June 8, 2007
Protrade Market Movers
The Ten Most Volatile Players - Week of June 8
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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 June 1, 2007:
MLB Market Movers
|| June 1
Hand it to Sabathia, who has overcome significant questions about his weight and his workload to become the best left-handed starter this side of Johan Santana. There are few pitchers who combine Sabathia's ability to miss bats and hit the strike zone on a consistent basis, as evidenced by his K:BB ratio of nearly 6:1, second in the game only to teammate Paul Byrd. There aren't many pitchers sitting on a 3.40 ERA that you can bet on to improve as the weather heats up, but considering that C.C. has had to put up with a .323 BABIP, he's a charter member of that group. A complete stud.
Kotchman struggled in his first few stints as a major league first baseman, but now that he's free of mono and not looking over his shoulder for a glaring Darin Erstad, it seems he's finally fulfilling his potential. Batting a robust .423/.500/.731 over the last month, Protrade users are adding Kotchman's under-priced stock to their portfolios as fast as they can. By Protrade's scoring system, he's earned 50% more than someone like Jason Giambi, yet even with an injury sidelining the Yankee DH, Kotchman's stock is still priced lower. That won't be the case for long.
Since getting shelled and subsequently demoted from Houston's closer role on April 8, Lidge has allowed just six runs (five earned) over 28 innings while striking out 38. He hasn't allowed a run in 14 of his last 15 appearances, so you can understand why he appears to have regained the confidence of manager Phil Garner. With Dan Wheeler struggling mightily so far in June--his ERA is up to 5.60 after surrendering three more runs on Thursday--Lidge could find himself back in the closer's role, where he belongs.
There's no denying that the Red Sox needed to add someone like Matsuzaka this offseason, so it's hard to criticize the deal. However, while his peripherals rank among the AL's best, he's been rather unlucky when it comes to balls in play. What's truly disconcerting, however, is the pretty large disconnect between how DICEK pitches on the road compared to Fenway Park. Despite controlling the strike zone like a master in Boston (he's issued just seven free passes in 41 innings there), the former Seibu standout has been rocked in his home appearances, to the tune of a 5.62 ERA and 48 hits allowed. Is he particularly ill-suited for making starts in front of the Green Monster? We don't have enough innings to tell for sure, but like most of RSN, I'm crossing my fingers that the answer is no, and we're merely seeing an otherwise stellar hurler make adjustments on the fly.
Would a neon arrow pointing to his ragged right arm make fans more worried about his long-term prospects? My guess is no. After all, signs that Morris has been luckier than Phil Leotardo are everywhere: he's sporting the worst K rate and second-highest walk rate of any season of his career, and his HR/FB% is far lower than the norm he's established since 2003. And yet, he still ranks 10th in the league in ERA, giving up 2.51 earned runs for every nine innings. Traders are selling high on this former Cardinal, as they most definitely should.
Given the limited number of starts he'll be making in 2007, I think it's gonna be a long, long time until we still Clemens' name on this list again. Currently priced at $117, ROCKET would have to nearly duplicate last season's performance--against stiff competition in the DH league--just to meet the market's projection. But then again, what do I know? All this science, I don't understand.
It's true that Aardsma has been more prone to giving up runs over the last couple weeks than before, but that should hardly offset his value to the White Sox. Nevertheless, this former first-round pick is headed back to Triple-A Charlotte, where hitters won't be able to hit his fastball. Protrade users are already short-selling his stock into oblivion, so he'll be primed for a spike when Ozzie Guillen needs his services in the sixth inning in a couple weeks.
Reynolds has been raking since stepping in for Chad Tracy at third base. Market traders have been riding the wave on him since his IPO, which erred on the low side since Tracy is due to return shortly, most likely taking playing time with him. Reynolds has posted a ridiculous .423 BABIP in his first 84 plate appearances--that should regress significantly, taking his batting average down with it.
You don't normally ask "Is he making the leap?" when talking about a 28-year-old starter with a career 5.33 ERA, but that's where we're at with Rodriguez, who appears to be a completely different pitcher since entering 2007. He is striking out 8.5 batters per nine innings, which ranks 11th among all major league starters, and is more than 20% higher than his career rate; he's halved his walk rate to boot. Traders have been very cautious with Rodriguez due to his background, but are beginning to buy in.
Gaudin entered the season as a relative unknown but has been a key component for an Athletics team decimated by injuries. Gaudin's avoidance of overthrowing has greatly improved his performance on the mound and has him pitching better than ever. His solid K/9 (6.1), K/BB (1.7), and ability to keep the ball in the park (only three home runs allowed) have established Gaudin as a better bet going forward than two-thirds of hurlers out there.
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