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March 16, 2007

Protrade Market Movers

The Ten Most Volatile Players--Week of March 16, 2007

by Jeff Ma

Welcome to Market Movers, Protrade's series of reports covering how sports fans from around the world are valuing Major League Baseball stocks in the world's only 24/7 virtual sports stock market.

For those unfamiliar with Protrade, we are a next-generation fantasy sports experience centered around a community of passionate fans who trade players and teams like stocks. Our virtual sports stock market helps capture the wisdom of these sports fans by enabling them to display their reactions and generate a market response to every event in sports news; every at-bat, every rumor, and every injury report can be factored into the value of an athlete or team. Equalized across all sports so that in Protrade Dollars (PT$) the best baseball players are worth roughly the same as the best football and basketball players, our prices are set by market analysts before the beginning of every season with a "season IPO," and then move based on a combination of on-field performance and buy/sell pressure.

For more information on how our market works, check out Protrade's FAQ. You can register for free by clicking here!

And now, Protrade's biggest price movers since March 7, 2007:

MLB Market Movers
Rk Player Ticker Team Price March 7 Change
1. Mark Prior PRIOR Cubs $102.38
$118.88 13.88%
There's no such thing as a ... How's that go again? On more than a few prominent "Sleeper" lists this winter, traders have recently woken up to the truth about Prior: He's not the same. With a fastball that's topping out in the 80s, the market sees little reason to buy shares of this former USC Trojan, and we can't bring ourselves to disagree.
2. Cole Hamels COLE Phillies $199.76
$179.53 11.27%
Speaking of relatively young pitchers with a history of fragility, Hamels enters 2007 with high expectations, but perhaps more importantly, a guaranteed rotation spot for the first time in his career. Truly dominant in the second half last season (87.2 IP, 10.4 K/9, 2.4 BB/9, 3.39 ERA), PROTRADE investors believe that growth and experience will conflate with the southpaw's raw talent, resulting in one of the best young pitchers in the game.
3. Chris B. Young CYOUNG Diamondbacks $164.10
$147.91 10.94%
As Nate Silver wrote on Thursday, "If you don't like Chris Young, you don't like prospects." Suffice it to say that PROTRADE investors like prospects--and Young--almost as much as teenage boys like big-screen adaptations of Frank Miller comics. The former White Sox farmhard has been shooting up on our market over the last week, and with no one standing between him and a starting spot in center field, that $164 share price is beginning to look conservative.
4. Ben Sheets BSHEE Brewers $207.24
$187.11 10.76%
Sheets' ability to blow the ball past hitters while rarely missing the strike zone has never been in question. He posted a better than 10-to-one strikeout-to-walk ratio last season, but that was despite fighting shoulder tendonitis like a nagging cough. As a result, what keeps Brewers fans up at night is Sheets' ability to consistently take the mound every fifth day--something he hasn't done since 2004. Now healthy, the former Olympic hero has looked impressive in a trio of Spring Training starts, and investors are rushing for the buy button faster than you can say: "Schlemiel, schlemazl, Hasenpfeffer Incorporated!"
5. Rodrigo Lopez RLOPE Rockies $83.27
$97.08 10.15%
Expectations were never particularly high for Lopez, who enters the Colorado rotation (or maybe not) with a career winning percentage below .500 and middling peripherals. Nevertheless, the pounding he's taken this spring (12 IP, 19 H, 13 R) isn't inspiring much investor confidence, even if Coors Field continues to play like it's been moved to the farthest reaches of Neptune.
6. Joel Pineiro JPINE Red Sox $89.53
$99.48 10.00%
Originally signed with the intent of making him a closer, Boston has slowly stepped away from that proposition, opting for a low-key, closer-by-you-know-what approach. That the former Mariner so quickly turned back into Joel Pineiro this spring (7.1 IP, 10 H, 5 R) has made Theo & Co.'s decision that much easier.
7. Jhonny Peralta JPERA Indians $130.18
$118.37 9.98%
Aaron Eckart might be the new Two-Face, but this shortstop's turn from down-ballot MVP candidate in 2005 to merely average with the bat in 2006 was difficult to understand. So who will we see in 2007? Protrade investors clearly believe that Jhonny's power spike wasn't some sort of Brady Anderson-style fluke--an opinion shared by PECOTA, which, as we all know, is the cold, calculating Harvey Dent to Nate Silver's secret super-villain persona.
8. Howie Kendrick HOWIE Angels $183.77
$168.36 9.15%
You don't need to be a prospect maven to know about Howie's track record--he's among the most-written-about hitters of the decade, and for good reason. Scouts love him, statheads love him, and Protrade investors can't get enough of his shares. You want a dark horse candidate for AL batting champ? Here's your man.
9. Josh Bard JBARD Padres $90.36
$82.82 9.11%
Bard might not be the second coming of Mike Piazza, but with catching talent generally thin, traders are looking to Bard, who posted an eye-popping .338/.406/.537 line in San Diego last season. Trading at $90.36 per share, he doesn't need to be the best to have some value. He just needs to be himself.
10. Melky Cabrera MCABR.A Yankees $127.51
$140.12 9.00%
He's a nice player to have around--the thing is, there's nowhere to keep him. With Bobby Abreu installed in right and Hideki Matsui healthy in left, the 22-year-old outfielder will have to wait his turn once again. Decreased playing time means a lessened chance of hitting that triple-digit price projection.

Jeff Ma is a co-founder of Protrade.

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