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May 18, 2007

Market Movers

The Ten Most Volatile Players - Week of May 18, 2007

by Jeff Ma

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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 the best baseball players are worth roughly the same in Protrade Dollars (PT$) 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 their values move based on a combination of onfield 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 11, 2007:

MLB Market Movers
Rk Player Ticker Team Price May 11 Change
1. Bartolo Colon BCOLO Angels $111.94
$91.47 22.38%
If Colon's numbers look impressive on the surface, that's because they are. And it's not just the bright, shiny objects that are distracting us: he's barely walked a batter in 30 frames, and his BABIP and Strand rates are right in line with league averages. What's not in line with the rest of the league? The quality of the competition he has faced so far. Colon currently ranks 278th among pitchers with more than 15 IP (of 286) in Opponent Quality OPS. Investors are riding the wave for now, but the evidence that he's not nearly this good is beginning to mount.
2. Scott Baker SBAKE Twins $51.49
$43.28 20.00%
Here comes Round No. 2. Following a rough stint in 2006, Baker returned to Triple-A Rochester to begin the season, and did what all top-flight Minnesota pitching prospects do: show he deserves a major league rotation spot. Baker was brutalized to the tune of 114 hits in 83 innings last year, but still managed excellent strikeout and walk numbers, which we'll choose to focus on instead of the bad stuff. No one thinks he'll go all Liriano on the league or anything, but if he can just keep to his bread-and-butter of controlling the strike zone with just enough heat to keep hitters honest, he'll provide a fine upgrade to the recently deposed Sir Sidney.
3. Jason Marquis JMARQ Cubs $132.24
$160.82 17.77%
It's truly amazing how many of Marquis' stats from this season portend a massive collapse. His BABIP is an insanely low .206, which is especially strange considering how unspectacular the Cubs' defense is. He has allowed only three home runs, but that is due in large part to a fluky 4.8% HR/FB rate, which will undoubtedly get back near his career level of 13% (and likely above, given the change in ballpark). On top of that, his strand rate is 80%, while his K rate continues to decline into oblivion. Marquis' fast start has been built on good luck and poor competition (the batters he's faced sport a .244/.319/.369 line), and it's likely to all come crashing down any day now.
4. Oliver Perez OPEREZ Mets $123.02
$104.78 17.41%
From Marquis' completely unsustainable performance, to the quite possibly legitimate efforts of the lefty who goes tonight against the Yankees at Shea. Perez always has a chance to succeed because of his tremendous ability to get strikeouts, but he teeters on the edge with borderline ridiculous walk and home run rates. Unlike the last two years, he's been able to rein in the free passes and gopher balls just enough to become a quality starter. Nothing in the stat line seems terribly out of whack with his career norms, and the run support afforded him by the vaunted Mets offense should create plenty of chances to pick up wins.
5. Tim Lincecum TINYTIM Giants $131.36
$116.00 13.24%
Based on demand for his IPO, you'd actually expect Lincecum to have soared higher, but some traders are still worried he'll be sent down when Grandpa Russ returns from the DL, so they're biding their time before buying him up. Nevertheless, with every progressive start, it looks more and more like he's ready for prime time, with the cherry to top it off coming last night against the Astros: 7 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 10 K, and all in an efficient package of 95 pitches.
6. Alberto Callaspo ACALL Diamondbacks $76.29
$87.65 12.96%
Callaspo's stock has taken a knockout blow, and is unlikely to recover. The 24-year-old was already sliding while batting .215 in his first 93 trips to the plate, but after being placed on the Restricted List for allegedly assaulting his wife, he is a no-brainer for a ride on the short bus. It could be quite some time until he's back with the big club.
7. J.J. Hardy JHARD Brewers $188.22
$167.89 12.11%
Entering 2007, Hardy had 14 homers and a .141 ISO in 500 career at-bats. He's one shy of matching the home run total in just 164 at-bats this spring, while more than doubling his ISO. Sure, a month and a half of baseball is too small a sample to judge, but the 500 ABs over the past two seasons might not be particularly representative of his ability either, given the injuries he battled and the poor luck he suffered through (notably, a BABIP of .262). It's too soon to tell, but perhaps we are seeing the real J.J. Hardy right now. Traders certainly seem to feel that way.
8. Jhonny Peralta JPERA Indians $146.47
$132.80 10.29%
After a hugely disappointing 2006, Jhonny looks to be back to his 2005 form. He has gained 100 points on last season's ISO after losing 100 the previous year, and is on pace to surpass his career-high 24 home runs. While his average remains deflated, that's the result of a low BABIP--he should improve here as well. The market recognizes what Peralta is capable of, and is buying him up accordingly.
9. Magglio Ordonez MORDO Tigers $211.00
$191.57 10.14%
When healthy, there are few players who can be counted on for more consistency than Maggs. He's often overlooked because he never exploded for 40+ home runs or a .400 OBP or a .600 SLG, but he's put up a .350+ OBP every year since 2000 and has slugged over .500 in five seasons. Any effects of injuries or aging seem to be behind him, as he's mashing once again. While he's not the sexiest stock on the market, there's comfort in knowing exactly what you're going to get.
10. Tom Gorzelanny TGORZ Pirates $140.55
$129.35 8.66%
Gorzelanny has exceeded most people's expectations so far in 2007, and owners are rushing to buy him up. After eight starts, he has a 5-2 record along with a 2.36 ERA and 1.09 WHIP. He always had the fastball he can dial up into the mid-90s, but it's better control of his slider-changeup combination that has fueled his improvement. With his solid arsenal and adequate run support from the Pirates' offense, things are looking bright for the 24-year-old southpaw.

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