Tag: Tyler Colvin

Tyler Colvin: What He Brings to the San Francisco Giants

On Saturday, the San Francisco Giants agreed to a deal with outfielder Tyler Colvin, according to Alex Pavlovic of the San Jose Mercury News. The deal is pending a physical, and the contract is a minor-league deal, according to the San Francisco Chronicle‘s Henry Schulman.

Colvin has reportedly earned a spot in big league camp as a non-roster invitee with a chance to compete for the fifth outfield spot, though he has his work cut out for him after suffering through a rough 2013 season marred by injuries and poor performance.

Indeed, Colvin is coming off a season in which he batted just .160 in 75 at bats with the Colorado Rockies, but don’t let that fool you. In 2012, he batted .290 with a solid .858 OPS in 452 plate appearances, his best season to date.

Colvin has also shown a propensity for power hitting in the past. He blasted 20 homers in just 358 at bats in 2010, his rookie season, and averages a home run every 22.9 at bats for his career. He also has solid gap-hitting ability, as indicated by his 10 triples in 2012 and above-average .454 career slugging percentage.

In my estimation, Colvin will see playing time primarily, if not entirely, against right-handed pitching. The lefty has a career .781 OPS against righties, which is certainly nothing to scoff at, but that number drops to .640 against lefties. He could prove valuable in pinch-hitting opportunities against right-handed relievers.

However, that’s assuming Colvin makes the big league club. He’ll have to put on quite a show during spring training, otherwise the most likely outlook for him is to begin the season in Triple-A. At the very least, he’ll provide an upgrade over the options the Giants had last season when their starting outfielders faltered. (Roger Kieschnick, anyone?)

Despite decent prior success, Colvin won’t work any miracles for the Giants. He’ll add some much-needed outfield depth, but not much else. He lacks discipline at the plate (career .289 OBP, 4.4 K/BB ratio) and he doesn’t play the field particularly well (career -3.3 UZR, per FanGraphs). There’s also little chance he’ll return to his 2012 level of performance because he had a batting average on balls in play (BABIP) of .364 that year, according to FanGraphs, which is 72 points higher than his career average.

That number came back down to earth last season, when Colvin struggled mightily. Unless he gets lucky again in 2014, or makes a change to his approach at the plate, he won’t approach a .290 average.

Perhaps Colvin will prove otherwise, but it appears the Giants have picked up another backup outfielder who will provide little more than some extra competition for the No. 5 outfield spot.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Fantasy Baseball 2011: Top Not-Obvious Sleepers By Position

If you are a fantasy baseball avid, over the next few weeks leading up to your draft, you will likely read more “Top Ten Sleepers for 2011” or “Under the Radar Players to Watch Out For This Year” articles than ‘Useful Financial Advice’ or ‘Finance for Dummies’ articles Brian Cashman or Al Davis will read. Although, on that note, everyone in America would be well-served to read some of those articles. Anyway…sleepers. What are they? What does the term sleeper mean? How young or inexperienced does a player have to be to be considered a sleeper? Well, let me answer those questions:


My unofficial, purely opinionated, but still useful definition of sleeper eligibility: If 30 percent or fewer of your league has this player on their sleeper radar, he can be considered a sleeper. If any more have him on their lists, he’s immediately ineligible.


To sum it up, Matt LaPorta is not a sleeper this year…neither is Andrew McCutchen…If LaPorta is on your list of sleepers, you probably don’t look deep enough into rosters to find real sleepers. If Miguel Cabrera is on your list of sleepers, this would be a good time for you to save yourself some frustration in 2011 by quitting your league.


Some people will contend that anyone can be a sleeper. For example, let’s take Dustin Pedroia. Everyone knows him and everyone knows he will be good. However, you think he’ll be the top hitter overall in 2011. (This is a hypothetical situation, but if you are reading this paragraph and thinking to yourself: “Oh hey, here’s someone else who thinks Pedroia will be the best hitter in 2011”, see my advice above for people with Miguel Cabrera on their sleeper lists.) Some people will say that this makes Pedroia a sleeper in your mind. In other words, they believe a sleeper to be someone who they think will exceed the general public’s projection. Well, those players are more accurately called “underrated players.” They are well known, thus they are not players that will slip passed anyone’s radar and fall into your lap.


