him, and ranked him later!  Look at how many runs he ended up with, a cold hard WUT.  Thirty-three 1st basemen scored more runs!  Chris Davis of I’M IN RUNNING FOR THE WORST PLAYER OF ALL-TIME scored more runs!  Preseason Rank #7, 2018 Projections: 52/21/68/.254 in 445 ABs, Final Numbers:  39/15/70/.306 in 382 ABs

7. Robinson Chirinos – Uh-oh Chirinos was a top ten catcher.  He wasn’t even owned in more than 15% of leagues!  Preseason Rank #21, 2018 Projections: 41/15/50/.240/1 in 351 ABs, Final Numbers:  48/18/65/.222/2 in 360 ABs

8. Yan Gomes – Illustrative True Story Alert!  In my 15-team league, I was able to grab Gomes off waivers in July.  He’s was better than nearly half of the league’s owned catchers if no one owned two, which was not the case.  And you wonder why I say punt catchers?  You can get a top ten one off waivers midseason.  Preseason Rank #29, 2018 Projections: 36/11/40/.242 in 289 ABs, Final Numbers: 52/16/48/.266 in 403 ABs

9. Willson Contreras – Also, missed on Contreras, but since I told everyone to not draft him, it couldn’t hurt you.  On Contreras specifically, his BABIP from 2017 to 2018 is nearly identical, which means he was unlucky.  He swung and made contact with more pitches outside the zone, so it shouldn’t be surprising his soft contact was in the bottom ten of the league with guys like Hosmer, Billy Hamilton and Eduardo Nunez.  His HR/FB was such a huge drop off it’s like something you’d see from Ryan Braun after being visited by a FedEx delivery man.  Preseason Rank #2, 2018 Projections: 73/24/82/.276/6 in 504 ABs, Final Numbers: 50/10/54/.249/4 in 474 ABs

10. Francisco Cervelli – Totally missed on Cervelli, which means I was off by ten-ish homers.   Or a good week from two outfielders.  Even when you miss on a catcher, if you punt, it can’t hurt you.  Preseason Rank #39, 2018 Projections: 34/3/29/.242/3 in 342 ABs, Final Numbers:  39/12/57/.259/2 in 332 ABs

11. Kurt Suzuki – This guys is right there with Cervelli as guys I just didn’t believe in.  Oh well, winsome, unattractive some.  I’m getting that cliche wrong, aren’t I?  Preseason Rank #35, 2018 Projections: 25/7/28/.277 in 221 ABs, Final Numbers: 45/12/50/.271 in 347 ABs

12. Buster Posey – *insert All-Star Game photo from a few years back of Joe Mauer inadvertently sneezing on Posey*  Oh my God, that’s what happened!  Preseason Rank #5, 2018 Projections: 69/12/80/.309/3 in 509 ABs, Final Numbers: 47/5/41/.284/3 in 398 ABs

13. Gary Sanchez – I’d contend (for a featherweight championship with a bunch of elderly people) that Sanchez was actually much more of a hindrance than a barely top 15 catcher.  You couldn’t drop him, because you paid so much for him.  You paid so much for him you didn’t draft another hitter or pitcher who could’ve actually helped you.  Sanchez was a literal team killer.  Sanchez did you dirty.  Preseason Rank #1, 2018 Projections: 83/30/95/.279/2 in 527 ABs, Final Numbers: 51/18/53/.186/1 in 323 ABs

14. Tucker Barnhart – Not to be confused with *ucker Barnhard from Be Silent, Lambs.  Preseason Rank #38, 2018 Projections: 25/5/38/.267/3 in 353 ABs, Final Numbers: 50/10/46/.248 in 460 ABs

15. Mitch Garver – Can I tell you a true story?  Stop trying to sit on my lap!  Not that kind of story.  It’s a story about Mitch Garver, so a family-friendly story.  I wrote up some of this recap two weeks ago, and, at the time, Garver was ranked 20th overall.  Don’t point this out to say Garver was something special in the final two weeks.  This is to show how whatever some of these players’ stats are that you can leapfrog multiple guys in like ten games.  Preseason Rank Unranked, Final Numbers:  38/7/45/.268 in 302 ABs

