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May 11, 2007

Market Movers

The Ten Most Volatile Players - Week of May 11, 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 May 3, 2007:

MLB Market Movers
Rk Player Ticker Team Price May 3 Change
1. Roger Clemens ROCKET Yankees $150.41
$115.00 30.79%
I'd make a joke about being only vaguely aware of his return to New York, but so much coverage has been dedicated to the Rocket since Sunday that even irony has been played out. You know the story here--IPO'd on Wednesday and currently trading at more than $150 per share, our market expects him to duplicate his 2006 performance almost exactly. As Joe Sheehan noted on Monday, that may or may not change the Yankees' fortunes for 2007, but it's the fans who benefit the most. We should all appreciate the opportunity to see one of the game's greats do what he does best for another five months. If baseball was classic rock, Clemens would be Neil Young.
2. Gil Meche GMECH Royals $135.38
$116.94 15.76%
Sometimes small details can distract from the big picture. And sometimes the big picture can obscure the here-and-now. The latter is what happened with Gil Meche this offseason. Yes, the contract is overblown. Yes, it's the whopping difference between 64 and 68 wins for a troubled franchise with more holes than the screenplay for Stranger Than Fiction. But Meche is at least an average pitcher with a strikeout rate that's trending up, and a ground-ball rate that's morphed from a problem to an asset. He's not going to finish the year with a sub-3 ERA, but he won't have to in order for us to admit that we underrated the short-term value he could provide to KC.
3. Zack Greinke ZGREI Royaks $150.41
$88.61 14.11%
What does inserting Luke Hudson into the rotation actually accomplish? If the only things KC does this season are give Greinke 30 starts and the Gordon/Butler duo a combined 900 at-bats, that would be enough to label 2007 a success. Greinke is as much of a reclamation project as a 23-year-old can be, and giving him the maximum amount of organizational support would seem to be the prudent move.
4. Alfonso Soriano ASORI Cubs $210.38
$186.90 12.56%
Who said anything about a contract-year spike? Soriano is finally looking comfortable at the plate, which for him means covering every inch of the strike zone without concern for working the count. He's 16 for his last 40, and he hasn't drawn a walk since April 28. For most players that might indicate a problem, but for a hitter with his skill set, it's just the way things go when he's making hard contact on every swing.
5. Josh Barfield JBARF Indians $172.75
$194.34 11.11%
If Kevin Kouzmanoff wasn't making Cristian Guzman look like an All-Star in the NL, the Indians' trade with the Padres wouldn't be looking so hot for the Tribe. For Barfield, a notoriously slow starter, nothing is going right. His OBP is .250, he's striking out at a high rate (20.4%), and he's not hitting for any power (.058 ISO). He's got nowhere to go but up, but his stock price will continue to drop as he falls further and further off the necessary pace.
6. Al Reyes AREYE.A Devil Rays $103.41
$94.22 10.17%
Only Pauline Kael was a later bloomer than Reyes--12 seasons into his career, and it's like he's just getting started. Handed the reins in Tampa Bay after grabbing a well-deserved ring in St. Louis, Joe Sheehan's favorite bullpen righty has been dominant, posting a five-to-one strikeout-to-walk ratio while allowing only five hits in 15 innings.
7. Josh Beckett JBECK Red Sox $224.79
$205.02 9.64%
Beckett had a tough time keeping the ball in the yard last season--roughly 15% of fly balls off him landed in the seats--and as a result, he was a below-average starter for the first time in his career. His core peripherals aren't much different in 2007, but because he's keeping the ball in the park, the effect on his ERA has been tremendous. Like last year, his early-season won-loss record looks gaudy, but at least this time you can make an argument that he's the best pitcher in the league and not just the beneficiary of world-class run-support.
8. Fernando Cabrera FCABR Indians $76.67
$70.72 8.41%
Like Beckett, Cabrera was particularly long ball-prone last season, and as a result, he disappointed many a fantasy owner who'd earmarked him as a sleeper. He still missed his share of bats last season, however, striking out more than 10 batters per nine and rebounding in the second half to lower his ERA by two-and-a-half runs. Though he's been touched a bit harder in May than he was in April, he's still a great bet going forward, as the Indians continue to fight for supremacy in the AL Central.
9. Tom Gordon TGORD Phillies $112.03
$120.55 7.07%
Gordon's stint on the DL is going to do a lot more to hamper his value than simply cost him a dozen games. With Brett Myers taking to the closer's role so well (three for three in save chances with zero earned runs), Gordon might have lost his job logging saves when he returns. The unfortunate truth for Flash is that his poor start was due partially to bad luck (.395 BABIP) rather than poor pitching.
10. Shawn Hill SHILL.A Nationals $123.58
$132.93 7.04%
With every start looking remarkably like the one before it, Shawn Hill is converting the suspicious masses. Few expected anything from him coming into the season; just another unknown young pitcher in a rotation full of them. Through seven starts, however, due recognition has been given. Hill has made six quality starts in seven outings, bringing him into the market's view, and the market likes what it sees.

Our newest Protrade MLB Challenge begins on May 16. Compete against the smartest sports fan community in the world by joining now.

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Schrodinger's Bat: Phi... (05/10)
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