Now that we have established the definition of sleeper eligibility (If not, that was probably a waste of four paragraphs), let’s examine what flags to look for when choosing your sleepers. First, and most importantly, is potential. You can have all the playing time, surrounding hitters, etc., but if you don’t have potential you’ll just end up like Skip Schumaker. (In fairness to Skip, he was a useful second baseman in many 30 team NL only leagues).

Second flag: playing time. There is nothing more frustrating than a player dripping with potential held back by playing time…on second thought, there are actually a lot of things more frustrating. Regardless, playing time is key. Playing time can come in many ways; through injury, trades, or simply earning a starting spot.

Third flag: surrounding players. You have to feel bad for Rajai Davis; he scored merely 66 runs despite hitting .284 and stealing 50 bases. (He can thank his “power hitters” who were supposed to drive him in. That’s you Jack Cust and Kevin Kouzmanoff. On second thought, blame whoever believed those two would drive anyone in and refused to trade for somebody who could drive in runs). There are other flags to look for, however these are the three major flags to be aware of. Now, let’s move on to the sleepers at last.



(Drum roll, suspenseful music, anything else that would stimulate a dramatic aura)

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MLB Rumors: Hisashi Iwakuma and 10 Under-the-Radar Names Who Could Impact 2011

Every year after following all of the off-season trades, baseball fans and managers are always on the lookout for specific individuals who will wind up being impact players.

They could be prospects, rookies or even a player who has been seemingly on the slide the last couple of years, all thanks to some new digs and a new approach in mechanics.

I’d like to take a look at some players who I feel could make an impact in 2011. As always, if there is a player who you think should be mentioned, leave a comment below, and perhaps why you feel they could be an impact player in 2011.

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Fantasy Baseball Injury News: Whose Season May Be Over?

There has been a lot of news as of late regarding players being shut down for the rest of the season (and others who we aren’t quite sure about). 

Let’s take a look at a few of the names that influence fantasy owners.


Geovany Soto, Chicago Cubs

Shoulder surgery brought his renaissance campaign to a bitter conclusion as he hit .280 with 17 HRs, 53 RBI, and 47 runs on the year.

He is likely going to be replaced in the lineup by Koyie Hill, who doesn’t offer much upside for fantasy owners, even those in two-catcher formats. 

Soto should be fine for spring training and should be a starting option at a weak position entering the season.

Josh Hamilton, Texas Rangers

He has two fractured ribs, but if he can endure the pain, he can play through the injury. It’s actually hard to imagine him not getting into a game before the season comes to an end, as he hasn’t played since September 4 and the team is going to want him ready for the postseason. 

Going through that lengthy of a layoff and then being thrust back into the biggest stage would be awfully difficult. Still, it’s hard for fantasy owners to trust him at this point. 

It’s a big loss with fantasy championships on the line, but just stash him on your bench.

Tyler Colvin, Chicago Cubs

He suffered an injury after being hit in the chest with a broken bat. 

He put up a surprisingly strong rookie campaign, hitting .254 with 20 HRs, 56 RBI, 60 runs and six SBs.

You should be able to find someone on the waiver wire, but he will certainly have potential value next season in a five-outfielder format.

Coco Crisp, Oakland Athletics

He suffered a broken pinkie; just the latest in what feels like a never-ending list of injuries. 

He’ll likely miss the remainder of the season, putting a kink in the plans of owners trying to make a run in stolen bases.

Andrew Bailey, Oakland Athletics

He has soreness in his elbow and will be meeting with Dr. James Andrews to get checked out. 

That’s never a good sign, but for now owners need to simply hope that there isn’t a major problem and he is able to be ready for 2011. Unfortunately, 2010 seems like a lost cause. 

For those desperate for saves, Michael Wuertz and Craig Breslow are the most likely candidates to replace him.

Gavin Floyd, Chicago White Sox

He was pulled from his last start with tightness in his shoulder and now buried in the AL Central race, the White Sox really have no reason to push him. 

It’s unlikely he makes another start so look for another option to fill out your staff.

What are your thoughts on these players?

