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MLB Draft Signing Deadline: Who Will Sign By August 15th

Friday August 12, 2011

 

 

Rob Bland (Intern- MLB Reports):   With the August 15 deadline for all 2011 MLB draftees to sign, players and teams are getting down to the wire with negotiations.  Only two of the top ten picks have been signed, right-handed pitcher Trevor Bauer, and second baseman Cory Spangenberg by the Arizona Diamondbacks and San Diego Padres, respectively.  Of the 33 first round picks, 9 have signed, as well as 14 of the 27 picks in the supplemental first round.  It is expected that most of the picks from the first round will go down to the last hour, if not minute.  However, there is a lot of speculation about who will not sign, and the fans of each team are hoping and praying their team will get their guy.  Some players come into the draft with lofty expectations and high estimates of signing bonus money.  As a result, many of the lower budget franchises stay away from these players, and draft “safe” players, who will sign for a more reasonable price.

The Oakland Athletics’ GM Billy Beane was made famous through the book “Moneyball”, which portrayed the club as a bottom feeder organization financially.  They had to pick lesser talents in order to sign all their draft picks.  They shied away from the big “sexy” names on draft boards and targeted players with specific skill sets.  Other teams who have done this in the past to varying degrees of success are the Pittsburgh Pirates, Toronto Blue Jays and Kansas City Royals.  In the last couple of years, these organizations have turned their philosophies around, drafting tough to sign players with higher ceilings, and ending up signing most of them.  Today will highlight a few of the players drafted who will be tougher than others to sign.

From this year’s draft, one of the players who was known to be extremely difficult to sign was Josh Bell.  On talent alone, he was rated as an early first round pick, yet dropped to the second round to the Pittsburgh Pirates.  He had sent a letter to Major League Baseball advising teams not to draft him on account that he wanted to attend the University of Texas.  Some have said this was just a bargaining tool to simply add more leverage to his situation, while others think he will not sign under any circumstances.  It has been predicted that it will take a minimum of $10M and a Major League contract in order to sign him.  I feel that the Pirates are an extreme long shot to sign Bell, and he will attend U of T and be a Longhorn for the next three years.

High school right-handed pitcher Tyler Beede could have been a top 10 pick, with his 95 mph fastball and devastating change-up.  Beede was widely known to be seeking a bonus upwards of $3-4M.  The Toronto Blue Jays and their new management have made it a point to take the best player available when they it is their turn to select a player in the draft.  So, when it came to their turn as the 21st selection, the Jays did not hesitate to choose Beede, who has said it will come down to money in the long run.  I believe the Jays will sign him in the final minutes for close to $3M.

With the 5th overall pick, the Kansas City Royals had a tough decision to make.  Outfielder Bubba Starling, a hometown kid from Kansas, was widely considered the top prep offensive talent in the draft was still on the board.  Starling has a scholarship to the University of Nebraska to play both football and baseball.  It is very likely that a bonus upwards of $8M will be what it takes for Starling to sign with KC on August 15.  Expect this deal to get done.

Gerrit Cole, the flame throwing right-handed pitcher from UCLA was taken by the Pirates first overall in the draft.  Cole has reached 102 mph on radar guns and routinely hits triple digits.  Cole has yet to sign, but is widely expected to join the Pirates.  A Major League deal for 4 years and $8M or so is likely.

Rice University has been known to producing top talent, as witnessed by having eight first round picks in the last 11 years, most notably when Phil Humber and Jeff Niemann went 3rd and 4th overall in the 2004 draft.  Another first rounder from Rice was Lance Berkman in 1997.  So when one of the top three candidates for the first overall pick came down to an infielder from Rice, who just happened to win the Dick Howser Trophy, (essentially the Heisman Award for college baseball players), nobody was surprised.  Anthony Rendon may not have above average speed or the best glove, but he has an above average arm and was considered by most to be the best hitter in the country.  Rendon dropped to #6 to the Washington Nationals due to signability concerns but should sign for $4M plus.

Shortstops with ultra talent often get huge signing bonuses and Cleveland Indians’ first pick (8th overall), Francisco Lindor will be no exception.  Lindor has the talent to warrant a $3M bonus, but should hold out for more.  The Indians tend to shy away from this kind of pick, but the talent speaks for itself and I believe the Indians will go as high as $3.5M to sign the talented shortstop.

