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  • Predicting Minnesota’s Next 4 Top Prospects to Debut


    Cody Christie

    Getting a closer look at younger players can offer a glimmer of hope for the future during a lost season. Here are the next four Twins prospects that may make their big-league debuts. 

    Image courtesy of Rob Thompson, St. Paul Saints

    Joe Ryan, RH SP
    Ryan was one of the key pieces as part of the Nelson Cruz trade and he made his organizational debut last week after returning from the Olympics. His Saints debut was ridiculous as he struck out nine batters in four innings. Ryan, a former water polo player, is known for the life on his fastball and his command of the strike zone. He led the minor-league baseball in strikeout rate in 2019 by fanning 183 batters in 123 2/3 innings. As a 25-year-old, he has already found success in the high minors, and the Twins may want to give him a September audition for the 2022 rotation. 

    Jose Miranda, INF
    Miranda is having one of the best offensive seasons in team history among players in the high minors, and he is a lock to be the team’s Minor League Player of the Year. There are multiple ways to get him to Minneapolis before the season’s end. Entering 2021, he had struggled with working counts in his favor, which led to a lot of weak contact. Minnesota worked on his approach last season, and the results speak for themselves. St. Paul has been a remarkably better team with Miranda in the line-up, and the team has taken over first place in the division.  

    Jovani Moran, LHRP
    Moran was left unprotected during this past season’s Rule 5 Draft (and the year before), but he went unselected, which looks like a mistake by MLB’s other organizations. Moran’s stock rose significantly this season as he has compiled strong numbers at Double- and Triple-A. He’s held opponents to hitting .115/.213/.230 (.443) as he has collected 97 strikeouts in 60 innings. His dominant change-up is how he misses bats, as MLB Pipeline calls it a double-plus pitch. Moran is big-league ready, but the Saints are fighting for a division title so the Twins may want to keep him in St. Paul. 

    Austin Martin, SS/CF
    Martin, one of the pieces of the Jose Berrios trade, is the only player on this list not at Triple-A. He has been playing well at Double-A, and the argument can be made for him as the organization’s top prospect. He is an on-base machine, but there have been some questions raised this year about his power. Defensively, he can play multiple infield positions and centerfield, so this flexibility can allow him to reach the big leagues more quickly. Minnesota has two series against the Blue Jays near the end of September, and that might make for an intriguing big-league debut for Martin.

    There are a few things to consider when looking at the names above. Three of the players are currently at Triple-A, and St. Paul is in the playoff hunt. Also, none of the players are currently on the 40-man roster, but all but Martin will need to be added this winter. There will be plenty of 40-man roster clean-up to do during the off-season, so the team might not want to add another wrinkle to that equation. 

    All four of these players look more than ready to help the big-league squad. Now the question remains, who will be the first to make it to the show?

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    I would keep the Saints players there until the season is done. hopefully they can get a good taste of a playoff run and be hungry for more. Learning to win is important, and the Saints seem to be learning their lessons well. Go Saints!

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    What is your over/under, Cody, for how many WILL play for the Twins this year?  I would put it at 2.  Seems like a slam dunk to be 3, but one won't make it for reason X.  Don't see Martin skipping AAA and coming straight to the Twins.

    What is more amazing is that two of these four were available for every MLB team last year in the Rule 5 draft.  Don't know what this says about the Twins and other teams.  Does it say that the Twins do a fantastic job developing marginal players into great ones?  Or does it merely confirm that all teams 40-man rosters, including the Twins, are stocked with very good baseball players and there just aren't a lot of opportunities?

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    1 hour ago, roger said:

    What is more amazing is that two of these four were available for every MLB team last year in the Rule 5 draft. 

    Last year was one of the hardest to judge for that draft with no minor league season to go on. These players have developed into big league prospects over the course of this season. I don't think Jovani Moran would have been successful in the majors in April. I'm not entirely sure he'll be successful in September. 

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    Correct me if I am wrong, non are on the 40 man, currently the 40 man sits at 40. So each prospect Alcala, Farell, Law, Maeda, Pineda, Rogers, Thorpe, or Buxton would have to be moved to the 60 day IL, or they would have DFA a player.

    So my thought is only Ryan will see time in the majors this year.

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    1 hour ago, roger said:

    What is more amazing is that two of these four were available for every MLB team last year in the Rule 5 draft.  Don't know what this says about the Twins and other teams.  Does it say that the Twins do a fantastic job developing marginal players into great ones?  Or does it merely confirm that all teams 40-man rosters, including the Twins, are stocked with very good baseball players and there just aren't a lot of opportunities?

