MLB Power Rankings: Examining playoff odds; Guardians on the move, Mariners slipping (2024)

By Grant Brisbee, Rustin Dodd and Chad Jennings

Every week,​ we​ ask a selected group of our baseball​ writers​ — local and national — torank the teams from first to worst. Here are the collective results.

What exactly were the preseason odds of David Fry making the All-Star team, and what were the chances he’d be one of five Cleveland Guardians selected, the most of any team in the American League?

And was anyone betting on the Philadelphia Phillies having the most All-Stars, in part because two of their relievers — neither of whom is a full-time closer — would be elected on the players’ ballot?

GO DEEPERFull All-Star rosters revealed; Phillies lead with 7

What were the odds that the Kansas City Royals would have as many All-Stars as the St. Louis Cardinals, New York Mets, Seattle Mariners and Arizona Diamondbacks combined? Or that there would be more San Diego Padres outfielders than total players from the defending champion Texas Rangers?

Preseason predictions might come with strong data, researched opinions and the best intentions, but they don’t always mean much. This week, we’re looking back at each team’s preseason playoff odds (according to FanGraphs), and as it turns out, it’s not always easy to predict which teams will be in the hunt a week before the All-Star Game.

But surely we have a pretty good idea of what will happen in the next three months, right?

1. Philadelphia Phillies

Record: 58-32
Last Power Ranking: 1

Preseason playoff odds: 54.6 percent
Current playoff odds: 99.8 percent

The Phillies are sending a franchise record seven All-Stars to Texas, illustrating how good things have gone during this first half. You can peek at the increase in playoff odds, too. If you’re a Phillies fan who is reading that your team is a lock to make the postseason, your next question is probably about the chances of winning the NL East. According to FanGraphs, it’s 88.8 percent. Pretty good. Not a lock. But pretty, pretty good. Philadelphia will close out the first half with two important home series. First comes the Dodgers, who have the second-best record in the NL. Then come the A’s. Not a bad team to beat up on before getting a few days off. — Rustin Dodd

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2. Baltimore Orioles

Record: 57-33
Last Power Ranking:2

Preseason playoff odds: 52.8 percent
Current playoff odds: 98.8 percent

It’s worth thinking about the things that haven’t gone right for the Orioles. Cedric Mullins is having the worst offensive season of his career. Jackson Holliday looked overmatched in his brief time in the majors. They’ve lost both John Means and Kyle Bradish for the season. Other teams can claim more hardship, certainly, but it’s not as if the Orioles have avoided every sinkhole.

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Yet there they are, with only a 1.2 percent chance of the funniest team-wide collapse in recent baseball history. They’ll sail into the postseason, with the only question being if they’ll win the AL East and get a bye or if they’ll have to play an extra postseason series as a wild card. The baseball gods like to drink and play dice during those short postseason series. The Orioles would do well to stay far, far away. — Grant Brisbee

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3. Los Angeles Dodgers

Record: 55-36
Last Power Ranking:3

Preseason playoff odds: 93.3 percent
Current playoff odds: 99.7 percent

Will Smith hit three homers against the Brewers last Friday, becoming the fourth catcher in Dodgers history to accomplish that feat (Roy Campanella, Mike Piazza and Yasmani Grandal were the others).

Will Smith has homered in FOUR CONSECUTIVE AT-BATS! pic.twitter.com/eLVmavmSqw

— MLB (@MLB) July 6, 2024

Then, on Saturday, according to OptaSTATS, Shohei Ohtani became the first MLB player in the modern era to finish a game with multiple walks, a hit by a pitch, a stolen base, a triple, and a home run in the same game. OK, that’s kind of a random assortment of events. But the point is Ohtani broke out of a mini-slump with a monster night. The Dodgers are cruising toward the postseason, just as everyone expected. But the way they’re doing it is a little different. Put another way: They’ve never had Shohei Ohtani, and he’s worth watching every day. — Dodd