There has arguably not been a better high school pitcher in the last decade than flame throwing Dylan Bundy.  The right-hander has reached 100 mph and has 2 plus secondary pitches.  His high school pitching numbers are straight out of a video game.  71 innings, 2 earned runs. TWO!  He also had 158 strikeouts to 5 walks. FIVE WALKS!  Good for a 31.6:1 K:BB ratio.  Oh, and the fact that he can also hit, as evidenced by his 11 home runs and 54 RBI in only 105 at-bats doesn’t hurt.  The University of Texas commit could command a Major League contract and $6-8M.  He should sign; my guess is $6.5M.

 

Here is the breakdown of the entire 2011 first round of picks, with players in bold having already signed:

1 Gerrit Cole RHP Pittsburgh Pirates
2 Danny Hultzen LHP Seattle Mariners
3 Trevor Bauer RHP Arizona Diamondbacks – ML deal 4/$7M
4 Dylan Bundy RHP Baltimore Orioles
5 Bubba Starling OF Kansas City Royals
6 Anthony Rendon 3B Washington Nationals
7 Archie Bradley RHP Arizona Diamondbacks
8 Francisco Lindor SS Cleveland Indians
9 Javier Baez SS Chicago Cubs
10 Cory Spangenberg 2B San Diego Padres – $1.86M
11 George Springer OF Houston Astros
12 Taylor Jungmann RHP Milwaukee Brewers
13 Brandon Nimmo OF New York Mets
14 Jose Fernandez RHP Florida Marlins
15 Jed Bradley LHP Milwaukee Brewers
16 Chris Reed LHP LA Dodgers
17 C.J. Cron Jr. 1B LA Angels – $1.467M
18 Sonny Gray RHP Oakland Athletics – $1.54M
19 Matt Barnes RHP Boston Red Sox
20 Tyler Anderson LHP Colorado Rockies
21 Tyler Beede RHP Toronto Blue Jays
22 Kolten Wong 2B St. Louis Cardinals – $1.3M
23 Alex Meyer RHP Washington Nationals
24 Taylor Guerrieri RHP Tampa Bay Rays
25 Joe Ross RHP San Diego Padres
26 Blake Swihart C Boston Red Sox
27 Robert Stephenson RHP Cincinnati Reds
28 Sean Gilmartin LHP Atlanta Braves – $1.13M
29 Joe Panik SS San Francisco Giants – $1.116M
30 Levi Michael SS Minnesota Twins
31 Mikie Mahtook OF Tampa Bay Rays
32 Jake Hager SS Tampa Bay Rays – $963K
33 Kevin Matthews LHP Texas Rangers – $936K

 

I think that although you can’t be sure about these kinds of things, my gut feeling is that every first rounder this year will actually sign by August 15th.  I also predict that at least one signing will come minutes after the deadline, probably a Scott Boras client, and the league will allow the deal to pass.

 

 

 

***Today’s feature was prepared by our Intern, Rob Bland.  We highly encourage you to leave your comments and feedback at the bottom of the page and share in the discussion with our readers.  You can also follow Rob on Twitter.***

 

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Boston Red Sox: Who is on Their Radar? Jimenez to Indians and Trade Deadline Summary

Saturday July 30, 2011

 

Rob Bland (Intern- MLB Reports):   With the deadline only a day away, I expect a flurry of moves in the next 24 hours, and the Boston Red Sox are sure to get involved.  With injuries to Clay Buchholz and Daisuke Matsuzaka, combined with the inability of John Lackey to get outs, the BoSox have been in on every rumored starting pitcher being moved.  Here’s a look at Boston’s targets, and who they would have to give up in order to consummate a deal.

 

Hiroki Kuroda

The Japanese import could bring a good haul for the LA Dodgers, and it is believed that they are looking for a young catcher or a starting pitcher in return.  I don`t believe the Red Sox would give up Anthony Ranaudo for him, but it is the Red Sox, and their system is fairly stacked.  Kuroda isn`t a top line starter, but could fit in nicely behind Josh Beckett and Jon Lester right now.  In his last 10 starts, Kuroda is 1-8 with a 2.66 ERA, giving up more than three runs in a start only once.  He is on pace to break the 200 inning mark for the first time in his MLB career.