    Neither, really. Grabbing guys in the Rule 5 is a crap shoot; for every Akil Baddoo there's 3 Alejandro Machados. The Twins have been fairly aggressive in Rule 5 and even they only actually take a guy about 65% of the time. Look at the Twin's picks in the 90's: none of their picks actually stuck with the team the full season: 6 were returned to their original club and 1 was part of one of the greatest trades the twins ever made.

    Rule 5 picks are almost always pitchers that a team thinks they can stash in the bullpen for a season or position guys whose defense is good enough at a premium position that you can hang on to them while their bat catches up (which is still hard). The Twins have only taken 11 position players in 50 years; all of them except maybe 1 could play either C, SS, or CF...see a pattern here? Looking at Miranda's production and positions...he looked like a tough guy to stash. Moran probably slid through because a) he'd been not all that great in 2019, b) no one had any data on him for 2020, and c) he was already pegged in as a reliever, reducing his overall future value.

    Every team's 40-man has 2-10 marginal guys on it that are unlikely to become starters in MLB but have shown something that says they might be able to survive if tossed in the fire (maybe through peripherals on a young guy or various stints in the majors for older one) if needed to fill a spot...and if something breaks their way maybe they turn into more. To stick from Rule 5 you have to stay on a team's 26 man MLB roster the whole season, and that's a lot more competitive. Unless you're a team that's tanking like Detroit.

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    8 minutes ago, Vanimal46 said:

    One player not on this list and already on the 40 man is Strotman. He would be the next logical call up if Maeda hits the IL list. 

    That's what I was going to add as I went through and read posts. That seems a no brainer.

    And no way Austin Martin gets a call up in September, no way. Not sure why he would even be on this list. They aren't going to add him to the 40-man when he doesn't need to be added this year. That would be foolish. If he's in AAA next year doing well, maybe he'll get a September call up in 2022. 

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    It is interesting that Akil Baddoo wsa taken in the Rulke 5 draft. I would have been interested to be in on that discussion.

     

    Considering the Twins had Buxton and Kepler pencilled in. That they were going to give Kirilloff and Rooker a chance to break camp. Larnach was in the wings. Celestino was on the 40-man, along with Cave (and for a moment LaMonte Wade). The decision NOT to keep Wade was higher yet than Baddoo, who had been injured and not really played much above High A ball

     

    That being said, the Twins could've lost both Moran and Miranda in the Rule 5, too. That neither had played in AAA ball was a factor. We forget that both started the season at Wichita. And both still haven't received a call to the majors for some odd (not on the 40-man roster) decision. 

     

    I would figure out a way to get those two on the major league roster now. You can advance Cabbage to replace Miranda, and there is no shortage of bullpen arms that should be playing for the Saints rather than the assortment of minor league free agents who will again become minor league free agents.

     

    The Twins do need to add Ryan this season., Remember, they can add two players in about a week, and I would expect that Strotman will also get a call. I would like to see Balazovic at least jump to AAA ball and help the Saints in their pennant run. So we are not destroying the hopes of the Saints, especially when you consider that Ryan has made only one start.

     

    Heck, option back down Barnes and/or Ober who have both had decent tryouts for the Twins and will need to do some winter work, come back stronger in the spring, and fight to be in the rotation.

     

    The suffering of minor league teams compared to Indy balls is that the minors are basically a training and proving ground for the major league club who has the right to move players around and about as they please. Not that being an Indy ball club will prevent a player from leaving if offered a major league system contract, or if they can sell a player and recoup more money.

     

    Like people have said in other posts, if the Twins cut, say, Simmons or Colome (or Pineda), it sends a message to other free agents who might sign with the club. Not sure what that message is...a job is a job and most players join a club as a free agent because the money was right, they wish to improve their status for future play, they hope to play great for a bad club as the season progresses to get traded to another better club. It was the job of the players, given every opportunity, to improve their own stick as the miserable season of the club they signed with progressed. Now the Twins have to think more of themselves and the future, and the future is advancing guys and getting them experience to make them more viable as alternative choices for big league jobs come 2022.

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    I see that Maeda went on the IL. Who comes up? Strotman is on the 40 man roster, Ryan has pitched better, and Miranda is doing great but we need a pitcher.  Strotman pitched Sunday, Ryan last Friday and we need a starter on Thursday unless we actually are going to throw Charlie Barnes out to get lit up again or give Gant another try.  

    My guess is Ryan will come up, Gant will start on Thursday as part of a piggy back with Barnes, and Ryan will start on Friday against the Brewers at home. Frankly, almost as likely that they will do the same thing except substitute Strotman for Ryan. 