Make sure to check out Rotoprofessor’s early 2011 Rankings:


Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Ashes To Ashes: Is It Time for a Maple Bat Moratorium?

Eric Byrnes/Miguel Olivo – August 2006 

Don Long/Nate McLouth – April 2008

Todd Helton/Susan Rhodes – April 2008

Miguel Olivo/Brian O’ Nora – June 2008

Mike Napoli/Brad Ziegler – August 2010

Welington Castillo/Tyler Colvin – September 2010

The names and dates above link to six separate, highly publicized incidents in which broken or shattered maple bats have hit and or injured persons at an MLB game, both those on the playing field and off it.  In the most recent case, Colvin, a Chicago Cubs rookie playing in his first full season, was struck in the chest by the sharp end of Castillo’s bat and ended up with a wound that will prevent him from playing in any further action this year.  The injuries sustained by Long, O’Nora (pictured) and Rhodes were considerably more horrifying than Colvin‘s, but in spite of maple’s notoriety for emulating a cruise missile with Frisbee rotation, there has yet to be any action taken by the league.  I know I’m far from the first person to bring this up, but here’s what people aren’t talking about: it’s almost a certainty that the situation will get worse before it gets better.  According to an official quoted in the Byrnes/Olivo article, it would take years to end the production and use of maple bats if commissioner Bud Selig were to put the kibosh on them after this season. Here’s the 2006 quote from Chuck Schupp, an employee for the company that makes Louisville Sluggers:

Schupp, in his 24th year with Hillerich & Bradsby and the liaison between the company and the players, said he recently warned MLB not to make a hasty decision on eliminating maple.

“I told Major League Baseball if they say maple bats can’t be used anymore, do not do it until late 2008 or 2009,” Schupp said. “We already ordered everything for next year. You’ve got to cut the wood, dry it, process it. I can’t call the lumber mill and say I need 10,000 ash bats.”

Do the math and you see that maple will still be terrorizing ball fields for at least another 3 years; with a possible maple extermination looming, veterans will be racing to use whatever maple is still left in production at the time of decree.  That said, at least there is something being done – certain maple bats were banned in the minor leagues this year, and bat specifications were tweaked to promote bat strength.  It seems that the MLB is trying to root out the problem by applying the rules to all who have yet to make a 40-man roster, but the rule needs to be clarified considerably. An example: if a player spends his entire time in the minor leagues hitting with an ash bat, and then gets called up and wants to use a maple bat, can he? Sure, you would guess he would stick with what works, but if he thinks maple gives him added power over the contact he felt using an ash bat, wouldn’t he use it? More importantly, anyone who has already made it to The Show has free reign to use whatever they like, so the present rule would not completely eradicate the existence of maple until all of the players who debuted last year finish their careers. 

The unknown entity here is the stance of the MLB Players’ Association, which will most likely seek to retain the maple bats in spite of their dangers so that it can provide the best competitive advantage to the players who are members of the union.  As someone who owns a maple bat, I understand that perspective completely – maple seems sturdier and solid contact feels more pure than the same swing made with an ash bat.  The real issue, as McLouth pointed out, might be more psychological at this point, given how particular players are about the equipment they use; after all, this is the superstition-fraught sport that gave us Pedro Cerrano.

At the same time, there are extenuating circumstances here that say otherwise. When Colvin was struck, he was running in foul territory while watching to make sure the ball Castillo hit was not caught – he did not have any reason to think he was in danger of bodily harm, being that he was not in the field of play and not near the ball.  Had he run just a little bit faster, he might have been struck unexpectedly in the face, and that’s a fear no player wants to have while he’s trying to do his job. Likewise, Rhodes and Long were paying attention a ball in the field of play when they were hit; if fans and players alike are not properly protected during game action, they can’t be expected to watch/play at the risk of their own physical health.  Others writing about this topic have mentioned the additional netting put in place by the NHL after an errant puck fatally struck a 13-year-old girl, and it wouldn’t be a bad idea for Selig to at least consider having the same kind of netting put in place between the dugouts and the present backstop at each ballpark – though you can catch a high-speed foul ball, you can’t exactly stop a shattered bat with a baseball glove.

