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July 13, 2007
Top 100 Stock Check
1. Alex Gordon, 3B, Royals
I'm convinced that the Alex Gordon that hit .327/.383/.500 in June is the real one, and that he's the one you'll see from here on out, only with more power.
2. Philip Hughes, RHP, Yankees, 21
Hughes looked great in a rehab start this week; though his control was a bit off, he touched 94 mph consistently. He deserves a return to the big leagues, and will be the best pitcher on the Yankee staff by 2009, if not earlier.
3. Delmon Young, OF, Devil Rays, 21
More than anyone else, he still reminds me of a young Vladimir Guerrero. He'll be fine once he realizes that just because you can hit any pitch doesn't mean you should swing at any pitch.
4. Homer Bailey, RHP, Reds, 21
Not as dominant as expected in Triple-A, and struggling in the big leagues. He should still be great, just not as good as he looked a year ago.
5. Brandon Wood, SS, Angels, 22
The power is finally starting to come around, with 10 home runs in his last 36 games, but the high strikeout totals are now officially a source of concern, leaving one to wonder if he's just a more powerful version of Travis Fryman.
6. Tim Lincecum, RHP, Giants, 23
His 12 big league starts have been a mixture of good, bad, and at times, amazing. He should be an ace within a few years.
7. Cameron Maybin, OF, Tigers, 20
The good news is that he hits for average (.303), his power continues to grow, as does his walk rate, and he's on pace to steal 50 bases. The bad news? He strikes out once every 3.5 at-bats.
8. Chris B. Young, CF, Diamondbacks, 23
You have to love the fact that he has an outside shot at 30 home runs and 20 stolen bases, but the long swing and a depressing loss of plate discipline has his OBP sitting at a measly .277. Maybe the Mike Cameron comps were more fair than we thought.
9. Jay Bruce, OF, Reds, 20
Just 20 years old, he's already moved up to Double-A, where he's hitting .328/.406/.672 in his first 15 Southern League games. The best hitting prospect in the minors? You could make that argument and win.
10. Evan Longoria, 3B, Devil Rays, 21
Hitting .301/.396/.522 at Double-A Montgomery in his first full season, plus he's walking more than ever. Still a stud.
11. Reid Brignac, SS, Devil Rays, 21
Last year's Cal League MVP stumbled out of the gate as Longoria's left-side infield partner, and sits at just .254/.306/.419 after 84 games. Word of warning: Brignac is a streaky hitter, and he's 12-for-29 with four doubles and a pair of home runs in his last six games, so it could be the start of a run.
12. Ryan Braun, 3B, Brewers, 23
Man, did I get a lot of flak from readers, many of them Brewers fans, for ranking Braun ahead of Gallardo on my Brewers Top 10 list--and I love Gallardo. However, Braun is one of those beyond-special kind of hitters, and he's proven it with 108 total bases in his first 40 big league games.
13. Matt Garza, RHP, Twins, 23
Garza had some injury problems in spring training, and then was good-not-great in half a season at Triple-A before the Twins finally realized that he could help them right now. He might not be as highly regarded as he was last year, when he was maybe the best pitcher in minor league baseball, but he's still awfully good.
14. Yovani Gallardo, RHP, Brewers, 21
I'd take Gallardo over Bailey or Garza right now. He outpitched both at Triple-A this year, and keeping him in the big leagues to pitch out of the bullpen is another reason the Brewers will end up winning the Central.
15. Andrew McCutchen, CF, Pirates, 20
McCutchen started the year by going hitless in 10 of his first 12 contests, and while his averages have climbed slowly yet steadily from there, he's still at just .240/.309/.351, and his OPS is 302 points higher (868 vs. 566) against lefties.
16. Clayton Kershaw, LHP, Dodgers, 19
Despite some occasional inconsistencies, Kershaw still sports a 2.12 ERA and twice as many strikeouts (102) than hits allowed (50) while showing the kind of stuff that scouts see out of teenage left-handers once in a generation.
17. Andrew Miller, LHP, Tigers, 22
He's pitched better than expected, but one wonders how sustainable it is with his ratios, including a 25/17 K/BB mark in 35.1 big league innings.
18. Fernando Martinez, OF, Mets, 18
Yes, a .271 batting average at Double-A is very impressive for a 18-year-old, but he's showing no secondary skills, and more scouts are speaking up about his inability to play center field.
