Sunday, October 20, 2013

2013 World Series Prediction: Boston Red Sox vs. St. Louis Cardinals

In the ultimate slap in the face to Bobby Valentine, the Red Sox are in the World Series, only a year removed winning 69 games.  They'll square off against the Cardinals starting this Wednesday, and I don't see how you can bet against them.

Boston has been the most consistent team all year.  They hit pretty well at every position, have a good to great top-four starting pitchers, and with Craig Breslow and Koji Uehara, the game might as well be seven innings, as both pitchers have been virtually unhittable.

The Sox made a habit of getting no-hit for about five innings/game against Detroit, but still found a way to win the Series in six games.  They got shut down against Max Scherzer twice, but the bullpen gave up a grand slam in each game, and Boston won both games.  They also managed only one run against Justin Verlander, who was brilliant in the postseason, and won the game 1-0.  I just don't see how you combat that kind of timely hitting and never-say-die momentum that they have been carrying through the playoffs.

The Cardinals have been impressive as well.  They have also had some timely hitting, and were able to avoid a collapse after holding a 3-1 lead over the Dodgers, the way they did last year against the Giants.  If not for the emergence of Michael Wacha, I would be even more confident in the Red Sox to win it all, but Wacha has been even better than Adam Wainwright in the playoffs, and deservedly won the NLCS MVP.

If Wacha can continue his recent success, then the Cardinals will have a good chance to win the four games they'll need to win with Wainwright and Wacha each likely to start two if the series goes long enough.

I think these teams are similar, with the Cards having a little bit better starting pitching at the top, and the Red Sox having a little more depth to the rotation.  In tight games, though, you have to have a good bullpen to either stop the bleeding or to cling to a small lead, and the Red Sox have found a winning combination there.

As a Yankees fan, I will be rooting for the Cardinals to win it all, but I just don't see it happening.  I hope I'm wrong, but objectively, I'll give the nod to the Sox to win the series 4-2.

[Editor's note: This post is by John Trifone (@JohnnyT0122), who also contributes at our NFL site: Eat, Drink and Sleep Football (see John's archives).]

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

MLB Midseason Awards: N.L. MVP Award

The NL MVP race does not have all the pizazz of the AL race, which has two guys with 30-plus home runs and the chance for a second triple crown in a row.

My contenders to win it would be Allen Craig, who is hitting .333 with 74 RBIs, Paul Goldschmidt at .313 with 21 home runs and 77 RBIs, and Michael Cuddyer, hitting .330 with 16 home runs and 55 RBIs.

I'd also give an honorable mention to Jean Segura, who has cooled off a bit of late, but is still hitting .325 with 121 hits and 27 stolen bases.  Segura has been killing it in fantasy, so gotta give him a mention.

Without too much conviction on my pick, I'll take Goldschmidt, who is putting up the best numbers on a team that, at the moment, is leading the division.

For other midseason awards, see below:
[Editor's note: This post is by John Trifone (@JohnnyT0122), who also contributes at our NFL site: Eat, Drink and Sleep Football (see John's archives).]

MLB Midseason Awards: N.L. Cy Young Award

The NL Cy Young has a lot of guys in the mix for the award at this juncture, with no one really standing head and shoulders above the rest.

Depending on your personal criteria, you can easily make a case for Adam Wainwright who is 12-5 with a 2.45 ERA, Matt Harvey 7-2 with a 2.35 ERA and a league-leading 147 strikeouts, Jeff Locke who is 8-2 with a 2.15 ERA, Patrick Corbin who is 11-1 with a 2.35 ERA, or Jordan Zimmerman who is 12-4 with a 2.58 ERA.

All are great choices with excellent records and ERAs. Some people will favor strikeouts, others favor wins/losses.

Personally, I'm an ERA guy. You can't control your run support, so I don't feel that wins/losses should be held against you for an individual award. While high strikeout totals do impress, I'm also not going to hold efficiency against a pitcher if he gets ground ball outs and throws fewer pitches than a power pitcher.

All that said, I'll give my midseason award to Clayton Kershaw, who is a mere 8-6 but has a 1.98 ERA.
The Dodgers started the season off poorly, and clearly Kershaw did not get a lot of run support early on. He is the only pitcher in baseball with a sub-2.00 ERA, and he has only eight wins.