4. Cleveland Guardians

Record: 56-33
Last Power Ranking: 5

Preseason playoff odds: 33.4 percent
Current playoff odds: 92.8 percent

The preseason odds weren’t exactly dismissive of the Guardians — their playoff odds were just slightly lower than the defending champion Rangers — but they were seen as a .500 team (80.3 projected wins) that could make the most of a weak division. Instead, the AL Central has three legitimate playoff contenders, and the Guardians have steadily put themselves among the top handful of teams in the game. And they haven’t done it with their usual brand of starting pitching. They have five All-Stars, the most in the AL, but none is a starting pitcher. Their improved offense is sending four position players to the All-Star Game. — Chad Jennings

GO DEEPERPath to the All-Star Game for 5 Cleveland Guardians

5. New York Yankees

Record: 55-37
Last Power Ranking: 4

Preseason playoff odds: 72 percent
Current playoff odds: 98.1 percent

Although the AL East was often billed as a four-team race, the FanGraphs odds had the Yankees as the clear favorites heading into the season. They were given a 36.4 percent chance of winning the division, almost double that of the Orioles or the Blue Jays (the Rays had the second-best division odds at 23.4 percent). Instead of a four-team race, the division has become a two-team race between the Yankees and Orioles — though the Red Sox have recently proven to be no pushover — for the top of the division and perhaps the top seed in the American League. — Jennings

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6. Milwaukee Brewers

Record: 53-38
Last Power Ranking: T-6

Preseason playoff odds: 30 percent
Current playoff odds: 87.3 percent

The preseason odds weren’t expecting MVP Christian Yelich to come back. Neither were any of us, frankly. He had four straight years of being a helpful enough player, getting on base and not killing the Brewers in the field, and that looked like it would continue for another half-decade or so. Instead, he’s carrying a lineup that’s fourth in the National League in runs scored.

The Brewers have needed starts from 16 different starting pitchers, yet they’re thriving. With the Rays’ stumbles this season, it would appear that Milwaukee is the new standard bearer for the “doing more with less” crowd. They keep pulling rabbits out of their hat, and them’s good eatin’. — Brisbee

GO DEEPERAnswering 30 MLB trade deadline questions with a month to go and so many possibilities

7. Atlanta Braves

Record: 50-39
Last Power Ranking: T-6

Preseason playoff odds: 98.3 percent
Current playoff odds: 92.4 percent

The Braves’ playoff odds tell the same story as the standings. They are still very likely to make the postseason, and they took two of three from the Phillies over the weekend at home. But they entered Monday eight games back in the standings. There’s still time to close the gap. Do not forget that. But at this point, it would require a Phillies implosion (unlikely), a crazy hot stretch from the Braves (a little more likely), or some combination of the two (not totally unlikely). Follow all that? Here’s another statistic that’s hard to fathom: The Braves had eight All-Stars last season (and three this year), yet none of last year’s All-Stars repeated this year. — Dodd

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8. Minnesota Twins

Record: 52-39
Last Power Ranking: 9

Preseason playoff odds: 65.3 percent
Current playoff odds: 85.8 percent

The preseason playoff odds are created in laboratory conditions by scientists who hate baseball and, more specifically, your team. But they’re still limited by the information that’s available to them, and when the cold, unfeeling computers scanned the Twins, they saw a lot of potential hiccups. Carlos Correa looked like he was on the downside of his career already. José Miranda was just a replacement player with a .566 OPS. Sonny Gray was gone, and the Twins didn’t bother to replace him. All of these factored into the preseason odds.

GO DEEPERTwins' Jose Miranda ties MLB record with hits in 12 straight at-bats

So it says something that the odds were as high for the Twins as they were before the season, and it definitely says something that they’ve only gotten better for them since. If Brooks Lee (nine hits in his first 20 career at-bats) can keep hitting, expect the odds to keep climbing and climbing. — Brisbee