Prospects

I could see the Dodgers wanted a package that could involve Kyle Weiland, who has been at AAA, including a couple of underwhelming starts for the Red Sox.  He has been dominant in AAA, and while his ceiling might not be very high, Weiland could be a piece used to obtain Kuroda.

Former top pick Andrew Miller could be involved as well, as he has shown flashes of the potential that the Tigers saw to draft him 6th overall in the 2006 draft.

 

Jason Vargas (SEA), Aaron Harang (SDP), Jeremy Guthrie (BAL), Erik Bedard (SEA)

Vargas is another pitcher who hasn’t had much luck this year, going 6-9 with a 4.09 ERA.  He too is on pace to break the 200 inning plateau for the first time in his career.  He gives up a lot of fly balls and home runs, so he might not be the best fit for Fenway Park.

Harang has made the most of his move to spacious Petco Park.  In the pitcher’s haven, his ERA is 2.92, as opposed to 4.31 on road games.  Harang in Boston might not be a good fit due to his propensity to give up the long ball, but, whether it is due to the park or not, he has only given up 9 homeruns so far this year.

Playing the last five years in Baltimore will never help your win-loss record, but Guthrie has been a reliable arm for the Orioles over that time.  His career ERA of 4.16 while mostly pitching in the AL East proves that he could be a capable pitcher for the Red Sox.  Although he is 5-14, he has pitched fairly well this year, and could be great addition to the back-end of the Red Sox rotation.

Bedard’s once promising career has been derailed by injury after injury.  He has always possessed tremendous stuff, but hasn’t been able to stay healthy.  In his last ten starts, he has thrown 58 2/3 innings, striking out 64.  Bedard has never amassed 200 innings, and his career high is 196, in 2006.

All of these pitchers are available and the Red Sox are in talks with each of the respective teams.  Many of the prospects mentioned in this article will be in play, as well as Bryce Brentz, a powerful outfielder in high-A.  He needs to cut down on strikeouts but he is a solid right fielder for the future.

 

Reed Johnson

The Cubs` outfielder could bring a spark of energy to the club.  J.D. Drew is on the DL, again, so they do need an outfielder if they want to upgrade over Josh Reddick or Darnell McDonald.  Johnson plays great defense and is hitting the ball pretty well this year, so he could slot into right field well at Fenway.

23-year-old catcher Ryan Lavarnway could be involved in a deal. He is a young catcher that isn`t too far away from the big leagues.  Lavarnway has a lot of power as shown by his 27 home runs already this year.   He is known as a good game caller and a smart catcher.

 

Ubaldo Jimenez 

Ubaldo Jimenez has tremendous upside and is signed to a team-friendly contract through 2014.  The Colorado Rockies are asking for a prospect haul that most teams can’t even match.  At this point, only the Detroit Tigers, New York Yankees and Toronto Blue Jays, together with the Red Sox are involved in talks with the Rockies.  Although just 6-9 this year with a 4.20 ERA, he has made some great strides in the last couple of months.  In his last 10 starts, he is 5-4 with 3.47 ERA and 64 strikeouts in 62 1/3 innings.  Jimenez has lowered his ERA almost a full run during that time.  Although some teams worry about his delivery, the big righty has been durable, throwing at least 198 innings in the last three years, and is on pace to break that mark again this year.

Prospects

Anthony Ranaudo, a supplemental 1st round pick in 2010 started this season in A-ball, but could quickly shoot up the system in Colorado if moved.  He possesses three above average pitcher and has front of the rotation stuff.  He has good control and has great makeup and poise.

Will Middlebrooks is a prototypical third basemen with a good glove.  He hits for average, and for power, evidenced by his 17 home runs so far this season.  He also has 7 stolen bases.  He possesses a good baseball IQ and he should have a long career in the big leagues.

Lars Anderson was once considered the top bat in the Red Sox system, and with Adrian Gonzalez in the mix, there doesn`t seem to be a spot for Anderson.  He has good vision at the plate, sees a lot of pitches, and has gap power.  As he continues to fill out, he will get stronger.  I expect 20 home runs and 30 doubles a year out of Anderson when he finally does make it to the Show.

