June 15, 2007
Protrade Market Movers
The Ten Most Volatile Players - Week of June 15
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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 7, 2007:
MLB Market Movers
|| June 7
A soft-tosser who always finagled his way into impressive strikeout and walk numbers in the minors, Marcum has finally found a way to transfer that success to the majors (50 K, 18 BB), and it's paying dividends both for the Blue Jays and Protrade investors alike. Granted, Marcum's been riding high on a .242 BABIP, so there's some regression to be expected here. But no matter how you slice it, he's provided great value so far in just 51 innings, and with this improved ability to miss bats, he's a great investment at just $88 per share.
After missing the first two months of the season with a shoulder injury and enduring a debut start that had skeptics holding down the 'Short' button, Kuo has righted the ship in his last two appearances, striking out 12 batters in 13 innings and allowing just two runs in the process. Down the stretch last year, Kuo was a dominant force, striking out better than 10 men for every nine innings and limiting his free passes. Twenty-five and apparently healthy, there's no reason to believe he can't duplicate that performance as the weather heats up. And at $50.35, he's about as much of a low-risk/high-reward investment as you'll find.
For as good as we know Lincecum can be, how much differently would we view his prospect status right now if his last three starts had been his first three starts? Opposing hitters have laid a beat-down on TINYTIM in June, to the tune of .295/.384/.492 and 16 runs in just 14.2 innings. Sure, the strikeouts are still there (15), but the control he showed over a four-game stretch in May has mysteriously vanished, leading to some pretty obvious problems. With his workload starting to mount (he's at 79 combined innings already), there's some reason for concern, especially since he's not likely to be pitching meaningful innings this season. While Lincecum is as capable as anyone of stringing together a 20-inning stretch of utterly unhittable baseball at any point, traders are still choosing to sell high on this former Golden Spikes winner and Washington Huskie.
With speculation rampant that Garcia's season will end with a decision to go under the knife (he's currently seeking out a second opinion), traders are shorting him faster than you can say, "Pat Gillick, master trader." Priced in the $75 range to begin with, Garcia wasn't generating much value for investors, but now that his year looks to be coming to an end, traders are making money off him where they can.
Rumors of the death of Abreu's bat were greatly exaggerated. While his power might never return--despite batting .381 over the last month, he's gone over the fence just once--it was always hard for me to believe that the rest of his skills had disappeared into the night as well, so I've found this recent hot stretch to be particularly exciting. Abreu has always managed to sport BABIPs in the .330s, even despite declining speed in recent years, so I'd consider this streak more of a regression to the mean than a fluke.
Quiet as a church mouse, Weathers has been as good as he's ever been this season, closing in those rare Cincinnati victories, and posting among the best strikeout-to-walk ratios of his career (29 to nine). Relief pitchers coming up on their 37th birthday aren't normally a particularly wise investment, but in a Reds bullpen that's already in shambles, he's the lone jewel, and will continue to get those precious save opportunities that boost his value. A nice low-risk proposition.
Will the real Carlos Zambrano please stand up? He started 2007 by giving up more than 5.5 runs per game, culminating that ugly stretch by allowing six runs on 13 hits while striking out no one in five full innings in his start on June 1. Since then, Zambrano has looked a like a completely different hurler over his last 15 innings, regaining his ability to miss bats and harnessing his control like his livelihood depends on it (and let's be honest here: it does). While his workload over the past five years already raises eyebrows from here to Boston, he hasn't received much respite in '07, eclipsing 114 pitches in six of his last seven trips to the mound. Traders are betting his improvement is for real, but there are still significant risks attached to this soon-to-be free agent/bloody chunk of trade bait.
Sometimes a kick in the pants is all it takes. Not to confuse correlation with causality here, but Encarnacion has hit .341/.413/.524 since being recalled on May 22, on the heels of a .218/.301/.287 start to the season. After some initial skepticism, investors are getting on board with the 23-year-old third baseman, who saw his stock drop so far in his first 101 at-bats that he's still recovering, trading above just six third baseman on our market, and just below Rob Mackowiak.
Still just 23, Fielder is wasting no time establishing himself as one of the league's premier sluggers, improving his strike zone judgment while showing the same power that made his dad such a force in the early '90s in Detroit. Batting a robust .306/.400/.750 with nine homers since May 16, traders are purchasing this blue chip stock in droves, as there are few hitters who seem more likely to justify a $250-plus share price.
The best thing we can say about Kennedy this year is that he's walloped twice as many extra-base hits as Jason Kendall, with eight. Already a less-than-ideal investment in a roto-based market like Protrade's, Kennedy's slow start (.217/.286/.271) isn't emboldening any of his supporters, who deluded themselves into believing that re-signing a 30-year-old career second baseman who hit .273/.334/.384 and stole bases at a 61 percent clip last year was a wise move. This is the way the world ends; not with a bang but a whimper.
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.