Given the preference for maple, it will not be easy to find a suitable replacement for SamBats and other popular brands used by the pros.  One thought would be to mandate a bat that is some combination of a composite handle and a maple barrel that would make the maple less likely to shatter in long, sharp fragments as it presently does.  Another idea is simply trying to find a different wood source for bats – many cricket bats are made of willow, which might be a decent alternative if it can be cut down to an easy-to-wield weight.    Whatever the solution, the decision needs to be made in winter meetings before the start of next season – it would not be wise or safe for the MLB to continue to allow its faithful patrons to risk their own livelihoods because they are unable to keep track of two divergent trajectories, hit ball and flying bat, at one time.  No other major sport forces us to do that on a regular basis.

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Credit to Yahoo! Sports, MLB.com, SB Nation, SFGate.com, ESPN.com and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette for media and information used in this post.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Tyler Colvin Incident a Wake-Up Call For MLB To Ban Maple Bats

What will it take to force Major League Baseball to finally outlaw maple bats? A player losing an eye…a brain injury…or even worse?

In Sunday’s Cubs game against the Marlins, Cubs rookie outfielder Tyler Colvin was punctured in the chest by a piece of a broken maple bat that just narrowly missed puncturing his lung.

He did, however, have to be hospitalized, where they treated Colvin with a chest tube to prevent a collapsed lung and the incident will end his season.

It has long been obvious that the harder maple bats are a lot more dangerous than softer ash wood bats as ash tends to splinter into small pieces while maple breaks into larger chunks of flying mayhem.

Look, it’s time that the players’ union does more to address this issue. They need to be willing to work with MLB owners to come up with an answer to the question of whether maple bats are worth the risk.

Pretty much everything we do in life carries with it some potential risk. But your risk tolerance is the issue here. You weigh the costs and benefits of an action to determine whether you are willing to accept that risk.

Meanwhile, perhaps Colvin’s incident will finally raise awareness to something that has been on many people’s minds ever since bats in general started breaking with alarming regularity.

Hitters favoring thinner bat handles in order to create a whipping affect when swinging the bats has resulted in more breakage than ever.

But ever since players started favoring the maple bats, the issue has gotten much more dangerous. And that danger isn’t just limited to on-field personnel.

Imagine if a piece of shattered bat punctured a fan? Now you could be talking about lawsuits and baseball doesn’t need the drama, horror, financial impact and negative publicity this would generate.

Now imagine someone actually being killed from a bat shard. Talk about a tragedy – and yet the real tragedy would be that it could have been prevented.

To be fair, the union has taken some steps to address the issue.

According to FOXNews.com, “the union resisted a ban on maple bats in the 2006 collective-bargaining talks, but has since worked with baseball to impose more stringent regulations on manufacturers.”

Apparently, those efforts have been successful, as the article goes on to say that “the rate of maple bats breaking dropped 35 percent from 2008 to ’09 and another 15 percent from ’09 to ’10.”

It is also true that one can never legislate all of the risk from the sport.

For example, though the risk is small, we all recognize that a thrown baseball can kill a man, especially a 95 mph fastball to the head.

In fact, Ray Chapman was beaned by a pitch from Carl Mays in 1920 and died from the injury twelve hours later.

The only other death resulting from an on-field injury occurred in 1909, when Mike “Doc” Powers died from complication resulting from crashing into a wall while chasing a foul pop-up.

So there will always be risks. Yet some risks can be mitigated easier than others.

Eliminating maple bats would be a change that could easily be made without impacting the game very much, so why not do it?

For even one tragedy would be one tragedy too many.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

MLB Power Rankings Week 25: NL West Providing All the Excitement

As the season winds down, more and more teams are getting closer to clinching a playoff berth. The Yankee, Rays, Twins, Rangers, and Reds are all sitting very comfortably in the driver’s seat as their respective magic numbers drop by the day.

This is not quite the case in the wild, wild NL West.

The Padres’ struggles have opened the door for both the Giants and Rockies. Now only 1.5 games separate the three teams.

The Rockies, seemingly dead in the water two weeks ago, are pounding teams in September and are now a legitimate contender.

The Giants pitching staff has righted the ship and might just run away with the title if the Padres don’t figure out how to score more runs.

And at this point in the season, that isn’t going to happen.