 

I think that the Red Sox win the Ubaldo Jimenez sweepstakes, sending uber-prospects Ranaudo, Middlebrooks, Anderson and maybe one or two players to be named later.  This gives the Red Sox a fearsome top three starters in Beckett, Lester and Jimenez.  If Buchholz comes back healthy, they have an incredible rotation for years to come.  Reed Johnson is also a great fit for the team, and I see them making a move for him.

***Today’s feature was prepared by our Intern, Rob Bland.  Please feel free to leave comments and to welcome Rob aboard.  You can also follow Rob on Twitter.***

 

 

Editor’s Notes and Trade Deadline Summary:

A great article by our intern Rob Bland.  As the trade deadline has shown already, as much as we think we can predict what will happen- surprises will always occur.  Today was the last day before the non-waiver trade deadline, Sunday July 31st.  Here is a rundown of all the trades that took place today in Major League Baseball:

Rich Harden (A’s) for Lars Anderson and Player to be Named Later (Red Sox):  Yet to be announced.  This deal has not yet been finalized and may fall through.  Likely Billy Beane is pushing strong for this one.  Boston gets Harden, a talented but very injury prone pitcher that cannot be counted on.  Oakland would get a top young hitting prospect in Anderson and a PTBNL.  Oakland wins if this one does happen, stay tuned.

Ubaldo Jimenez (Rockies) for Drew Pomeranz, Alex White, Joe Gardner and Matt McBride (Indians):  What a difference a year makes.  The Indians are going for it and have beefed up their rotation with the addition of Jimenez.  When on his game, Ubaldo is one of the best in baseball.  Further, Ubaldo continues to be under team control, so the Indians don’t simply acquire a summer rental here.  The keys to this deal for the Rockies are Pomeranz and White.  Considered to be the Indians two best pitching prospects, the Rockies add to their farm while losing their ace.  While Pomeranz is considered highly in baseball circles, I would have expected to see the Rockies get more major league ready talent.  Considering that they were supposed to get Jesus Montero and Ivan Nova from the Yankees or Yonder Alonso, Yasmani Grandal and/or Homer Bailey from the Reds, I give the Indians the edge on this deal.  Ace pitchers do not grow on trees and the Indians got one without giving up any of their major league talent or some of their other finer prospects, including Nick Weglarz.  Competing with the big boys, the Indians get the prize of the trade deadline and likely a division title as well.

Derek Lee (Orioles) for Aaron Baker (Pirates):  The Pirates are going for it and while Lee is an aging first baseman, he is an upgrade offensively over incumbent Lyle Overbay.  Baker is a Class A first baseman that is not considered a top prospect.  This trade is a draw, as the Pirates beef up for their playoff run and the Orioles auction off an impending free agent to stock their system.

Orlando Cabrera (Indians) for Thomas Neal (Giants):  This deal came out of left field, as the Indians are still contending and were expected to hold onto Cabrera.  With many young infielders on their roster, the Indians were prepared to sacrifice their utility man for one of the Giants higher rated prospect bats.  Speaking to Neal on several occasions, he is one of the nicer young men you will ever want to meet in the game.  Considered a great tools player, both offensively and defensively, the Indians have added another piece to their offensive puzzle while sacrificing a veteran that was expandable.  The Giants, with injury and offensive woes, took a chance on Cabrera, a good luck charm for each of his respective teams in the postseason.  While Neal was a big price to pay, the Giants are in win-now mode.  A draw, as both teams will away happy from this exchange.

Koji Uehara (Orioles) for Tommy Hunter and Chris Davis (Rangers):  This is a good old-fashioned baseball trade.  The Rangers pick up a veteran reliever, who is enjoying his finest campaign in the big leagues and could be a setup man or closer.  The Orioles continue to stockpile prospects and add a starter and first baseman to their mix.  Davis has one of the most explosive bats in the game when he gets hot and the Orioles could have their cleanup hitter for the next 5-7 years.  Hunter should be a good #3 or #4 starter for the team.  A draw as both teams achieve their respective goals in this deal.