If Kershaw can remain under two runs per game, it will put him in the company of guys like Roger Clemens, Pedro Martinez, and Greg Maddux, and definitely makes him worthy of the midseason Cy Young.

See A.L. choices: Cy Young leader - MVP leader

[Editor's note: This post is by John Trifone (@JohnnyT0122), who also contributes at our NFL site: Eat, Drink and Sleep Football (see John's archives).]

Monday, July 15, 2013

MLB Midseason Awards: A.L. MVP Award

Last year, it was a two-man race between Miguel Cabrera and Mike Trout.

This year?

It's more of the same, but with one other player in the mix.

Mike Trout is not going to be mentioned in most people's midseason MVPs, but I just can't leave him out.  After hitting just .261 for the month of April, Trout is up to hitting .322 with 119 hits, 15 home runs, 59 RBIs, and 21 stolen bases.

We are slightly more than halfway through the season, but Trout is on pace to hit .322 with over 200 hits, close to 30 home runs, over 100 runs batted in, and 40 stolen bases.  His season may be overshadowed by the top two contenders, but I feel Trout is worth mentioning, as a hot second half could easily put him in the discussion.

Chris Davis is leading the league in home runs with 37, and is hitting a solid .315 at the plate.  He's got an OPS of 1.109, and is a huge reason why the Orioles are having the kind of success they are having.  In a tough AL East, the O's are 10 games over .500, and are right in the mix, both in the division, and for a wild card spot.

Davis has been exciting to watch, and some early mutterings of 62 home runs has begun.  Davis is my number two for midseason AL MVP.

Top honors has to go to Miguel Cabrera.  No player in the history of baseball has ever had 30 home runs and 90 RBIs at the All Star break, until this year.  Cabrera is hitting an incredible .365 with 30 home runs, 95 RBIs, and a 1.132 OPS.  He is putting up video game numbers so far in the first half of the season, and has actually elevated himself after an MVP and triple-crown winning season.

If Davis cools off a bit, Cabrera may actually win back-to-back triple crowns.  Color me impressed.

Also, check out: AL Midseason Cy Young Winner (Leader)

[Editor's note: This post is by John Trifone (@JohnnyT0122), who also contributes at our NFL site: Eat, Drink and Sleep Football (see John's archives).]

Sunday, July 14, 2013

MLB Midseason Awards: A.L. Cy Young Award

Now that we are at the midway point (or a little past it), I will post my choices as midseason leader for Cy Young and MVP in both leagues at the All-Star Break.

The perennial choices for AL Cy Young are either Justin Verlander or Felix Hernandez, who have consistently been two of the game's top pitchers over the last several years.

A couple of other guys like David Price (last year's winner) or Jered Weaver are usually in the discussion as well, along with a surprise or two that pop up every year.  Last year, Chris Sale was the guy who emerged, and was the favorite to win the award heading into the second half of last season.

This year, Bartolo Colon makes a strong case at 12-3 with an ERA of 2.70, currently third in the AL.  Colon's connection with PEDs, however, may be what largely accounts for his return to the dominance of his prime at the age of 40.  Nonetheless, he has not yet been suspended, and has a legitimate claim to the midseason AL Cy Young award.

I'm going to go another way, though.  Max Scherzer, who is not even the best pitcher on his own team, is leading the pack at the midway point.  With an ERA just a shade over three (3.19 at the moment), Scherzer is an incredible 13-1 in 19 starts.  He is averaging more than a strikeout per inning (10.55 K/9), and has a WHIP under one (0.98).

I'll take Scherzer for my midseason AL Cy Young award winner/leader.

[Editor's note: This post is by John Trifone (@JohnnyT0122), who also contributes at our NFL site: Eat, Drink and Sleep Football (see John's archives).]

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Jose Altuve, Astros agree to 4-year extension

Per Brian McTaggert of the, the Houston Astros and second baseman Jose Altuve have agreed to an extension.

According to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, it is a four-year deal that runs from 2014 through 2017 worth $12.5 million.  In addition, the club has options for 2018 ($6 million) and 2019 ($6.5 million).