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    There are many guys on 10 day IL that they could shift to 60 day to make room for any of them.  I doubt Martin gets put on 40 man just for a September call up.  I could be wrong, but once on it they have to pass waivers to get off it so most teams will only put a guy on it when they have to, or the player is 100% ready to be called up and go.  

    They have plenty of pitchers to take of the 40 man during the off-season to make room for just about anyone they want. 

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    22 minutes ago, LA VIkes Fan said:

    I see that Maeda went on the IL. Who comes up? Strotman is on the 40 man roster, Ryan has pitched better, and Miranda is doing great but we need a pitcher.  Strotman pitched Sunday, Ryan last Friday and we need a starter on Thursday unless we actually are going to throw Charlie Barnes out to get lit up again or give Gant another try.  

    My guess is Ryan will come up, Gant will start on Thursday as part of a piggy back with Barnes, and Ryan will start on Friday against the Brewers at home. Frankly, almost as likely that they will do the same thing except substitute Strotman for Ryan. 

     

    17 minutes ago, DJL44 said:

    I'm guessing Randy Dobnak

    Jax, Ober and Gant are already scheduled for the next three starts. Saying 'Ryan has pitched better' in one start isn't really saying much. I would love to see Ryan up and it was my 'prediction' he'd be up in the next home stand. However ... Strotman is already on the 40-man and Ryan is scheduled to pitch tomorrow. Don't recall when Strotman last pitched or when scheduled, but my guess he would be the next called up. Then again ... is there someone else on the 40-man that they could call up to pitch one game?

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    3 hours ago, Karbo said:

    I would keep the Saints players there until the season is done. hopefully they can get a good taste of a playoff run and be hungry for more. Learning to win is important, and the Saints seem to be learning their lessons well. Go Saints!

    Is there any evidence this is true? That it is more valuable than playing in the majors and getting your feet wet? I really doubt it.

    I have no idea how Moran isn't up already. Ryan should be up and starting, given the injuries, at this point.

    No need to call up Martin. No idea where Miranda plays.

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    1 hour ago, Squirrel said:

    That's what I was going to add as I went through and read posts. That seems a no brainer.

    And no way Austin Martin gets a call up in September, no way. Not sure why he would even be on this list. They aren't going to add him to the 40-man when he doesn't need to be added this year. That would be foolish. If he's in AAA next year doing well, maybe he'll get a September call up in 2022. 

    I think Martin is the starting LF by June/July of next year. CF is Buxton is dealt.

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    35 minutes ago, LA VIkes Fan said:

    I see that Maeda went on the IL. Who comes up? Strotman is on the 40 man roster, Ryan has pitched better, and Miranda is doing great but we need a pitcher.  Strotman pitched Sunday, Ryan last Friday and we need a starter on Thursday unless we actually are going to throw Charlie Barnes out to get lit up again or give Gant another try.  

    My guess is Ryan will come up, Gant will start on Thursday as part of a piggy back with Barnes, and Ryan will start on Friday against the Brewers at home. Frankly, almost as likely that they will do the same thing except substitute Strotman for Ryan. 

    Gant should never start another game. He's a RP. They should use him as such.

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    1 hour ago, Rosterman said:

    It is interesting that Akil Baddoo wsa taken in the Rulke 5 draft. I would have been interested to be in on that discussion...

    Detroit view - Fast enough to play center field, excellent power. If he can OPS even .600, he's good enough as a 4th outfielder with potential to be far more and we're not aiming at competing this year.

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    Based on how Strotman has been performing, I think the Twins are actively working with him on his approach so I don't think they'd call him up and interfere with whatever they're working on. 

    Moran is a no-brainer. Really don't understand the lack of a call up there. Relief arms on the 40 man are easy decisions. I'd also be interested in the Twins looking at Cano.

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    3 hours ago, Squirrel said:

    That's what I was going to add as I went through and read posts. That seems a no brainer.

    And no way Austin Martin gets a call up in September, no way. Not sure why he would even be on this list. They aren't going to add him to the 40-man when he doesn't need to be added this year. That would be foolish. If he's in AAA next year doing well, maybe he'll get a September call up in 2022. 

    Agreed there's no way Martin gets called up this year. No reason at all to take a 40-man spot for a September call up. But I'd be shocked if he isn't in Minneapolis before September next year. I'd argue he could hold his own in the majors right now with his approach and ability to get the barrel to the ball so it'd be really disappointed if he put up a huge minor league season next year and they didn't call him up midseason. Have to assume there'll be injuries and I think he'll show he's ready to hit for average and get on base and they'll go to him midseason. Or maybe post trade deadline if they move Sano or someone. But certainly no reason to add him to the 40-man mess now. Wait til next year.