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9. Houston Astros

Record: 46-44
Last Power Ranking: 10

Preseason playoff odds: 85.9 percent
Current playoff odds: 56.1 percent

The Astros had the best preseason odds in the American League and the third-best in baseball behind the Braves and Dodgers. Then, they got off to a terrible start, and their odds dipped to around 30 percent. They’re back up above a 50 percent chance of making the postseason, just slightly below the division-leading Mariners (and well above the other three teams in the AL West). The Astros were supposed to be really good, but then they were really bad, and now it looks like they could be really good again. — Jennings

10. Boston Red Sox

Record: 49-40
Last Power Ranking: 12

Preseason playoff odds: 22.9 percent
Current playoff odds: 48.2 percent

The Red Sox are quite a bit better than almost anyone could have predicted, and still they’re getting roughly 50-50 odds of making the playoffs. It doesn’t help that the Yankees and Orioles have taken control of the AL East, leaving the Red Sox just 1.3 percent odds of winning the division. If there’s one wild card from every division, Boston could still be the odd team out, but they’re a lot closer to the playoff picture than they were in April. — Jennings

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11. Seattle Mariners

Record: 49-43
Last Power Ranking: 8

Preseason playoff odds: 60.1 percent
Current playoff odds: 61 percent

There are 10 hitters on the Mariners with at least 200 plate appearances. The highest on-base percentage among them is .330. Six of those 10 hitters have an OBP under .300. There are as many players with a batting average under the Mendoza Line (two) as there are above .250. This is a painful lineup to watch.

And yet. Their rotation will give them a chance to make the postseason, and that’s where the funny business starts. There are various Mitches in the lineup with a .600 OPS right now, but cult heroes are born in October. Maybe one or both Mitches will come alive.

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Sixty percent of the time, the Mariners make the postseason every time. Forty percent of the time, though, the Mariners’ lineup is so awful, they miss the postseason entirely. That’s a less fun way to think of it. Anything can happen once they get in, but they might hit their way out of contention before they get there. — Brisbee

12. San Diego Padres

Record: 49-45
Last Power Ranking: 11

Preseason playoff odds: 41.6 percent
Current playoff odds: 62.3 percent

On June 17, the Padres lost their fifth straight game and fell to 37-40. The NL wild card was still wide open, which meant their playoff hopes were still relatively fine. But they proceeded to win 12 of their next 17, lifting their playoff odds to well above 50 percent. On the news front, the Padres have placed Yu Darvish on the restricted list to handle a personal family matter. (The club gave no timetable for his return.) They’re also sending five players to the All-Star Game, including Jackson Merrill, the first rookie in franchise history to make the game. The Padres will close the first half with a two-game series against the Mariners and three against the Braves. — Dodd

GO DEEPERThree Padres takeaways: Jackson Merrill’s All-Star value, bullpen alarm and line drives

13. Kansas City Royals

Record: 49-43
Last Power Ranking: 13

Preseason playoff odds: 13.2 percent
Current playoff odds: 27.2 percent

The Royals have basically doubled their preseason odds of making the playoffs, but they’re still on the outside looking in on most postseason predictions (basically the same as the Mets’ odds at the start of the season). The Royals landed four players on the All-Star team, and they’re clearly within reach of a postseason spot, but their playoff odds remain the eighth-best in the AL. It would be a heckuva story if they prove those odds wrong (and prove their preseason odds to be really wrong). — Jennings

14. St. Louis Cardinals

Record: 48-42
Last Power Ranking: 14

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Preseason playoff odds: 48.2 percent
Current playoff odds: 48.5 percent

Hold on, we interrupt this discussion about playoff odds to point out this column from The Athletic’s Jayson Stark, who is positively bullish on the Hall of Fame chances of Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado. It’s worth reading — the whole thing. OK, back to the Cardinals. Yes, here come the Cardinals. Seriously, look out, Milwaukee. St. Louis entered Monday having won 11 of 16 to distance themselves from the .500 mark. When you’re 47-42, you’re an NL wild-card team. Their playoff odds are about the same as when the season started. It’s been a strange path to this point. But morale has to be up in St. Louis. — Dodd

15. Arizona Diamondbacks

Record: 45-46
Last Power Ranking: T-16

Preseason playoff odds: 51.2 percent
Current playoff odds: 35.9 percent

Imagine how low the preseason odds would have been if the computers saw Corbin Carroll turning into Alex Cora and Jordan Montgomery turning into Mark Redman. It’s impressive that the Diamondbacks’ odds are still relatively high, considering how messy those two seasons have been.