Eligible for arbitration next year, Altuve would have been eligible for free agency after the 2016 season.

Going into the season, the Astros had a payroll of approximately $22 million with starting pitcher Bud Norris its highest-paid player with a salary of $3 million.

Altuve leads the team in batting average (.280) and stolen bases (21) with 36 runs scored, three home runs and 28 runs batted in.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

MLB Announces N.L. All-Stars

Major League Baseball has just announced the starters, pitchers and reserves for both leagues for the 2013 MLB All-Star Game, which will be played on Tuesday, July 16th.

Here are the National League starters:

Here are the NL pitchers:
Here are the NL reserves:
In addition, there will be a final vote for one additional All-Star and here are the candidates:
Thoughts?  Snubs?

[Here are the A.L. All-Stars.]

MLB announces A.L. All-Stars

Major League Baseball has just announced the starters, pitchers and reserves for both leagues for the 2013 MLB All-Star Game, which will be played on Tuesday, July 16th.

Here are the American League starters:

Here are the AL pitchers:

* Denotes injured.
** Denotes injury replacement.
Here are the AL reserves:

In addition, there will a final vote for additional AL All-Star and here are the candidates:
Thoughts?  Snubs?

[Here are the N.L. All-Stars.]

Phillies place Ryan Howard on 15-day DL

Earlier today, Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard was a late scratch from tonight's lineup due to soreness in his left knee.

Now the Phillies have placed Howard on the 15-day disabled list, the team announced via Twitter.

With Howard out of the lineup, Laynce Nix will play first base and hit seventh against the Braves tonight.

To take Howard's roster spot, the Phillies have called up Darren Ruf, who is expected to join the club at some point during tonight's game.

On the season, Howard is hitting .266 with 11 home runs and 43 runs batted in.  Howard is tied for second on the team in homers with Chase Utley and is second in RBI, trailing Domonic Brown in both categories.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Ryan Braun (thumb) leaves today's game early

Milwaukee Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun left today's game against the Philadelphia Phillies in the third inning due to right thumb soreness, the team tweeted.

For Braun, it's not a new injury as he sat out Wednesday's game due to thumb soreness as well.

We’ve got to figure out what to do there,” Roenicke said (before today's game), per beat writer Adam McCalvey. “We’ve got to start going in the right direction with him, and sometimes it’s not. … I’m hoping we don’t have to [place him on the disabled list], but we start making gains and he says, ‘Yeah, I feel really good today,’ and then all of a sudden it’s a bad day and a setback.

“We keep going this back and forth. He’s out there playing, hitting third for us, and I expect the Braun that I’ve seen for the last two years, and he’s not the same. He’s still getting hits, he’s still helping us win games, but he’s not that guy that can carry a team like I know he can.”

Before leaving the game, Braun was 0-for-1 with a strike out.

Through 57 games, Braun is hitting . with nine home runs, 36 runs batted in, 30 runs scored and four stolen bases.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Bryce Harper to visit Dr. James Andrews

Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper is eligible to come off the disabled list on Tuesday, but that appears to be the longest of long shots at the moment.

Per Amanda Comak of the Washington Times, Harper will visit noted orthopedist Dr. James Andrews on Monday.

Comak also tweeted that "Harper did some running in the pool today and his knee still swelled so the #nats want to see what Andrews sees and says."

"#Nats still insist Harper's injury is bursitis, not worse. Surgery to remove bursa sac would be last resort, would add several weeks to ...," CSN Washington's Mark Zuckerman tweeted.

In 44 games, Harper is hitting .287 with 12 home runs and 23 runs batted in.

2013 MLB Mock Draft Database Updated

Only hours from the start of the 2013 MLB Draft, we have updated our mock draft database.

Based on the mocks updated within the past four days, 11 of the 12 mock drafts in our database have a pitcher going first overall.  Seven of those 11 have it being Oklahoma's Jonathan Gray and four of them have Stanford's Mark Appel going first overall.

The one exception is Anthony Witrado of The Sporting News, who has the Astros selecting North Carolina third baseman Colin Moran.

