June 1, 2007
Protrade Market Movers
The Ten Most Volatile Players - Week of June 1
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Welcome to Market Movers, Protrade's report 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. We're 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 move based on a combination of on-field performance and buy/sell pressure.
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And now, Protrade's biggest price movers since May 23, 2007:
MLB Market Movers
|| May 23
While little has changed surrounding Clemens' return to the majors over the last month, anticipation is building among Protrade investors, who are eagerly awaiting his re-debut. Sure, even The Onion is predicting that ROCKET's presence won't be enough to save the Yankees' season, but that doesn't mean he won't make things interesting, at least for the time being.
If strikeout rates stabilize very quickly--a fact that Nate Silver has pointed out on more than one occasion for hitters--then what do we conclude about Randy Wolf, who's whiffing 'em like it's 1999? Currently fifth in MLB in K/9, the Wolfman is posting the best peripheral numbers of his career across the board, and it's not particularly close. After some initial disbelief, Protrade investors are beginning to howl at the moon over this 30-year-old lefty. Not even John Landis and Rick Baker could make this transformation look more real.
Like Jason Kendall for the A's, at what point can we just acknowledge that Sowers isn't yet a major-league ready player and be done with this experiment? Yes, years ago, he put up some nice numbers at Vanderbilt, but he's done nothing since then to indicate that he can miss enough bats to viable professional hurler--even in the second half of last season when he posted a 2.72 ERA, he was striking out just 3.5 men per nine. There aren't many pitchers with a 6.29 ERA who are probably pitching to their ability, but right now, Sowers is definitely one of them.
It's hard to blame the Cardinals for losing patience with Reyes, but given what we know about his basic peripheral numbers (7.1 K/9, 3.2 BB/9) and his obscene Strand Rate (44.6% of all baserunners have scored on his watch), it's unfortunate that a bus ride to Memphis was the only solution the franchise could envision. While there's no denying that he needs help pitching with runners on base, the former USC Trojan is an infinitely better bet, going forward, than a retread like Kip Wells. Nevertheless, Reyes' demotion means the worst for his stock price.
Is he being overpaid? Sure. But don't mistake this slow start for Richie Sexson's annual attempt to drive Mariners fans crazy. Following his two homers on Wednesday night, Delgado is now hitting .281/.350/.528 over the last month with 40% of his hits going for extra bases. That his season line still sits at .236/.315/.387 just shows you how much a bad April can depress overall numbers for months to come.
Even Benitez' ugly 4.67 ERA doesn't quite capture the trepidation Giants fans felt when he entered the game. After all, for as bad as Wednesday night's stat line might look on paper (or perhaps more accurately for this readership, "on screen"), it doesn't compare to watching the 34-year-old right-hander balk twice in a three-minute stretch--the second time resulting in a run--before giving up a walk-off blast to the Market Mover ahead of him, Carlos Delgado. It was uglier than an Estelle Getty burlesque show, and twice as demoralizing. Giants GM Brian Sabean has responded by dealing Benitez back to the Marlins for pennies on the dollar. Good riddance.
While it's good to see that Hernandez is just taking the mound at all, it's hard to believe that something still isn't plaguing him physically, as he's become decidedly more hittable since returning from the DL on May 15. Yes, the strikeouts are still there, and the velocity is returning, but 31 hits allowed in 19 innings since the middle of the month should be a telling sign that this isn't the same pitcher who dominated the Red Sox in early April.
Haren has been frighteningly consistent over the last two months, allowing more than two earned runs in a start just once, and never finishing fewer than six full innings at a time. Of course, like with most pitchers not named Jake Peavy who sported an ERA in the mid-1.00s, a regression to the mean is likely. Haren's opposition list so far this season reads like a who's who of below-average to beyond putrid offenses since April 23: Baltimore, Tampa Bay, Tampa Bay, Kansas City, Kansas City, San Francisco, Baltimore, and Texas. The former Cardinals prospect is good, but it's hard to deny that he's been getting help from the other side.
Sure, The Greek God of Walks is taking fewer free passes than ever before, but that's just what happens when 38% of balls you put in play are dropping for hits, and you're batting .354/.427/.561 overall. Perhaps the one Red Sock who can expect a pretty harsh regression to the mean, Youkilis is showing more power than ever before, causing some analysts to wonder if we're finally seeing some growth in his game, or if it's one of those pesky seven-week flukes. Personally, I'll take the under on his ISO (he's not going to run out too many more inside-the-park jobs, after all), but you have to like his prospects going forward.
Washburn has always had stretches of effectiveness, so it would be inadequate to point to his .258 BABIP like it's the only reason for his surprisingly low ERA. An equally big driver is his improved groundball rate, indicating that he's doing a better job of inducing weaker contact than in years previous. There's no denying that he's been a little lucky in the home runs allowed department, but given that he's walking fewer batters than ever before, I'm not nearly as down on his prospects as you might think.
Protrade Live is the next generation in baseball play-by-play on the web that combines live fan opinions and advanced analytics with the traditional box score for an entirely new experience. Check it out now at www.ProtradeLive.com.