16. Jorge Alfaro – I was pretty excited about Alfaro in the preseason, and maybe he would’ve got closer to my optimistic projections if Kapler would’ve played him, or the Phils wouldn’t have replaced him with Ramos.  Definitely outperformed Jorge Alquinoa.  Preseason Rank #10, 2018 Projections: 43/18/61/.232/3 in 507 ABs, Final Numbers: 35/10/37/.262/3 in 344 ABs

17. Elias Diaz –  Look at his numbers.  I’d laugh but I may never catch my breath again.  And with a cursory glance his numbers look better than Posey’s!   Preseason Unranked, Final Numbers: 33/10/34/.286 in 252 ABs

18. Mike Zunino – Nearly every catcher built on their previous season like a wrecking ball builds on a tower of Jenga.  Preseason Rank #9, 2018 Projections: 51/27/69/.217/1 in 446 ABs, Final Numbers: 37/20/44/.201 in 373 ABs

19. Austin Hedges – If you were in a two catcher league, it was best you punted both catchers, not just one, and if your 2nd catcher was as good as Hedges, that’s just terrific.  And also seriously awful.  Preseason Rank #11, 2018 Projections: 41/21/58/.215/3 in 408 ABs, Final Numbers:  29/14/37/.231/3 in 303 ABs

20. Austin Romine – Before you think about how awful Romine was while making the top 20, think about how much worse Lucroy was to not make the top 20!   Preseason Unranked, Final Numbers: 30/10/42/.244/1 in 242 ABs

  1. galica says:
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    Grey!!!

    Very nice catcher right-up!

    a. So true about Lucroy!! He had that one good game after which I really thought about signing him up. Then I decided to stay with Astudillo Willians.

    b. I started out by auto-drafting Hedges with my last pick until he was injured. Had a host of not much until someone dropped Contreras. Thought he was the bomb and kept him until September (missing his 10th HR!!!). Then I just went with schmotatoland – Astudillo, Alfaro, Garver and anyone else out there playing.

    c. Mark Twain quote of the day for October 4

    What a good thing Adam had—when he said a good thing he knew nobody had said it before.

    Cheers,
    Ante

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      @galica: Thanks! A. Astudillo! B. And never looked back! C. Nice

  2. Malicious Phenoms says:
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    We have a DH in the AL for pitchers. Maybe we need a DH so cathers don’t have to bat.

    • bigbear says:
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      @Malicious Phenoms: Why not just DH for any weak hitting player? Pitcher, catcher, or Chris Davis?

      • Chuckles Tiddlesworth says:
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        @bigbear: Suspect MP is kinda kidding. But I agree with your point. DH defenders say “Who wants to see a pitcher bat?” I say “Who wants to see Kyle Schwarber field? Why not just change to fully separate offenses and defenses, like football? The best defenders play the field, the best nine hitters hit.” Idiots!

        • bigbear says:
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          @Chuckles Tiddlesworth: Yeah, and I was kinda kidding too. But I’d rather see a Micah Owings-type pitcher take his cuts instead of the Ozzie Guillen/Rafael Belliard-type hitters take theirs… (Guillen of the .286 career OBP.) Not sure how far down that path I’d go, but why is it that the pitcher is the only one the DH can hit for?

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      @Malicious Phenoms: Haha, they should have a floating DH… You get one DH, can use it for any hitter, just so we know who teams think is their worst hitter

  3. Anodyne says:
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    I play in a ridiculously deep dynasty league that started before the 2018 season. I waited until pick #520 to take a catcher. I took Travis d’Arnaud. My only regret was that I didn’t wait until later to take a catcher.

    • Chuckles Tiddlesworth says:
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      @Anodyne: Ha! I shit you not, the FIRST TWO picks in our NL-only draft were catchers (Contreras, Realmuto — though there were about 50 keepers). I too took d’Arnaud late. Then I got Barnhard off waivers. Won league. Catchers suck!

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      @Anodyne: Totally! I bet Garver went after, right?

      • Anodyne says:
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        @Grey: Oh, yeah, totally! Somebody eventually picked him up, but he went undrafted. After d’Arnaud went down with injury, I streamed catchers all season using Hittertron and ended up with a catcher line of .225/56/13/65/0. So, basically Chirinos.

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          Chirinos as a Frankencatcher is not bad at all!

          • Anodyne says:
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            @Grey: I have the likes of Christian Vázquez, José Briceño, and Manny Piña to thank for my Frankengoodness.