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    Joe Ryan is 25. tic toc. Time to get him in the show. Immediately if not sooner. 

    Jose Miranda. St. Paul is in the play-off hunt? Really? So, I hear over and over and over from the writers and so called experts how what happens in the Minors when it comes to a winning team doesn't matter. It is not about a team winning, it is about process and development. But all the sudden, it isn't, toward the end of the season? Right. Time to see if he can do the same thing he has done at AA and at AAA without a lull. Immediately if not sooner.

    Moran? I guess. Just about everytime I look at the boxes lately and he has been pitching he is giving it up and not looking so great, but I have not really been following his whole season. So sure, let's see him. He is already 24 and a lefty. I would rather see him than the Vincent's! (just checked out game logs... last 4 games.... gave up runs in 3 of them, 5 earned total, in 7.1 innings, 6 hits, 2 homers, 6 walks, 10Ks, 2 blown saves)

    Martin? Unless he is moved to AAA, he cannot be brought up this season anyway. Teams can only move players up from AAA this year (or the Taxi-squads, but I don't know if they are still doing the Taxi Squads now)

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    2 hours ago, Mike Sixel said:

    Is there any evidence this is true? That it is more valuable than playing in the majors and getting your feet wet? I really doubt it.

    I have no idea how Moran isn't up already. Ryan should be up and starting, given the injuries, at this point.

    No need to call up Martin. No idea where Miranda plays.

    Not saying it is the right decision (but the only reason I can think of), maybe their thinking is they don't expect him to be on the opening roster next year, and want to give the vets (or younger guys) a chance to see if they are worth keeping on the 40 this winter?

    We know or can assume one or many more of the following won't be back, but maybe they aren't sure yet on who and don't want to screw it up again letting somebody go. Albers, Farell, Law, Barnes, Barraclough, Coulombe, Duffey, Minaya, Garcia, Garza, Thorpe (and Smeltzer, Dobnak and Stashak, already on the 60)

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    3 hours ago, Rosterman said:

    It is interesting that Akil Baddoo wsa taken in the Rulke 5 draft. I would have been interested to be in on that discussion.

    Considering the Twins had Buxton and Kepler pencilled in. That they were going to give Kirilloff and Rooker a chance to break camp. Larnach was in the wings. Celestino was on the 40-man, along with Cave (and for a moment LaMonte Wade). The decision NOT to keep Wade was higher yet than Baddoo, who had been injured and not really played much above High A ball

    That being said, the Twins could've lost both Moran and Miranda in the Rule 5, too. That neither had played in AAA ball was a factor. We forget that both started the season at Wichita. And both still haven't received a call to the majors for some odd (not on the 40-man roster) decision. 

    I would figure out a way to get those two on the major league roster now. You can advance Cabbage to replace Miranda, and there is no shortage of bullpen arms that should be playing for the Saints rather than the assortment of minor league free agents who will again become minor league free agents........

    I can't remember the exact number, but the FO had the 40 man down to 33 or 34 at one point around the rule 5, I think. Several spots, more than 3 for sure, and I could be wrong, but at one point, as they were dropping players off the roster and preparing for the rule 5, I think it there were 7 spots open. Then they starting signing junk pitchers, most that have long since been gone, or still suck in AAA (like Ian Gibaut (7.38 ERA in 26 games with St Paul) from the Rangers and left-hander Brandon Waddell from the Pirates -just two of the many.)

    Right there are your spots for Baddoo and Wade. The spots were there. More than enough. The FO just blew it for junk pitching.

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    5 hours ago, Karbo said:

    I would keep the Saints players there until the season is done. hopefully they can get a good taste of a playoff run and be hungry for more. Learning to win is important, and the Saints seem to be learning their lessons well. Go Saints!

    No Triple-A playoffs this year. 

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    4 hours ago, Squirrel said:

    That's what I was going to add as I went through and read posts. That seems a no brainer.

    And no way Austin Martin gets a call up in September, no way. Not sure why he would even be on this list. They aren't going to add him to the 40-man when he doesn't need to be added this year. That would be foolish. If he's in AAA next year doing well, maybe he'll get a September call up in 2022. 

    Correct. Martin isn't getting called up. I would be surprised if anyone who doesn't need to be added to the 40-man roster this offseason gets added. That included Martin, Cano, etc. 

    With no Triple-A playoffs this year, that isn't a deterrent, but only a 28-man roster makes it tougher to add too many. 

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    3 hours ago, LA VIkes Fan said:

    I see that Maeda went on the IL. Who comes up?

    Sano. Who replaces Maeda will not be getting his roster spot, but somebody elses 26 man spot.