19. Adam Miller, RHP, Indians, 22
Will likely spend the second half of the year in the Cleveland bullpen, hoping to give them a Gallardo-like boost. That said, wile his showing in the first half at Buffalo was often good, it was rarely awe-inspiring.
20. Andy LaRoche, 3B, Dodgers, 23
He was doing little at Triple-A, and struggled in big league debut before heading to DL with shoulder problems. A reason for optimism is that he's 12-for-30 with 23 total bases since returning to the lineup.
21. Billy Butler, OF, Royals, 21
He's a hitting machine. It's his only tool, but it's such a remarkable one that you don't care that he lacks any other baseball-related skill.
22. Jose Tabata, OF, Yankees, 18
Look, the kid can most definitely hit, but what's the market for a corner outfielder with limited power? It still might come, but people are now talking more in the 15-20 homer range, rather than the 30+ they did when he first hit the States.
23. Luke Hochevar, RHP, Royals, 23
A scout recently told me that Hochevar would be fine once he learned to "trust his stuff more." This made sense in one way, as Hochevar's stuff is very, very good, but at the same time brought back issues that many scouting directors had going into the 2005 draft about Hochevar being a little soft. With a 4.69 ERA in 94 innings at Double-A Wichita, there is legitimate cause for concern.
24. Troy Tulowitzki, SS, Rockies, 22
After a slow start, Tulowitzki has seven home runs and a slugging percentage over .500 since June 1. Currently at .286/.358/.432 and going up, don't be surprised if he's a legitimate Rookie of the Year candidate by the end of the season.
25. Jeff Niemann, RHP, Devil Rays, 24
Finally healthy, Niemann has simply been decent at Triple-A, with a 3.75 ERA and more than a hit allowed per inning. It's hard to see any ace potential in him any more.
26. Philip Humber, RHP, Mets, 24
Very similar to Niemann, but a little worse in performance (4.48 ERA). I know, Rice pitchers not living up to expectations--shocking, huh?
27. Brandon Erbe, RHP, Orioles, 19
Erbe has a 5.27 ERA, but consider this: On May 16, he gave up 12 runs on 12 hits in three innings. Two weeks later, seven runs in 3.2 frames, and last week he surrendered eight runs without getting out of the third. Take those three starts away and you have this:
IP H BB SO ERA 74.1 57 38 64 3.15
Now that's not necessarily fair, and he's still down, as his control has regressed, and he's yet to develop usable secondary stuff. However, he's still 19, in High-A, and still in possession of a high ceiling.
28. Nick Adenhart, RHP, Angels, 21
His 3.33 ERA is actually good for fifth in the Texas League, but he's rarely dominated, while also missing time with shoulder soreness.
29. Justin Upton, OF, Diamondbacks, 19
Note to self: When a kid enters the pros out of high school with scouting reports the likes of which have not been seen since Griffey or A-Rod, it's OK to forgive the first season if it's not so good. When the tools are great on a historical level, trust them, or you'll do something really stupid like rank him only 29th in your top 100, you dope.
30. Mike Pelfrey, RHP, Mets, 23
Man, he has one heckuva fastball. Yup, sure is a good fastball. Unfortunately, that's really all you can say, because the lack of a breaking ball is just killing him in the big leagues.
31. Carlos Gonzalez, OF, Diamondbacks, 21
Since when does a .256/.296/.438 line get you into the Futures Game? Gonzalez has done little since moving up to Double-A last year, and much of it points to an undisciplined approach that seems to be getting worse, not better.
32. Scott Elbert, LHP, Dodgers, 21
Three starts with 24 strikeouts in 14 innings at Double-A Jacksonville and then shoulder soreness that required time on the DL before Elbert finally underwent arthroscopic surgery. It seems like all they did was clean out some scar tissue, and we won't really know where the stuff is until he takes the mound next year.
33. Franklin Morales, LHP, Rockies, 21
His pure stuff ranks with that of any left-hander in the minors, but when he can't control his breaking ball (which is more often the case than not this year), he becomes a one-pitch guy--and everyone can hit fastballs.
34. Carlos Gomez, OF, Mets, 21
A never-ending stream of injuries forced the Mets to rush Gomez to the big leagues, where we got to see tons of promise, and tons of work that still needs to be done. There's still star potential here, and there were plenty of nights where he was the most exciting player on the field.