            • Grey

              Grey says:
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              I was actually a little surprised Pina didn’t make the top 20, I owned him in two leagues and didn’t think he was that bad

  4. Big Ticket says:
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    Please forgive me, Grey. I didn’t trust you in my drafts this year and passed on Acuna in the 60s … until he was there at 150! And I just couldn’t bring myself to snag Bauer at 100ish … but finally at 190 I did! Suffice to say, despite my lack of trust, I still dominated thanks in large part to you. Two years in a row now and looking to make it three. Heading into the off-season I have a couple of keeper type questions. 10 team standard roto, keep 4 hitters and 1 pitcher forever at no cost. My most likely keepers are:

    Trout
    JDM
    Acuna
    Turner
    Machado
    Rizzo
    Hoskins
    Suarez
    Bauer

    I’m obviously keeping Trout and Acuna, but then would try to flip JDM and another piece, say Machado, for Mookie. Then my 4 hitters would be Trout, Acuna, Betts, Turner. Then, look at flipping Bauer and any combo of Rizzo, Hoskins, Suarez for maybe Sale?

    So a couple of questions …

    1. Do you like Machado or Turner as a better keeper? I will offer the other guy in the Betts deal
    2. If Mookie’s owner says no, is there anyone else I should be trading for?
    3. On the pitcher side, is Sale the guy I should be targeting or is age/injury starting to be too much of a concern?

    Thanks Grey!

    • bigbear says:
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      @Big Ticket: Those trades sound like a solid plan if they pan out.
      1. Machado for me.
      2. Jose Ramirez – after him you may as well keep Machado.
      3. Target any of the guys with a sub-1.00 WHIP and K/9 > 10 (Sale, Snell or deGrom). In a keep forever, maybe bump Scherzer and Verlander because of age. Full disclosure, I don’t know enough about Sale’s injury this year (velocity impact, etc.). I just haven’t watched enough of his games or looked at his recent stats. But haven’t seen anything to indicate any real concern.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      @Big Ticket: How can we get you to trust me more? 1. Machado — I’d give either for Mookie tho 2. Sure 3. Sale seems fine for 175 IP and good IP, but I don’t go after top SPs — you just said you got Bauer at 190, why do you need Sale?

      • Big Ticket says:
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        @Grey: Ehh, I’m not too sure. You’ve never done me wrong. In fairness, I was sitting on Trout, JDM, Hoskins as my OF, so taking OF4 at 70 seemed like a bad option.

        Lindor and Jo-Ram are on the same team and that owner is unlikely to deal either. If they are off the table (and Mookie is unavailable), who would you target? Or just stay put?

        On the SP side of things, I have to keep 1 SP. I don’t really “need” Sale, but if I have to keep a pitcher and I’m gonna lose some definite top 5o guys, I’d rather flip them for a slight SP gain. I listened to the top 20 podcast and obviously you love Max, but from a keeper standpoint I have my age/health concerns. Is Sale the top target? If not, who would you look for?

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          I like both, Lindor before Jo-Ram — Sale has a harder time staying healthy than Max…I wouldn’t want any top SP tho if I can avoid

          • Big Ticket says:
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            @Grey: My concern is that Lindor, Jo-Ram, and Betts will be unavailable. In that case, do I stand pat with JDM and Machado (which means cutting Turner)? Or is there someone else I could target? Or do I look at cutting JDM to keep Turner and Machado?

            Totally hear you on SP. I don’t want them either. League rules are you have to keep 1 pitcher though … drives me insane, but it’s college buddies so what are you gonna do except keep stealing their money?

            • Grey

              Grey says:
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              Meh, you have two top guys — haha, steal it, Big!

  5. bigbear says:
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    Yadier Molina was the peanut butter in a PBJ sammich… Kinda boring, but kinda good. I’m in an OBP league though, so he’s not quite the second best catcher though. Probably Grandal and he was drafted later in my league… In 2019 Yadier will be 37 though, so I’ll probably steer clear next year unless he’s still on the board in the 18th…

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      @bigbear: PB is the glue of the PBJ! Molina won’t go high next year, so you might be able to get him for a decent price — not that I would

  6. Jeffrey Gilden says:
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    Hey Grey –

    Just wanted to take a moment to thank you for all your help this past year – it got me to a third place finish in one league and a repeat as champion in another. I always appreciate your patience and wisdom, whether you’re talking me off the ledge or validating a decision.