If the majority of mocks are correct and it's a pitcher that goes first overall, the success rate of pitchers selected first overall has not been great.

Here's a chart from Baseball Reference of pitchers selected No. 1 overall in the MLB Draft since 1970:

201111PiratesGerrit Cole (minors)RHP
200911NationalsStephen Strasburg (minors)RHP7.05724152.851.080
200711Devil RaysDavid Price (minors)LHP15.113462353.291.190
200611RoyalsLuke Hochevar (minors)RHP0.814838605.331.391
200211PiratesBryan Bullington (minors)RHP-0.226195.621.580
199711TigersMatt Anderson (minors)RHP-0.52571575.191.5826
199611PiratesKris Benson (minors)RHP13.020670754.421.390
199411MetsPaul Wilson (minors)RHP2.217040584.861.450
199111YankeesBrien Taylor (minors)LHP
198911OriolesBen McDonald (minors)RHP20.921178703.911.260
198811PadresAndy Benes (minors)RHP31.74031551393.971.311
198311TwinsTim Belcher (minors)RHP26.23941461404.161.345
198111MarinersMike Moore (minors)RHP28.54501611764.391.422
197611AstrosFloyd Bannister (minors)LHP26.94311341434.061.330
197311RangersDavid Clyde (minors)LHP0.78418334.631.530

Again, you can view our updated mock draft database here.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Bryce Harper not in lineup on Monday

Earlier this month, Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper had a face-first collision with the outfield wall at Dodgers Stadium.

Since then, Harper (knee) has missed several games and he left last night's game against the Phillies early after aggravating the injury.

It's something that Harper expects to deal with all season.

It probably won’t get better until the offseason,” he said, per James Watson of the Washington Post. “I just have to deal with the pain and try to keep in there every day and see what happens.”

According to Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post, Harper is not in today's lineup against the Orioles.

Kilgore went on to tweet that Harper passed an MRI, but he was diagnosed with bursitis in his knee and he may return as a designated hitter during the series with the Orioles.

Harper is currently hitting .287 with 12 home runs and 23 runs batted in.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Join one of our upcoming FanDuel leagues

The MLB and fantasy baseball season is long.

And if someone on your fantasy team suffers an injury, the season can seem even longer.  Much longer.

One of the ways to break up the long season is to participate in daily fantasy leagues, which is something we highly recommend.

If interested, you can join one of our daily fantasy leagues at FanDuel that we have set up over the next few days:
FanDuel's leagues are based on salary caps (i.e., there is not a draft).  My three leagues above are set up for five teams, entry is $5 and winner takes all.

Good luck!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Zack Greinke fractures collarbone in bench-clearing brawl

San Diego's Carlos Quentin took offense to being hit by a pitch (and some comments) from Dodgers right-hander Zack Greinke in last night's game, which led to a broken left collarbone for Greinke.

When Quentin charged the mound, Greinke lowered his (left) shoulder and that's likely when the injury occurred during what resulted into a benches-clearing brawl.

That’s just stupid, that’s what it is,” [Dodgers manager Don] Mattingly told reporters, per Steve Dilbeck of the L.A. Times. “He should not play a game until Zack can pitch.

“He caused the whole thing. Nothing happens if he goes to first base. That’s zero understanding of the game of baseball. He’s not throwing at him 3-2 in a 2-1 game.”

After the game, Matt Kemp and Quentin nearly got into it in the parking lot, but the two were separated by Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw.

Over the past two seasons, no player was hit more than Quentin: 2011 (23 HBPs) and 2012 (17).

These two teams will play again starting Monday in Los Angeles.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Jered Weaver out 4-6 weeks with broken elbow

The Angels have placed ace Jered Weaver on the 15-day disabled list, but he will miss at least the next four weeks (and possibly more) with a non-displaced fracture in his left elbow, per Mike DiGiovanna of the L.A. Times.

Initially the injury sustained on Sunday was believed to be a strain, but further tests revealed the fracture.

Per DiGiovanna, the Angels will likely move Garrett Richards into the rotation and they have called up Dane De La Rosa.