As is, the Diamondbacks are hovering around the wild-card morass with everyone else, waiting for Carroll to return to form and for Montgomery to give them anything at all. They’re one of those teams that can have the best trade deadline imaginable without making a trade at all. They just need a couple of their players to find a time machine and set it for last season. — Brisbee

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16. New York Mets

Record: 44-45
Last Power Ranking: T-16

Preseason playoff odds: 29.9 percent
Current playoff odds: 32.7 percent

Imagine telling a Mets fan on June 2 — when the record was 24-35 — that the team would enter the final week before the All-Star Game with better postseason odds than when the season began. It doesn’t really make sense, except for two things: The Mets’ postseason odds were never great to begin with, and the parity in the NL wild-card race has left an opening for a team like the Mets. New York took care of business over the weekend, taking two of three from the Pirates after losing to starting pitcher Paul Skenes on Friday. The team’s next 10 games are against the surprising Nationals, the Rockies and the Marlins. To put it bluntly, the Mets need to be sitting above .500 after that stretch to increase those odds. — Dodd

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17. Tampa Bay Rays

Record: 44-46
Last Power Ranking: 15

Preseason playoff odds: 59.6 percent
Current playoff odds: 13.3 percent

When the season started, the Yankees and Astros were heavy AL favorites to make the postseason, then there were three teams bunched together right around 60 percent: the Mariners, Twins and Rays. The Mariners are still right around 60 percent, the Twins have jumped to well over 80 percent, and the Rays have fallen below 20 percent. They just haven’t had their usual brand of pitching, and their offense hasn’t done nearly enough to make up the difference. Last week, they started the process of selling by trading veteran starter Aaron Civale. They might get healthier in the second half, but the odds are betting it will be too little, too late. — Jennings

GO DEEPERBrewers acquire right-hander Aaron Civale from Rays: Source

18. San Francisco Giants

Record: 44-47
Last Power Ranking: 18

Preseason playoff odds: 43.4 percent
Current playoff odds: 22.9 percent

The Giants had a two-man rotation at one point last month. You’ve heard of “Spahn and Sain and pray for rain,” right? Well, this was “Webb and Hicks and build the others out of mud and sticks.” If you’re wondering where that burning smell is coming from, it’s the smoke from assorted shoulders in the Giants’ bullpen. Or maybe you used the “popcorn” button on your microwave. Never use the popcorn button. It was created as a psyop by the government to collect data on the people stupid enough to use the popcorn button. Subscribe to my YouTube channel for more information.

They’re getting pitchers back from the IL, though, with Kyle Harrison already returning and Blake Snell right behind him. Robbie Ray is making rehab starts in Sacramento, and Alex Cobb is making rehab starts in San Jose. With Hayden Birdsong looking like a viable major-league arm, the Giants are going from a two-man rotation to a normal five-man rotation with seven different options. It might not be enough to impress the playoff odds, but it’ll be a welcome reprieve for a pitching staff running on burnt popcorn fumes. — Brisbee

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19. Texas Rangers

Record: 43-48
Last Power Ranking: 20

Preseason playoff odds: 37.9 percent
Current playoff odds: 10.4 percent

The defending champions came into the season given basically a 1-in-3 chance of making the playoffs, which is what happens when you lose a bunch of guys in free agency and try to replace them with Michael Lorenzen, David Robertson and Kirby Yates. The thing is, those new guys have actually been really good! Yates is an All-Star, and both Lorenzen and Robertson have been plenty good enough to keep the Rangers in contention, but health issues and a few notable underperformers have the Rangers far off track from a potential title defense. — Jennings

GO DEEPERRosenthal: Why the defending champion Rangers could be deadline sellers; plus more MLB notes

20. Cincinnati Reds

Record: 43-48
Last Power Ranking: 21

Preseason playoff odds: 23.1 percent
Current playoff odds: 6.1 percent

The Reds should be better. Think of them like the National League Mariners, with a strong rotation buttressed by an iffy lineup. The Reds’ rotation isn’t as deep as the Mariners’, but they also have Elly De La Cruz in their lineup, which makes up for an awful lot. They’ve outscored their opponents on the season, and their Pythagorean win-loss percentage is currently 47-43, which would put them firmly in the wild-card mix.