Two of the three could conceivably make the playoffs as the Braves are starting to fall apart. They have relinquished the NL East lead to the Phillies. Now they are just hanging on for dear life in the wild-card hunt.

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Finding the Answers at First for the Cubs

There has been a lot of traffic over the question of what exactly the Cubs are going to do at the first base position since Derrek Lee left the team.  There has been a lot of fanfare regarding Tyler Colvin’s move to first, but Mike Quade seems to have squelched that idea. So what are the Cubs to do? Well there are many options, some more possible than others.

Sign a Free Agent

This appears to be, by far, the laziest of any possible solutions. I mean it’s easy, right? Let’s just throw some money at the problem, and bring in a proven bat that would be sure to duplicate his typical numbers.

Well, first off, the Cubs have been weighed down by several albatross contracts as it is, and adding another would seem to be counterproductive. The only upside of going after a proven commodity would be that they would not have to surrender a first-round draft pick in exchange for signing a Type-A free agent.

But who would they pursue?

Adam Dunn (30 years old) has been a popular name tossed around. His left-handed power presence would add some punch to a soft-hitting Cubs line-up. Forget about the strike-outs, Dunn can rake. He hasn’t hit below 25 home runs since 2001, and he makes up his far below-average contact percent with a consistently patient approach.

While Dunn is far above-average with the stick, he is flat out dreadful with the glove. There is no position you can put Dunn where he can be league-average. Nowhere. While Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR) has been kind to him this year at first, he is a career -15.7 fielder there. 

Simply put, he is a DH bat, relegated to the American League, and the Cubs should not be tempted by his bat. Think about the effects that his poor glove would be on the rest of the infield. Starlin Castro, who already has throwing issues, would surely suffer. Aramis Ramirez had a erratic throwing arm, until he came to the Cubs with Derrek Lee on first; do you think that just went away?

Similar issues exist with the other free-agent first basemen. Paul Konerko is a good enough overall player, but why sign a 34 year-old first baseman when your team is three years away from competing?  Carlos Pena offers a power left-handed bat with a good glove, but again, he will be 33 next season.

All options require a lot of money, and probably a minimum of a three year contract.

Trade For an Established Player

Trading for a very good option at first would require sending a lot of prospects to land a piece you can truly build around.

Any trade involving a name such as Prince Fielder, Adrian Gonzalez, or Joey Votto would begin with Starlin Castro and Brett Jackson, and probably include Andrew Cashner or Josh Vitters. Other options to go alongside Castro in a trade would be Randy Wells, Jay Jackson, or Tyler Colvin, among others.

Those three are superstars within their own right, and would certainly provide a high amount of value to the position, but in a time where the Cubs have more holes than just first base, one of the easier positions to fill on a team, it doesn’t make any sense to drain a farm system to add one player in the current state of the franchise.

Look For the Solution From Within The Organization

As mentioned above, many fans are fond of the idea of Colvin playing first, and why not? Well, contrary to popular opinion, he may not have the bat for the job. Sure, he has hit for power this year, but it remains to be seen if he is just a flash in the pan, as he never had the minor league track record that reflected his major league production.

Why not move Aramis Ramirez across the diamond? While he has lost his quick step over the years, but he definitely has the quickness and glove to be at least an above-average defender at first. He also has a proven bat, and will be in a contract season next year.

If Ramirez moves over, 3B prospect Marquez Smith has shown he can be a decent enough major leaguer. Smith has been a monster in 240 at-bats in Peoria, hitting for a .417 wOBA. Peoria is not the best place to gauge major-league talent though; just ask Micah Hoffpauir.

If Smith figures to fill in at third for the year, that will give Josh Vitters a chance to have a full season of Double-A ball under his belt, clearing the way for a 2012 debut if he performs well.

2012 is (coincidentally) the same season that Adrian Gonzalez and Prince Fielder (along with Aramis Ramirez) become free agents, if they do not get traded and/or sign extensions with their teams. 

With Ramirez’s money coming off the books, they could sign one of those two. This is very speculative, and probably not going to happen, but it happened with Soriano that way, so it’s not outside the realm of possibility. In this scenario, however, you wouldn’t have to drop the truckload of prospects you would have to in a trade.