35. Chuck Lofgren, LHP, Indians, 22
The 97 strikeouts in 93.1 innings are nice, but the 4.53 ERA and 96 hits allowed shows us that his breaking ball is still a work in progress.
36. Donald Veal, LHP, Cubs, 22
The question going into the year was would Veal's ability to prevent hits continue to make up for serious control problems. With a 5.57 ERA at Double-A in 84 innings, the answer thus far is no.
37. Carlos Carrasco, RHP, Phillies, 20
Moved up to Double-A after 12 starts, Carrasco has limited opposing batters to a .199 average (64 H in 90.1 IP), but his dipping strikeout rate (67 K's) mitigates things somewhat.
38. Eric Hurley, RHP, Rangers, 21
Moved up after putting up a 3.25 ERA in 15 games at Double-A Frisco, Hurley is holding his own at Triple-A, and on pace for a September look. No great step forward, and certainly not one backwards; he's simply meeting high expectations.
39. Dexter Fowler, OF, Rockies, 21
After snapping his wrist while diving for a catch, Fowler's season has already ended at .273/.397/.367 at High-A Modesto. In some ways, he regressed into a singles and walks guy, which isn't all bad, but that's not the multi-faceted breakout that seemed to be coming.
40. Travis Snider, OF, Blue Jays, 19
Hitting .313/.382/.509 in his first full season at Low-A Lansing, Snider was the nearly universal choice of opposing league pitchers when asked, "Who is the toughest hitter you've faced this year?"
41. Clay Buchholz, RHP, Red Sox, 22
The jump in stuff that we saw at the end of last year became permanent, as Buchholz blossomed from "just" one of the better righty pitching prospects around to arguably the best after posting a 1.77 ERA in 86.2 innings for Double-A Portland, boosted by 116 strikeouts and just 55 hits allowed.
42. Felix Pie, OF, Cubs, 22
Batting .389/.443/.563 at Triple-A Iowa, yet just .216/.272/.345 in the big leagues--the truth likely lies somewhere in between.
43. Adam Lind, OF, Blue Jays, 23
After a .288/.367/.519 April in the majors, Lind has fallen off the table, sitting at just .230/.274/.383 going into the break, including a sub-500 OPS against lefties.
44. Adam Jones, OF, Mariners, 21
Three consecutive years than can be classified as breakouts is a remarkably difficult task to achieve, yet Jones has done just that, batting .309/.377/.585 at Triple-A Tacoma while already establishing a new career high with 21 home runs.
45. Jacob McGee, LHP, Devil Rays, 20
With a 2.97 ERA at High-A Vero Beach and 119 strikeouts in 94 innings, McGee is having another outstanding season. The only issue is that his fastball is so good that his secondary pitches still lag behind because he doesn't use them enough.
46. Jason Hirsh, RHP, Rockies, 25
Hirsh has been an average big league starter in his first full season, though that might also be his ceiling, as a 66/42 K/BB ratio is nothing to write home about.
47. Hunter Pence, OF, Astros, 24
Unorthodox in his batting stroke to the end, Pence has silenced his detractors after a .342/.367/.589 run in his first 64 big league games.
48. Jacoby Ellsbury, OF, Red Sox, 23
Ellsbury was the hottest hitter in the minors for the first two weeks of the season, batting .452/.518/.644 in 17 games for Double-A Portland, but he came down to earth at Triple-A Pawtucket with a .286/.361/.380 line. And that's the question--will he hit .300+? That is what's needed to make up for his lack of power and only average walk rate.
49. Chris Iannetta, C, Rockies, 24
Iannetta lost his starting job, and with good reason, as he's sitting at just .198/.318/.321 going into the second half. It's hard to figure out how he's going to turn around to the right direction while sitting around in a backup role.
50. Colby Rasmus, OF, Cardinals, 20
Ahead of schedule by playing at Double-A, a bulked-up Rasmus has already tied last year's total with 16 home runs, although he's batting just .256.
51. Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C, Braves, 22
Finally healthy, Salty had a 1000+ OPS at Double-A Mississippi before moving up to the big leagues, where he continues to rake as the Braves try to find a way to get both his and Brian McCann's bat in the lineup.
