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June 29, 2007

Protrade Market Movers

The Ten Most Volatile Players - Week of June 29, 2007

by Jeff Ma

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Protrade.com is sponsoring a new Baseball Prospectus Challenge that begins July 1 at midnight. It's free, it's easy, and it's a fun way to compete against the smartest sports fan community in the world, including a number of BP authors. Click here to sign up today and win great prizes.

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.

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 June 23, 2007:

MLB Market Movers
Rk Player Ticker Team Price June 23 Change
1. Erik Bedard EBEDA Orioles $189.59
$161.51 17.38%
On May 4, Erik Bedard was the not-so-proud owner of a 5.62 ERA. Despite sporting a strikeout rate that ranked among the highest figures in the game at the time, he was simply having trouble keeping runs off the board, and some traders were beginning to get impatient with his stock. Since then, however, things have turned around for the 29-year-old lefty, who's been close to the best pitcher in the game. His numbers since that first week in May? 67 IP, 17 BB, 83 K and 4 HR, all contributing to a miniscule 2.01 ERA.
2. Alex Gordon AGORD Royals $126.23
$109.28 15.51%
Don't look now, but the former Nebraska Cornhusker seems to have found his stroke after enduring a horrendous stretch to begin his MLB career. Batting .306/.368/.508 with 15 extra-base hits since May 19, Gordon's case for AL Rookie of the Year might already be lost (there are currently six AL rookies who've topped 20 VORP, which is nearly 20 more runs than he's created), but his growth as a hitter was always more important anyway, so Kansas City fans and Protrade investors can at least take solace in his improvement, even if it's coming too late to garner any hardware.
3. Eric Byrnes EBYRN D'backs $207.44
$180.35 15.02%
Byrnes has always been a solid contributor, but over the last year he's made some legitimate gains, raising his profile from "useful bat off the bench" to "the third most productive fantasy outfielder in the game, ahead of Carlos Beltran." The difference comes from his performance against righties, who he struggled against in the past, but has hammered at a .333/.377/.508 clip in 2007. A little fluky? Definitely. But for those of us who love that man under that messy mop of hair, it's good news.
4. Cristian Guzman CGUZM Nationals $66.91
$78.50 14.77%
It was too good to be true. Cutting short his most productive season since before the advent of MySpace and high-quality camera phones, Guzman sprained his left thumb on Monday, which resulted in a torn ligament, ending his season. As fast they as jumped on the Guzman bangwagon, traders are now vacating it, sending his stock price plummeting.
5. Roy Oswalt OSWALT Astros $242.62
$281.62 13.85%
While Oswalt has continued to eat up innings like Takeru Kobayashi consumes hot dogs (er, or maybe not), his peripheral numbers have quietly slid and traders are beginning to hedge on their investment. Granted, he's still capable of muscling his way into fine starts like Thursday night's, but it's hard to ignore the fact that his ERA over the last six weeks resides in the mid-4.00s and his adjusted walk and strikeout rates are currently the worst of his career by far.
6. Yovani Gallardo YOGA Brewers $97.45
$86.62 12.49%
One of our market's newest IPOs, Gallardo has yet to garner the attention that TINYTIM did right off the bat, but there's an argument to be made that he'll face fewer bumps in the road in his first turn around the league. While some traders are staying away from his stock out of fear that Gallardo will be demoted to the bullpen in the near future, there are still optimists who believe that his stellar strikeout totals from Triple-A will keep him in his starting job, as the Brewers need all the help they can get in protecting their NL Central lead.
7. Travis Buck TBUCK Athletics $124.80
$111.12 12.31%
Good enough to render Milton Bradley irrelevant, Buck has been one of the few sources of above-average production for the A's, drawing plenty of walks and flashing power to all fields. He probably doesn't provide the same value to a fantasy roster as he does a real-life roster, but with his playing time assured going forward, traders are jumping on his stock all the same.
8. Randy Johnson UNIT D'backs $145.12
$129.80 11.80%
Thursday's start not withstanding, Johnson has actually been quite effective this season, posting his highest K rate since 2002. Sure, he's not the workhorse that he once was at his peak, but for a 44-year-old who's currently priced in the middle class of starters, he's actually quite a bargain. Of course, while there's no denying that RJ was more than a little unlucky last year, this is also probably a lesson in just how much easier it is to pitch in the NL West than the AL East.
9. Matt Cain MCAIN Astros $189.88
$211.99 10.43%
While it's nice to see the mainstream media acknowledge that Cain has been routinely shafted this year, enduring run support so poor that even Jake Peavy would have trouble winning games, one thing that they fail to mention is that Cain's peripherals are down pretty significantly this year, and especially so over the last month. That's what's driving this decline in stock value, as traders are not only souring on a Giants offense that has trouble providing anything for its starters, but also on a pitcher whose reputation probably exceeds his skill at this point.
10. Scott Rolen ROLEN Cardinals $178.69
$197.57 9.56%
At 33, Rolen is enduring another poor season at the plate, similar to his injury-shortened 2005 when he posted an OPS that was 15% below league average. And unfortunately, there's little in his profile to suggest this is a fluke; after all, the decline really started about a year ago, as Rolen hit just .253/.333/.447 in the second half last season, and his BABIP has hovered right around league average in 2007. While corner infielders with a broad skill-set aren't known for collapsing in their early-30s, it makes at least a little bit of sense to me, as Rolen was always a highly physical player who seemed to endure more physical wear and tear than the majority of men at the hot corner.

Protrade.com is sponsoring a new Baseball Prospectus Challenge that begins July 1 at midnight. It's free, it's easy, and it's a fun way to compete against the smartest sports fan community in the world, including a number of BP authors. Click here to sign up today and win great prizes.

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