Elly De La Cruz steals his 45th bag of the season.

That's a new @Reds franchise record for steals before the All Star break! pic.twitter.com/RBNbRkKEL6

— MLB (@MLB) July 8, 2024

Playoff odds love to bully Pythagorean win-loss percentages, though. They throw wads of paper at them when the teacher isn’t looking and “how to give wedgie underwear over head tips tutorial” is in their YouTube search history. It’s getting late early for the Reds, and they have a month to avoid being sellers at the deadline. — Brisbee

21. Pittsburgh Pirates

Record: 43-47
Last Power Ranking: 19

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Preseason playoff odds: 16.2 percent
Current playoff odds: 6.2 percent

Bailey Falter is out with left arm discomfort. Jared Jones is out with a right lat strain, which might be related to a chronic condition known as throwswaytooharditis. With both of them in a rotation that features both Mitch Keller and Paul Skenes, the Pirates are an uncomfortable team to face in a three-game series. As is, teams just have to hope they avoid one or both of those pitchers now and worry about Bryan Reynolds in the lineup.

Those playoff odds don’t reflect the Falter and Jones injury just yet. Look for them to get even worse unless a couple of players in the lineup other than Reynolds start hitting. — Brisbee

GO DEEPERScouting Phillies, Pirates, Orioles and Rangers prospects, including Aidan Miller

22. Chicago Cubs

Record: 42-49
Last Power Ranking: 23

Preseason playoff odds: 41.3 percent
Current playoff odds: 7.0 percent

Rookie starter Shota Imanaga has made the All-Star Game. “He’s a learner,” Cubs manager Craig Counsell told reporters on Sunday. “He wants to get better. He’s curious.” The Cubs also took a series from the Angels over the weekend. OK, that’s the good news. The less sanguine news came on Sunday, when it was revealed that Cubs right-handed pitcher Colten Brewer was placed on the injured list after punching a wall and breaking his non-throwing hand on Saturday. Brewer owned up to the mistake. Counsell expressed empathy. And the Cubs won’t miss Brewer too much. But it sums up the feeling in Wrigleyville, where the hope and playoff odds have plummeted. — Dodd

GO DEEPERShota Imanaga’s All-Star selection is a bright spot in this dull Cubs season

23. Detroit Tigers

Record: 43-48
Last Power Ranking: 25

Preseason playoff odds: 28.1 percent
Current playoff odds: 4.6 percent

Even when they were off to a pretty strong start, the Tigers’ playoff odds never got as high as 40 percent, and they’ve been pretty steadily falling since early May. The Angels, A’s, and White Sox are at the bottom of the barrel in the American League, but the Tigers and Blue Jays are just one notch above those two. The top of the Tigers’ rotation is playoff-worthy, and Riley Greene is an All-Star outfielder, but not much else about this team has performed like it belongs in October. — Jennings

GO DEEPERTigers lefty Tarik Skubal's journey from operating table uncertainty to All-Star ferocity

24. Washington Nationals

Record: 42-49
Last Power Ranking: 24

Preseason playoff odds: 0.2 percent
Current playoff odds: 1.2 percent

Nationals fans, please send all your complaints and mean tweets to @FanGraphs. The vibes are building in the nation’s capital, but after 10 losses in their past 14 games, the metrics have yet to come around. For now, the Nationals can enjoy rookie James Wood, who is off to a strong start, and shortstop CJ Abrams, who is an All-Star for the first time. Every team gets an All-Star, but Abrams would be on any All-Star team, entering the week with a 146 OPS+ and 3.5 bWAR. — Dodd

GO DEEPERJames Wood's Nationals debut keeps the line of young, potential superstars in D.C. moving

25. Toronto Blue Jays

Record: 41-49
Last Power Ranking: 22

Preseason playoff odds: 49 percent
Current playoff odds: 2.6 percent

The odds got even better than that as the season progressed. On April 22, the Blue Jays were sitting at 57.9 percent, and that might have even seemed a little low back then. They were 13-10, and they had that record even though their best offensive players weren’t hitting a lick. Once that turned around, they’d be even better. And it was definitely going to turn around. Definitely.