52. Kevin Kouzmanoff, 3B, Padres, 25>
After starting the year 9-for-83, Kouzmanoff is batting .295 with a .490 slugging percentage. He can hit, and he'll be fine.
53. Joey Votto, 1B, Reds, 23
If Scott Hatteberg is dealt by the deadline, Votto will step in for the second half. He's hitting for average (.315) at Triple-A Louisville and still drawing a ton of walks (.412 OBP), but the power (11 homers in 305 at-bats) is still a way off, and he still has trouble against left-handers (.260/.381/.364).
54. James Loney, 1B/OF, Dodgers, 23
After not making the big league squad out of spring training, Loney's .279/.345/.382 line at Triple-A Las Vegas was chalked up to a case of big league-itis. Finally returned to the majors, he's at .385/.442/.603 in 78 at-bats, with the Dodgers finally coming around to the fact that he needs to be in the lineup on a daily basis.
55. Billy Rowell, 3B, Orioles, 18
Last year's first-round pick missed the first part of the season with a strained oblique, and he's hitting a disappointing .278/.350/.411 in 42 games at Low-A Delmarva with just three home runs in 158 at-bats.
56. Joba Chamberlain, RHP, Yankees, 21
With 99 strikeouts and just 45 hits allowed in 67.2 innings, Chamberlain has put himself among the elite righthanded prospects in the minors. An ability to stay healthy remains a concern, as he missed some time with a hamstring injury.
57. Troy Patton, LHP, Astros, 21
Moved up to Triple-A after a 2.99 ERA in 16 Texas League starts, Patton allowed one run over seven innings in his Round Rock debut, and should enter spring training next year with an excellent shot at a rotation job.
58. John Danks, LHP, White Sox, 22
Inconsistency as a 22-year-old rookie is the expectation, but Danks has shown all the abilities to still project as a very good No. 3 starter on a long-term basis.
59. Jeff Clement, C, Mariners, 24
He earns only the 'slightly' modifier because despite coming alive with the bat and hitting .274/.366/.517 at Triple-A Tacoma, he's doing the majority of damage against Triple-A left-handers, and his defense behind the plate remains sub-par.
60. Trevor Crowe, OF, Indians, 23
While Crowe is hitting .326/.396/.628 in July, that's brought his overall numbers up to just .225/.315/.309 after a miserable first half. He needs to find the magic from last year that made him one of the most exciting leadoff men in the minors.
61. Edinson Volquez, RHP, Rangers, 23
The Rangers made an interesting gamble by sending Volquez all the way down to High-A Bakersfield to start the season in an attempt to build up his confidence and work on his command. It paid off to the tune of a 7.13 ERA in seven starts. He's been much better at Double-A Frisco, with a 3.86 ERA in 10 games, but he's nowhere close to looking like the savior he once resembled.
62. Daric Barton, 1B, Athletics, 21
The A's are looking to makes some moves to get Barton in the lineup after he hit .454/.500/.657 in June, reaching base 60 times in 27 games. Now at .321/.405/.483 overall for Triple-A Sacramento, he still profiles as a Mark Grace/John Olerud type of first baseman with a high OBP, but also one who forces his team to find power from somewhere else in the lineup.
63. Sean West, RHP, Marlins, 21
West underwent surgery to repair a torn labrum prior to the season, so we won't see his name in a box score until 2008.
64. Angel Villalona, 3B, Giants, 16
A .259/.305/.463 line is mighty impressive for a 16-year-old in his pro debut. Scouts love the bat, but they're also convinced that with his size, he's pegged as no more than a first base/designated hitter type.
65. Humberto Sanchez, RHP, Yankees, 24
Going into the year with a bad rap for never staying healthy, Sanchez's elbow problems finally forced him into surgery, and he'll miss the year recovering from a Tommy John procedure.
66. Ubaldo Jimenez, RHP, Rockies, 23
Expected to compete for a job in the big league rotation, he's instead languishing at Triple-A Colorado Springs with a 6.09 ERA.
67. Travis Buck, OF, Athletics, 23
Like everyone else on the Oakland roster, Buck can't stay healthy, but he broke camp in the majors and proved that last year's breakout was for real with a .283/.385/.489 line in 54 games.