Weaver, who compiled a 38-13 record over the past two seasons, has an 4.91 ERA with six strikeouts and six walks in 11 innings this season.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Jose Fernandez makes Marlins' Opening Day roster

Earlier in the month, the Miami Marlins sent their top prospect down to minors and it seemed unlikely that he would be on the team's Opening Day roster.

“I’ve been expecting it the last two weeks. I’m 20 years old. I can’t be upset. I can’t. It’s not a secret. I knew I was going to get sent down. I was waiting for it," Hernandez said when sent down to the minors, per Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald.

“I know I’ve got to get ready for my [minor-league] season. I want to get my routine going. I knew they made the right call.”

Read more here:

Well, now it's time to get ready for the major-league season.

With injuries to pitchers Nathan Eovaldi and Henderson Alvarez, 20-year-old prospect Jose Fernandez will begin the season on the big-league roster.

Per Spencer, Fernandez will make his big-league debut on Sunday against the Mets.

Hernandez is the No. 5 prospect on Baseball America's Top 100 Prospects list, No. 16 on Keith Law's Top 100 Prospects and No. 6 in Jonathan Mayo's prospect rankings for

Friday, March 22, 2013

Adam Eaton to miss 6-8 weeks with UCL sprain

Arizona Diamondbacks center fielder Adam Eaton will miss the next six to eight weeks with a left elbow UCL sprain, according to the team.

Expected to be the team's leadoff hitter, Eaton was hitting the ball really well this spring with his .390 average over 20 games.

"You know that I will work my butt off to get back in there," he tweeted. "It will be sooner than later."

Eaton is No. 73 on Baseball America's list of top 100 prospects and was No. 1 on Keith Law's list of Top 20 Impact Prospects for 2013.

2013 Fantasy Baseball Rankings - Top 50 Outfielders

In the vast majority of fantasy baseball drafts this season, the first player selected is going to be an outfielder.  While that much is certain, the specific outfielder that goes first overall is much less of a lock.

Although Detroit Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera could make a strong argument that he should be the first overall pick, the decision for most fantasy owners will come down to Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun or Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout.

That said, it's like choosing between a Rolls Royce or a Bentley.  In other words, there's not really a wrong choice.

As the unanimous choice for American League Rookie of the Year, Trout finished second in the AL MVP voting behind Cabrera, the first triple-crown winner of my lifetime.  Not only did Trout get six of the 28 first-place votes over the triple-crown winner, he began the season in the minor leagues.

Despite playing his first 20 games of 2012 in the minors, the 20-year-old (now 21) made the most of his opportunity once he was called up.  Trout hit .326 with 30 home runs and 49 stolen bases in only 139 games.  In addition, he scored 129 runs and finished with 83 runs battted in.

Imagine what his stat line would have been had he started the year in Anaheim.

Adding in his minor league numbers, his 2012 totals over both levels were 150 runs scored, 31 home runs, 96 runs batted in and 55 stolen bases.

Like Trout, Braun is a player that will help fantasy owners in all five roto categories and both players had 30/30 seasons in 2012.  Trout had a 30/50 season; Braun actually had a 40/30 season.

In fact, Braun has back-to-back 30/30 seasons under his belt.

Since being called up in 2007, Braun has hit above .300 in all but one season (.285 in 2008) and .319 or better in four of those six seasons.  In addition, Braun has scored more than 100 runs in four consecutive seasons and driven in more than 100 runs in each of the past five seasons.

Perhaps he won't steal 30-plus bases for a third consecutive year, but Braun is a lock for a line of .300/100/30/100/20 with upside in all five of those categories.

Can CarGo Go For More than 145 Games?

In addition to Braun and Trout, several outfielders should go in the first round of drafts including Colorado Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez.

The glass-half-full view with CarGo is that he has three consecutive 20/20 seasons despite playing 145 games or less in each of those seasons.

Of course, the glass-half-empty view is that he has averaged only 135.7 games per year over the past three years.

If healthy (or close to healthy) for a full season, Gonzalez can post a monster stat line.  Back in 2010 with 145 games played, he posted a career-best line of .336/111/34/117/26.

As a career .299 hitter, a lot would have to go right for him to approach the .336 average he had that season, but he certainly has a shot of repeating his production in the counting statistics if he can set a new career high in games played.