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It did not turn around. FanGraphs has, well, graphs to help you visualize a decline in probability like this. The Blue Jays’ slope is steep. You can imagine Calvin peering over the edge and saying, “C’mon, Hobbes. Let’s find something less dangerous.” — Brisbee

26. Los Angeles Angels

Record: 37-53
Last Power Ranking: 26

Preseason playoff odds: 16.8 percent
Current playoff odds: 0.1 percent

So, you’re saying there’s a chance! To actually expect the Angels to make the postseason would be both dumb and dumber, and that’s clearly not where they’re heading. Mike Trout’s resurgence was a great story at the start of the season, but then he got hurt and the Angels basically became a team that was far too easy to ignore. The most relevant thing they’ll do in the second half is find a team to trade for All-Star starter Tyler Anderson (and maybe left-fielder Taylor Ward and infielder Luis Rengifo, too, if they’re healthy). — Jennings

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27. Oakland Athletics

Record: 34-58
Last Power Ranking: 27

Preseason playoff odds: 2.5 percent
Current playoff odds: 0 percent

You know what really stinks about that 0 percent chance of making the playoffs: the youth and controllability of this roster — JJ Bleday, Shea Langeliers, JP Sears, Mason Miller — should provide at least some hope of better odds ahead, but A’s fans can’t even enjoy that because the future of their franchise is a such a mess. The only thing about the A’s future we seem to know for certain is that they won’t be playing this October. — Jennings

28. Miami Marlins

Record: 32-58
Last Power Ranking: 28

Preseason playoff odds: 28.8 percent
Current playoff odds: 0 percent

Raise your hand if you remember the FanGraphs projection system giving the Marlins a nearly 30 percent chance to make the postseason. Anyway, they’re not going to make the playoffs. Lefty reliever Tanner Scott is headed to Texas to represent the Marlins in the All-Star Game. He had a strong first half, building on a 2.31 ERA in 74 appearances last year. The Marlins are expected to move him before the deadline. Unless some team really blows away the Marlins front office in the next week, Scott’s trip to Texas should be a nice swan song for his stint in South Florida. — Dodd

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29. Colorado Rockies

Record: 32-59
Last Power Ranking: 29

Preseason playoff odds: 0.0 percent
Current playoff odds: 0.0 percent

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: FanGraphs was way too optimistic about the Rockies before the season. — Brisbee

30. Chicago White Sox

Record: 26-67
Last Power Ranking: 30

Preseason playoff odds: 0.5 percent
Current playoff odds: 0 percent

What in the Bluto Blutarsky has happened to this White Sox season? The playoffs odds were minuscule to begin with, but the club’s atrocious start has put the focus squarely on the trade deadline, when as many as five or six players could be moved. Center fielder Luis Robert Jr. missed time with a right hip flexor strain, but he’s been heating up, posting a .820 OPS since he returned on June 4. The White Sox will likely have a high price for Robert, who is signed through 2025 with club options for 2026 and 2027, but they could also look to move starting pitcher Erick Fedde, who has been excellent since returning from a one-year stint in South Korea and is under contract for next year at a reasonable $7.5 million. Then there’s Garrett Crochet and Michael Kopech. Both will surely command interest. But the White Sox have both under club control beyond this year and could wait until the offseason to re-evaluate the market for each. — Dodd

(Top photo: Stephen Brashear / Getty Images)

MLB Power Rankings: Examining playoff odds; Guardians on the move, Mariners slipping (2024)
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