68. Ryan Tucker, RHP, Marlins, 20
Tucker has made little progress harnessing his power stuff, getting by mostly on his fastball to put up a 3.52 ERA at High-A Jupiter, but striking out barely over six per nine.
69. Ryan Sweeney, OF, White Sox, 22
A housecleaning on the South Side will give Sweeney another shot, but when you're in your fifth year as a pro and your second at Triple-A, you're not allowed to talk about power potential like you used to. Let's face it, he's never going to become the 25-30 home run guy people saw in him coming out of high school, no matter how good he looks in a uniform.
70. Ian Stewart, 3B, Rockies, 22
His .299/.382/.480 line at Triple-A Colorado Springs is not a comeback season--his .261/.346/.418 road line tells the real story. There's no such thing as a three-year slump, and 2004's Sally League MVP season looks more and more like a fluke.
71. Christopher Volstad, RHP, Marlins, 20
It's easy to get excited about tall strike-throwing righties with high groundball ratios, but it's more difficult when they've given up 128 hits in 106 innings.
72. Josh Fields, 3B, White Sox, 24
Fields kept hitting at Triple-A and his filled in admirably for an injured Joe Crede since moving up. Fields is hitting .252/.308/.441 for the White Sox; in Crede's first full big league year, he hit a similar .261/.308/.433.
73. Jonathan Sanchez, LHP, Giants, 24
The Giants finally settled on using Sanchez as a reliever, and he's been a darn good one, limiting fellow left-handers to a 4-for-39 (.103) mark with 19 strikeouts.
74. Brandon Morrow, RHP, Mariners, 22
One of the most shocking roster selections of the spring was the placement of Morrow in the big league bullpen. Since that surprise, he's been great at times, pitching primarily off his plus-plus fastball, but at the same time, he's been used for just 32 innings and walked more batters (33) than he has struck out (32). Wouldn't a year in the Double-A rotation, where he would be forced to develop his secondary pitches and work on his control, have done much more for his development? I don't understand how a team could make this poor a decision with a $2.45 million investment.
75. William Inman, RHP, Brewers, 20
The big question revolved around how Inman's below-average stuff and elite-level command would play at the higher levels. He cruised through his High-A test with a 1.72 ERA in 13 starts for Brevard County, but he's hit a bit of a wall at Double-A Huntsville, with a 6.84 mark in six starts.
76. Miguel Montero, C, Diamondbacks, 23
Montero has been a solid part-time catcher in the big leagues, hitting .243/.303/.404. Based on Chris Snyder's performance, Montero deserves to be playing much more often.
77. Wade Davis, RHP, Devil Rays, 21
A promotion to Double-A has done little to slow down the power righty, who has a 1.97 ERA in 18 starts and 116 strikeouts in 109.2 innings.
78. Erick Aybar, SS, Angels, 23
Taking over Chone Figgins' role as the guy who can play anywhere, Aybar is still one of the more exciting players to watch, but pitchers have caught on to his swing-at-anything approach, which is why he's hitting an unacceptable .236/.280/.268.
79. Matt Harrison, RHP, Braves, 21
Consistent yet rarely dominant. Harrision's 3.23 ERA ranks among the Southern League leaders, though his peripheral stats still fail to impress.
80. Brent Lillibridge, SS, Braves, 23
Last year's breakout is looking a little fluky, as the power, walks, and speed are all down this year. Lillibridge has hit .269/.336/.366 while splitting time between Double- and Triple-A.
81. Glen Perkins, LHP, Twins, 24
Perkins pitched fairly well out of the big league bullpen before landing on the DL with a shoulder strain. He's starting his rehab work this week, and could be getting his arm stretched out as well for a return to starting.
82. Sean Gallagher, RHP, Cubs, 21
Gallagher got roughed up in a brief big league callup, but he's continued to perform as a starter in the minors, reaching Triple-A with a 3.47 ERA. It's still hard to project him as more than a No. 3 or 4.
83. Brad Lincoln, RHP, Pirates, 22
The curse of Pittsburgh first-round picks continues, as Lincoln had Tommy John surgery before the season began.
84. Kevin Slowey, RHP, Twins, 23
If you keep throwing strikes but don't have great stuff, big league hitters will hit you, which is what we're seeing with Slowey. His upside might be something in the range of Bob Tewksbury territory.