Onward and Heyward

After a disappointing and injury-plagued (shoulder) sophomore season in 2011, Atlanta Braves rightfielder Jason Heyward had a breakout season last year.

Not only did he play a career-high 158 games, but the J-Hey Kid set career highs in hits (158), home runs (27), runs scored (93), runs batted in (82) and stolen bases (21).

Heyward is expected to move to second (from third) in the batting order this year so it's likely that he scores a few more runs but drives in the same or maybe fewer runs.

Only 23 years old and as a former top prospect, Heyward should continue to improve his overall game and fantasy production.

A Teenager No More

At only 19 years old, Washington Nationals phenom Bryce Harper won the National League Rookie of the Year award in 2012.

Like Trout, Harper made his big league debut last season on April 28th and for the (not quite) full season, he hit 22 home runs and stole 18 bases.  In addition, he finished fifth in the league in runs scored (98).

Harper carries positive momentum with him as he enters his second season.

In his final 12 regular-season games last year, he hit .415 with three home runs, eight runs batted, 11 runs scored and five steals.  In 19 games this spring, Harper is hitting .396 with three home runs, eight runs, 12 runs batted in and two steals.

While we may be a season or two away from the day that Harper becomes a perennial MVP candidate, he has all the physical tools and virtually unlimited potential.  With Trout's monster season as a 20-year-old last year, maybe we're not as far away as some would think.

Here are my top 50 fantasy outfielders (based on Yahoo! eligibility):

1. Ryan Braun, Milwaukee Brewers
2. Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels
3. Matt Kemp, Los Angeles Dodgers
4. Andrew McCutchen, Pittsburgh Pirates
5. Carlos Gonzalez, Colorado Rockies
6. Jose Bautista, Toronto Blue Jays
7. Josh Hamilton, Los Angeles Angels
8. Giancarlo Stanton, Miami Marlins
9. Justin Upton, Atlanta Braves
10. Bryce Harper, Washington Nationals
11. Jason Heyward, Atlanta Braves
12. Adrian Gonzalez, Los Angeles Dodgers
13. Matt Holliday, St. Louis Cardinals
14. Jacoby Ellsbury, Boston Red Sox
15. Adam Jones, Baltimore Orioles
16. Jay Bruce, Cincinnati Reds
17. Alex Gordon, Kansas City Royals
18. Allen Craig, St. Louis Cardinals
19. Yoennis Cespedes, Oakland Athletics
20. Shin-Soo Choo, Cincinnati Reds
21. Ben Zobrist, Tampa Bay Rays
22. B.J. Upton, Atlanta Braves
23. Alex Rios, Chicago White Sox
24. Michael Bourn, Cleveland Indians
25. Desmond Jennings, Tampa Bay Rays
26. Curtis Granderson, New York Yankees
27. Carlos Beltran, St. Louis Cardinals
28. Melky Cabrera, Toronto Blue Jays
29. Mark Trumbo, Los Angeles Angels
30. Austin Jackson, Detroit Tigers
31. Nick Markakis, Baltimore Orioles
32. Martin Prado, Arizona Diamondbacks
33. Carl Crawford, Los Angeles Dodgers
34. Shane Victorino, Boston Red Sox
35. Carlos Gomez, Milwaukee Brewers
36. Hunter Pence, San Francisco Giants
37. Nelson Cruz, Texas Rangers
38. Andre Ethier, Los Angeles Dodgers
39. Josh Willingham, Minnesota Twins
40. Ichiro Suzuki, New York Yankees
41. Ben Revere, Philadelphia Phillies
42. Mike Morse, Seattle Mariners
43. Norichika Aoki, Milwaukee Brewers
44. Michael Cuddyer, Colorado Rockies
45. Alejandro De Aza, Chicago White Sox
46. Angel Pagan, San Francisco Giants
47. Adam Dunn, Chicago White Sox
48. Nick Swisher, Cleveland Indians
49. Dexter Fowler, Colorado Rockies
50. Brett Gardner, New York Yankees

For a second opinion, check out Duncan Sanford's outfielder rankings. (Or view our consensus third basemen rankings here.)

Other positions: C - 1B - 2B - 3B - SS - OF - SP - RP

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