It’s Now, Or Never For Jim Henry

This will be the definitive offseason for Cubs GM Jim Hendry, as this stands as the biggest immediate concern for the Cubs. The first base situation isn’t like the second base one, where you can simply wait for something to happen. Hendry needs a plan for what he is going to do immediately at both corner infield positions, as Ramirez is clearly on his way out.

Cubs fans, and the new ownership will not put up with the solution of just pumping money into the position, as we have learned from our trials and tribulations of Alfonso Soriano, Carlos Zambrano, and even Kosuke Fukudome.

Hendry needs a well-developed solution to the future of first base, or it could set the Cubs back even further.

It seems that the hole Derrek Lee left is bigger than we initially realized.


This article was also featured on TheUnfortunateCubsFan.com


Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Positional Rookie Keepers for 2011: Buster Posey is a Must!

2010 has blessed Major League Baseball with a memorable rookie class.

Fantasy owners in Dynasty and Keeper leagues were quite familiar with this cast of characters long before they arrived in the show.

In commemoration of their foresight, let’s take a gander at the top ten positional keepers for 2011.

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Adam Dunn: A Cure For the Cubs Offensive Woes

I can safely say that I am a gigantic fan of Adam Dunn. Consistency is one of the main benchmarks for picking my favorite players, and he very simply gets the job done. He is a freak of patience and power, but the consistent production is what draws me to him.


For instance, his production from 2007 to 2009 looks a little something like this:

2007   .264 AVG/.386 OBP (101 walks)/40 home runs

2008   .236 AVG/.386 OBP (122 walks)/40 home runs

2009   .267 AVG/.398 OBP (116 walks)/38 home runs

The common thought is imagining what those numbers would look like if he played 81 games in the quite power-friendly confines of Wrigley Field. It’s a thought that “Ballhawks” on Waveland Avenue can’t help but smile about.

The likelihood of Dunn wearing the blue pinstripes next season seems to be multiplying everyday. He made a very vocal campaign for the Cubs to sign him before the 2009 season to no avail, and as Gordon Wittenmyer is reporting, he is seemingly doing the same thing again.

On top of all the praise Dunn is extending towards Cubs management and Wrigley Field itself, the team experiment of placing rookie Tyler Colvin at first base has come to a screeching halt. It is definitely for the best even if the Cubs weren’t getting Dunn, as Colvin is absolutely less valuable at first base. The 24-year-old would almost assuredly struggle defensively in the transition, and Colvin already needs to make some serious adjustments to his offensive game if he’s going to make it as a starter. The combination could be terrible, and is better left unseen.

Interim manager Mike Quade has all but ruled Colvin out at the position. If he keeps making smart moves like that then he may not be a bad option to helm the club in 2011. Food for thought.

Whatever the motivation for the Cubs not locking down the first base position, Dunn is the beneficiary. The 6’6” slugger has already ruled out the American league, and resigning with the Nationals doesn’t seem reasonable. The talk is hot right now, so let’s hope it continues that way until the Cubs reel him in. A four-year deal worth $50 million would be right at market value, if not a little on the cheap side.

Dunn’s athleticism may leave some fans with a bad taste in their mouths, but the man’s effort and attitude towards the game is everything you want in big free agent signing. Any defensive shortcomings are made up for threefold on the offensive side of the game.

He’s also remained virtually injury-free his entire career, and is only turning 31 this November. He would be a savvy-signing for a team in transition, giving the team an offensive threat to be constantly feared throughout the Majors (something the team obviously lacked in 2010).

I won’t accept the high strike-out rate argument for a second. When you walk over 100 times a season and you’re putting up a slugging percentage higher than .525 every single year, the strike-out rate is hardly a liability whatsoever. There is literally no case for it being a problem, but I’m sure if and when the Cubs make their move on him, we will be hearing some brilliant commentary about it on Chicago talk radio. I’m sure I will be calling in to try to nip some of the ignorance in the bud.

The Cubs have to face the fact that their black hole at first base cannot be filled by a Micah Hoffpauir, and really need to pony up the cash. Signing Dunn will not reverse the tides of misfortune on the North-side, but is a definite step in the right direction.

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