Jason Marquis (Nationals) for Zach Walters (Diamondbacks):  I am a fan of what the Diamondbacks are doing in Arizona, but this trade doesn’t work for me.  Marquis will pitch in Arizona, but I don’t see him being the effective starter the team needs to fight the Giants for a playoff berth.  Walters is a prospect shortstop who could have been Stephen Drew‘s replacement one day when he left the team.  Walters has a good offensive bat and was not worth the price of Marquis.  Advantage Washington for adding another prospect to its growing farm while dumping a veteran pitcher that had no place on their roster.

Mike Aviles (Royals) for Yamaico Navarro and Kendal Volz (Red Sox):  The Red Sox get some sort of infield insurance, which was unnecessary in my estimation with both Marco Scutaro and Jed Lowrie on the roster.  If Lowrie is out beyond early August as projected, then this deal makes sense.  Otherwise, to give up two decent prospects for a player who has struggled this season and is unlikely to hit much in Boston does not equate for me.  Advantage Royals for dumping a player who did not fit on the team and continuing to stock their system.

Jerry Hairston Jr. (Nationals) for Erik Komatsu (Brewers):  The Brewers get depth for their playoff run and the Nationals get a marginal prospect back.  A draw.

Doug Fister and David Pauley (Mariners) for Francisco Martinez, Casper Wells, Charlie Furbush and a PTBNL (Tigers):  For a Tigers team that was considered early in the day to be in the hunt for Ubaldo Jimenez, this one is a bit of a let down.  Fister will be a #4 or #5 starter for the Tigers, good but not great.  Pauley was having an incredible season for the Mariners in their pen and should do well in Comerica.  Wells will likely slot immediately into the Mariners outfield and the rest of the players are prospects to their stock their farm.  While I’m not excited about what Detroit received, I am equally not impressed by what they gave up.  Call this one a draw.  Middle of the road players for players at this point.

Denard Span (Twins) for Drew Storen and ? (Nationals): Yet to be announced.  This one is a real head scratcher for me.  I consider Span a good, but not great outfielder.  This trade is not completed although many outlets are reporting that this deal will get done.  The Nationals would give up their young closer if this deal happens and considerably weaken their bullpen.  Span, while playing a strong centerfield is not the offensive bat the Nationals are looking for.  After taking the Twins to the cleaners a year ago in trading Matt Capps for Wilson Ramos, this trade would be payback for the Twins.  If Storen is part of this deal, advantage Twins.  If the Nationals hang on to their closer, consider it a draw.

Rafael Furcal and cash (Dodgers) for an unknown player (Cardinals):  Yet to be announced.  With Dee Gordon in the minors and money woes being an issue, this trade for the Dodgers is about getting younger and saving money in the process.  The Cardinals are pushing for a playoff spot and if healthy, Furcal should give the team a spark offensively.  Personally, I would not trust Furcal based on his injury history.  It also remains to be seen which player the Cardinals get back.  But overall, without all the specifics, if the Dodgers can unload Furcal and have the Cardinals pick up most of his contract, I will label this trade a Dodgers win.

Ryan Ludwick (Padres) for an unknown player (Indians):  Yet to be announced.  The Indians are looking to make a strong playoff run and former Indian Luckwick would fit well in their offense this year.  It remains to be seen what the Indians have to give up, but for a player in as strong demand as Ludwick, as long as it is not too much, give the edge to the Indians.

 

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Analyzing the 2011 MLB Draft: 1st Round Steals and Misses

Tuesday June 7, 2011

 

 

MLB reports:  Day one of the 2011 MLB Draft is now in the books and we are moving on to Round 2.  The most hyped draft in recent memory did not disappoint, as the results of Round 1 featured many surprises and shockers.  With the amount of mock drafts and industry experts covering the big event, you would think that the first round results would have been more predictable.  But many teams took diverse routes in making their selections in the first round and now the second-guessing begins.  While the analysis may look very different in 1-5 years from now, the day after the draft- we take a look at the highlights of the first round and our most noted steals and misses.

 

STEALS

6.  Washington Nationals:  Anthony Rendon, 3B, Rice

A team is simply not supposed to land the top hitter of the draft at the #6 slot but that is exactly what the Nationals did with Rendon.  If not for injury concerns, Rendon would have gone as one of the first two picks.  While Rendon does carry some risk, the Nationals loved his upside and had to make the selection.  The best pick of the draft for the slot in my opinion.