    Have a great off-season!

    Jeff

  7. Gonzo_The_Great says:
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    Yikes what a depressing position. Got to hope for a rebound from Sanchez and/or a big rookie year from Meija next year, otherwise catcher is looking grim for the imminent future.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      @Gonzo_The_Great: Gary should bounce back, and Mejia is sexy… Still, they’re catchers

  8. JakeTPE says:
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    Hi Grey,

    These are the diehards right here. Folks that read catcher recaps!

    I was guilty of asking a few catcher questions this season (Drop Grandal for Hicks? Pick up the serial killer in Ariz? Etc.). Finally settled on Yan Gomes and I guess it worked out as well as I could have hoped.

    The Car Talk guys’ trick about putting electrical tape over the check engine light in your old car seems to apply to catcher as well: just stick some tape over that spot on your monitor and be done with it!

    Still, when the calendar turns to 2019 we’ll all be looking forward to the catcher preview! Get psyched!

    Jake

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      @JakeTPE: I owned Hicks in one league, he was solid for the three weeks he had the eligibility (at least in my league) — Duct tape it, then switch it out every 75 miles!

  9. El Famous Burrito says:
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    JT Realmuto is the Ellen Cleghorne of catchers.

  10. Tom says:
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    I was drafting Diaz in most NFBC DC’s right around pick 50, nobody seemed to want him, he paid a nice dividend considering I avoided catchers in the early rounds.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      @Tom: Yeah, for no payment, not a bad investment

  11. FrankGrimes says:
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    Not Jessica!

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      @FrankGrimes: What? She was lame… I got Nick to win, who you got?

      • FrankGrimes says:
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        @Grey:
        I don’t even know who nick is haha.
        The Mayor Of Slamtown Is my pick. But suspect he won’t.

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          Nick is the country lawyer

          • FrankGrimes says:
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            @Grey:
            Oh right the mason Dixon dude.
            You think Christain has a chance?
            You know that writer?

            • Grey

              Grey says:
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              Mason Dixon! Haha… Worst alliance name ever… Okay, not as bad as The Lavender Ladies. — Mike White? Yes. I wanna be on Survivor so bad.

              BTW, I googled “Christian survivor” and there were a lot of results I wasn’t expecting

              • FrankGrimes says:
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                @Grey:
                Haha.
                You on survivor would be epic . Use your Hollywood pull and make it happen captain.

                • Grey

                  Grey says:
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                  I’ve been trying, Grimey — I know a producer of reality shows and been working her to get on forever — she doesn’t produce survivor tho, which is the problem

  12. LenFuego says:
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    When I read these year-end position recaps, I am always wanting to know who else Grey ranked that did not make the top 20, so to close that loop, here are the other catchers ranked by Grey who did not end up in the top 20 for the year:

    8. Welington Castillo – close to projections, other than being suspended for 1/2 the season
    12. James McCann – probably just missed top 20
    13. Travis d’Arneau – injured for almost the entire season.
    17. Brian McCann
    18. Russell Martin – just awful this season
    19. Chris Iannetta
    20. Tyler Flowers
    22. Alex Avila
    23. Matt Wieters
    24. Christian Vazquez
    25. Martin Maldonado
    26. Chance Si …

    aaaaaand I just threw up a little bit in my mouth. There were more on Grey’s rankings (he ranked 44 catchers!) but I am afraid I do not have the stomach to list them.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Good stuff, thanks! I’d say that if you drafted any of these guys in 95% of leagues, you could’ve switched them out for a lot of the guys that ended up in the top 20

  13. Fantasy Freak says:
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    Hi. I spend more than half of the season without a cather including all playoffs. I won my league.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Haha, yup!

  14. Johnnyhobbes says:
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    Ryu on fire… Also a potential keeper…

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Wish he stayed healthy

  15. SteveNZ says:
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    I won my league – did I mention that? – using Chirinos for most of the season. I guess that tells us something. Quite what, I’m not sure, but I’ve no doubt it’s meaningful.

  16. papasmurf says:
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    Ended up drafting Grandalf for the third straight year (as my backup C lol). Probably gonna end up with him again next year! He seems to slip year after year.

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