    From MLB Rumors - Aug. 23: As expected, the Twins placed Maeda on the 10-day injured list due to right forearm tightness.  The placement is retroactive to August 22.  Miguel Sano was reinstated from the paternity list and will take Maeda’s spot on the active roster.

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    That makes sense. No need to call up whoever is going to take his spot in the rotation yet since that spot won't come up until Friday or Saturday. Besides, we can always give Albers a start. I cringe at that, but I have to admit that the guy went 4 innings, one run in NY.  Lots of reasons that it could be a mirage - late innings in a blow out game, no one has seen him for 2-3 years, etc. - but he did perform when given the opportunity. Does make one wonder how he would do in a regular start in MN against Milwaukee this coming weekend. I have a feeling that we may just find out.  I'd even bet that he will be with the organization next year as a 6th or 7th starter in St. Paul and will wind up getting a few starts with the Twins. Who would have guessed that over the last couple of years?  

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    7 hours ago, Rosterman said:

    It is interesting that Akil Baddoo wsa taken in the Rulke 5 draft. I would have been interested to be in on that discussion.

     

    Considering the Twins had Buxton and Kepler pencilled in. That they were going to give Kirilloff and Rooker a chance to break camp. Larnach was in the wings. Celestino was on the 40-man, along with Cave (and for a moment LaMonte Wade). The decision NOT to keep Wade was higher yet than Baddoo, who had been injured and not really played much above High A ball

     

    That being said, the Twins could've lost both Moran and Miranda in the Rule 5, too. That neither had played in AAA ball was a factor. We forget that both started the season at Wichita. And both still haven't received a call to the majors for some odd (not on the 40-man roster) decision. 

     

    I would figure out a way to get those two on the major league roster now. You can advance Cabbage to replace Miranda, and there is no shortage of bullpen arms that should be playing for the Saints rather than the assortment of minor league free agents who will again become minor league free agents.

     

    The Twins do need to add Ryan this season., Remember, they can add two players in about a week, and I would expect that Strotman will also get a call. I would like to see Balazovic at least jump to AAA ball and help the Saints in their pennant run. So we are not destroying the hopes of the Saints, especially when you consider that Ryan has made only one start.

     

    Heck, option back down Barnes and/or Ober who have both had decent tryouts for the Twins and will need to do some winter work, come back stronger in the spring, and fight to be in the rotation.

     

    The suffering of minor league teams compared to Indy balls is that the minors are basically a training and proving ground for the major league club who has the right to move players around and about as they please. Not that being an Indy ball club will prevent a player from leaving if offered a major league system contract, or if they can sell a player and recoup more money.

     

    Like people have said in other posts, if the Twins cut, say, Simmons or Colome (or Pineda), it sends a message to other free agents who might sign with the club. Not sure what that message is...a job is a job and most players join a club as a free agent because the money was right, they wish to improve their status for future play, they hope to play great for a bad club as the season progresses to get traded to another better club. It was the job of the players, given every opportunity, to improve their own stick as the miserable season of the club they signed with progressed. Now the Twins have to think more of themselves and the future, and the future is advancing guys and getting them experience to make them more viable as alternative choices for big league jobs come 2022.

    Can't say I 100% agree with everything, but I think you make some solid points.

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    14 hours ago, Seth Stohs said:

    No Triple-A playoffs this year. 

    AAA season ending, and prospect availability before the end of the season, if that is one's concern.... is confusing to say the least...... The way I am reading it, all AAA teams, regardless of record, will play until October 3, in the Final Stretch, which will really mean ??????, as it is basically all teams playing 10 additional games (seedings and opponents?) against 2 different teams/5 game series, and a 10 game dash to best record in 10 games with tie breakers - and the team with the best record in those games, among all 30 Triple-A teams, will be “awarded a prize from Major League Baseball,” 

    The Champion is crowned, for the East, on Sept. 19 from the best record in the East after 120 game season. The West will have their own.

    St. Paul is currently 9.5 games back of Durham and behind 6 teams total.

    HELP!

    https://www.milb.com/news/playoffs-return-to-minor-league-baseball

    https://www.truebluela.com/2021/7/17/22580277/dodgers-minors-triple-a-schedule-oklahoma-city

     

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    20 hours ago, Mike Sixel said:

    Is there any evidence this is true? That it is more valuable than playing in the majors and getting your feet wet? I really doubt it.

    I have no idea how Moran isn't up already. Ryan should be up and starting, given the injuries, at this point.

    No need to call up Martin. No idea where Miranda plays.

    I don't know of any evidence, but I do know from playing sports when I was younger (too many years ago) that having a good year and winning does give you a better feel that you can do it again the next year.

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