85. Sean Rodriguez, SS, Angels, 22
Hitting just .235/.332/.402 for Double-A Arkansas, Rodriguez has been among the streakiest hitters in the minors:
Month G AVG OBP SLG April 23 .309 .423 .531 May 26 .190 .289 .280 June 29 .270 .336 .505 July 9 .065 .216 .097
Obviously, consistency is the key here.
86. Michael Bowden, RHP, Red Sox, 20
Two months ago, this would have been a 'Way up' after Bowden ripped through the Cal League with a 1.37 ERA in eight games. Things haven't gone as well at Double-A Portland, as Bowden has a 5.11 mark in 10 starts, and his control has gone south.
87. Jeremy Jeffress, RHP, Brewers, 19
Jeffress was expected to play this year in a short-season league, but he was so impressive in extended spring, that the organization put him in the Low-A rotation, where he's put up a 2.36 ERA in eight starts. The scary thing is that he's still very raw.
88. Hank Conger, C, Angels, 19
Conger's been bothered by a balky back of late, but he's still slugging .469 at Low-A Cedar Rapids, an impressive feat for a 19-year-old in the Midwest League.
89. Cesar Carrillo, RHP, Padres, 23
Last year's elbow problems never healed, and after getting ripped for 16 runs in 15.2 Triple-A innings, Carrillo went down for the rest of the year with Tommy John surgery.
90. Chris Parmelee, OF, Twins, 19
While his .239/.314/.443 line at Low-A Beloit doesn't impress on first glance, he's actually among the Midwest League leaders in home runs. Scouts expect the average to come around based on his sound swing mechanics.
91. Alberto Callaspo, 2B, Diamondbacks, 24
After a breakout 2006 season, Callaspo broke camp as a utilityman and was hitting just .206/.257/.254 when he exacerbated his problems exponentially by get arrested on a domestic violence charge. Back at Triple-A, he's hitting .390/.458/.585 in 20 games, so there are still skills worth noticing here.
92. Dellin Betances, RHP, Yankees, 19
Betances has made five starts for Staten Island in the New York-Penn League, striking out 26 in 22 innings while walking 15. He's still a project, but his upside is still sky-high.
93. Christopher Marrero, OF, Nationals, 18
Last year's first-round pick hit .293/.337/.545 for Low-A Hagerstown before moving up to the Carolina League, and he picked up where he left off there (.286/.368/.464). He's one of the more impressive teenage bats around.
94. Brett Sinkbeil, RHP, Marlins, 22
Last year's first-round pick has been limited to just 11 starts at High-A Jupiter due to an elbow strain, and when healthy, he's recorded just 39 strikeouts in 63.1 innings.
95. Cedric Hunter, OF, Padres, 19
Hunter looked like a third-round steal after last year's eye-popping debut, but this year at Low-A Fort Wayne he looks like a singles-hitting outfielder with no secondary skills (.279/.336/.359).
96. Pedro Beato, RHP, Orioles, 20
Merely solid at Low-A Delmarva (3.38 ERA), Beato has struggled to throw strikes at times, with 43 walks in 96 innings; for a pitcher with his kind of arsenal, 76 strikeouts is below expectations.97. Javier Herrera, OF, Athletics, 22
Eligible Next Year? Yes
Stock Movement Since Ranking: Down
Herrera returned from last year's Tommy John surgery to hit .274/.337/.448 for High-A Stockton, which was enough to move him up to Double-A in a system that has seen much shuffling, but not good enough to help out his prospect stock.
98. Neftali Feliz, RHP, Braves, 19
So far, so good for the teenage fireballer, who has 17 strikeouts in 15 innings for Rookie-level Danville while allowing just nine hits.
99. Kyle Drabek, RHP, Phillies, 19
Drabek had some elbow soreness this year, combined with a 4.33 ERA in 54 innings at Low-A Lakewood, all while garnering some reviews from scouts that are well short for a player that some saw has one of the three best high school arms in last year's draft.
100. Elijah Dukes, OF, Devil Rays, 23
Tampa Bay has done a lot of things right in the past couple of years, and I still think they'll be a legitimate playoff contender by the end of the decade. That said, the way they've handled the Elijah Dukes situation is just plain wrong. To do anything other than cut ties with him at this point sends a message that as long as you can play, any kind of behavior is just fine by them.