 

12.  Milwaukee Brewers:  Taylor Jungmann, RHP, Texas

15.  Milwaukee Brewers (for unsigned 2010 first rounder Dylan Covey):  Jed Bradley, LHP, Georgia Tech

The Brewers really cleaned up by landing not one but two top-ten starting pitchers by drafting Jungmann and Bradley.  Jungmann is the 6’6″ gunslinging Texas pitcher and Bradley is one of the top lefty pitchers.  Just like that, in one round the Brewers began the process of restocking their farm system with top pitching prospects.

 

19.  Boston Red Sox (from Tigers for Type-A Victor Martinez):  Matt Barnes, RHP, UConn

26.  Boston Red Sox (from Rangers for Type-A Adrian Beltre):  Blake Swihart, C, Rio Rancho (N.M.) Cleveland HS

The mighty Red sox were at it again by landing a top-ten starting pitcher and the top catching prospect in the draft with the #19 and #26 picks.  Barnes was considered to go high, considering his 6’4′, 205 lbs frame and fluid delivery.  Then Swihart, whom the Red Sox were known to have targeted at #19, fell all the way to them at #26.  A great day for a team that knows how to draft well, plain and simple.

 

24.  Tampa Bay Rays (from Red Sox for Type-A Carl Crawford):  Taylor Guerrieri, RHP, Columbia (S.C.) Spring Valley HS

31.  Tampa Bay Rays (from Yankeesfor Type-A Rafael Soriano):  Mikie Mahtook, OF, LSU

With ten top picks, the Rays were armed with the means to obtain prospects and they got two great ones in Guerrieri and Mahtook.  Maturity issues dogged Guerrieri and based on talent alone, he should have gone in the top-12.  Mahtook was seen as a possible Mets pick at #13, with a solid glove, bat and speed.  Possibly the next Carl Crawford, the Rays showed that good scouting pays off even when you draft late.  The Rays may have lost Crawford and Soriano to free agency but they will have the last laugh when both Guerrieri and Mahtook make the majors one day.

 

MISSES

13.  New York Mets:  Brandon Nimmo, OF Cheyenne East (Wyo.) HS

Nimmo was picked for the most part based on signability and cost.  With the Mets in financial limbo, the team passed on many far superior talents to take Nimmo at #13.  The kid is considered a project as he never played high school ball and should have been a 2nd round pick.  For a team that desperately needs to rebuild its system, this pick will be a miss.

 

16.  Los Angeles Dodgers:  Chris Reed, LHP, Stanford

See Nimmo at #13.  The Dodgers are in poor shape financially and like the Mets made their selection based on cost and signability.  For another kid that was projected to be a 2nd round pick and also likely to be a reliever, this draft slot was too much of a reach.  Overall a great opportunity for Reed, but a huge blow to the Dodgers farm system.

 

18.  Oakland Athletics:  Sonny Gray, RHP, Vanderbilt

Reports have Oakland viewing Gray as a starter, but I see the #18 pick likely as a future reliever.  Based on his size (5’11”), there will be questions of durability and ability to succeed at the major league level.  With so many quality prospects still available, the jury is definitely out on this pick.

 

29.  San Francisco Giants:  Joe Panik, SS, St. John’s

The media will have a field day with this pick as the Giants appear to have made a “Panik” move with the selection of Joe Panik in the first round.  In desperate need of offense, the Giants opted to grab a shortstop late.  With Josh Bell still on the board, a higher risk/reward pick may have been in order.  Panik has a strong glove and decent bat, but does not project to have first round type talent. 

 

30.  Minnesota Twins:  Levi Michael, SS, North Carolina

See Panik at #29.  The Twins were in the same boat as the Giants when making their selection.  However, the difference is that the Giants are open to spending on draft selections while the Twins tend to be more fiscally responsible (cheap).  With the new ballpark in place, the Twins should have gone after a selection with higher upside.  They played it safe with Michael, but the ceiling is not high enough to warrant the selection with Bell and Purke still available.

 

 

Previous Draft Articles by MLB reports:

The 2011 MLB Draft:  Recap of the Results, 1st Round Picks and Future Stars

Updating the 2011 MLB Draft:  Baseball Prospects and Draft Projections

The 2011 MLB Draft: The Report and Inside Scoops

 

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