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August 3, 2007

Protrade Market Movers

The Ten Most Volatile Players

by Jeff Ma

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Your wait is over, baseball fans--Protrade Live Beta is now up and running at www.ProtradeLive.com. Protrade Live is the next generation in baseball play-by-play on the web, and combines fan opinions and real-time Win Probability calculations with the traditional box score for an entirely new experience. Check it out--it's like nothing you've ever seen.

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 July 28, 2007:

MLB Market Movers
Rk Player Ticker Team Price July 28 Change
1. Mark Teixeira MTEIX Braves $228.76
$194.98 17.32%
The trading deadline's biggest catch is also Protrade's biggest mover, rising more than 17 percent with a relocation eastward. While I can think of a few reasons to be skeptical about his long-term prospects--for as much weight as his name carries, after all, T-Rex is has been just a .264/.358/.489 hitter away from Arlington in his career--he's a huge upgrade for the Braves, and traders love his transition to the weaker league. The "hidden" market value associated with this move comes with the increased probability that Teixeira will play in the postseaon, which means an extra set of games for the Georgia Tech product to accrue Protrade earnings.
2. Jarrod Saltalamacchia SALTY Rangers $60.58
$52.00 16.50%
Of course, if the possibility of an extra series is a boon for Teixeira on the Protrade market, that means the opposite for SALTY, who migrates to a team that was out of the pennant race in May. Luckily for him, he'll benefit from the hot Texas air, which has a knack for not only increasing power numbers (not exactly his specialty yet), but batting average as well (Exhibit A: Teixeira). Some traders are no doubt reacting strictly to the newsworthiness of this deal, but Salty earns his optimistic projection for the rest of the season. There isn't a catching prospect I'd rather have in the game today.
3. Morgan Ensberg MENSB Padres $122.91
$108.24 13.55%
Sure, the Astros gave up on him after a rough four months, but Protrade users aren't so short-sighted. There's a body of evidence to suggest that Ensberg is much better than his season numbers would suggest, and moving to a new locale might be just what he needs to get back on track. Batting a not-exactly-DFA-worthy .271/.350/.414 since mid-June--or roughly the same production that All-Star Freddy Sanchez has provided this year--Ensberg joins the Padres with low expectations but a chance of supplying pleasant surprises.
4. Jeff Francis JFRAN.C Rockies $120.63
$106.66 13.09%
Quiet as a church mouse, Francis has dominated since mid-May, going 9-1 with a better than four-to-one strikeout-to-walk ratio. That's a far cry from his first 40 innings, when he posted an ERA approaching 6.00 and couldn't control the strike zone. Francis has been even better than he was last summer, when he managed to hold a sub-4.00 ERA into September. He might not fulfill the expectations heaped on him as a prospect as he pitched way up through the Rockies system despite hostile run environments, but he's establishing himself as a guy who can post an ERA that's 15 percent better than the league average in a place where most guys can't.
5. Chone Figgins CHONE Angels $181.72
$161.93 12.22%
On June 17, Figgins was batting .258/.305/.325, and didn't look like he was fully recovered from the hand injury that kept him from the starting the year on the active roster. Over the next two nights, however, CHONE went 8-for-12, and he's never looked back. Batting an eye-popping .414/.471/.526 since then, he's been among the hottest hitters on the planet, and is a big reason why the Angels have distanced themselves from the rest of the AL West pack in that time. Sure, he still generates less power than a couple AA batteries, but when you're reaching base half the time you're making contact, the finer details of your offensive performance have a way of fading into the background.
6. Chase Utley CHASE Phillies $287.41
$326.12 11.87%
It's not surprising that Utley's price bottomed out after he got hit on the hand last Thursday; it sent him to the DL for four to six weeks (or less, if you believe what Philadelphia is trying to tell the media). The surprise is that he didn't drop more. As you can see from his price graph, Protrade's market corrected on Utley's true value within a day of his injury, keeping him as the top-rated second baseman in the land. Will he be the same upon returning from the DL? Only time will tell, but at least for the moment, the investors who make up our market think he'll be just fine.
7. Matt Cain MCAIN Giants $169.44
$190.40 11.01%
Subtract April from Cain's season line, and what do you get? You get a pitcher who allows an opponent's OPS of 800 despite pitching half his innings in one offensive cemetery of a ballpark, someone who has a terrible time controlling the strike zone (66 K's and 46 walks in 88 IP since May 3), and a guy who isn't nearly as adept at depressing BABIP as he was last season. This is the pitcher that Protrade investors are beginning to see, and as a result, his price is dropping down to pedestrian levels.
8. Brad Penny BPENN Dodgers $175.06
$195.14 10.29%
It would be hard for me to believe that Penny's last three starts (comprised of 17.1 innings, 18 hits, and 10 runs allowed) signify a sea change in his performance. All his peripheral indicators were pointed in the right direction for the first three and a half months, and even after getting knocked around over the last few weeks, he's still missing bats (18 K's in those 17.1 IP). Traders are simply taking advantage of his regression and some of the paranoia surrounding how unworldly he's been for most of 2007.
9. Robinson Cano RCANO Yankees $190.81
$195.14 10.00%
Yes, he started slower than Robin Ventura rounding third, but he's been a decidedly different hitter since before Memorial Day, batting .341/.384/.557 in that period, which is almost exactly in line with his 2006 performance. Yes, batting average is a fickle mistress who is unlikely to stay faithful over time, but given Cano's skill-set and performance over the last 900 at-bats or so (he batted .384/.395/.634 in Sept. of '05, to boot), I think we have to concede that he has a special knack for putting the bat on the ball, and that the difference between him and Howie Kendrick over the next decade will be a little closer than was once assumed.
10. Hong-Chih Kuo HKUO Dodgers $29.20
$32.32 9.68%
I'm as big of a Kuo fan as there is, but 2007 is a completely lost season for the Taiwanese southpaw, and his final price drop represents the last remaining traders divesting themselves of his stock. That said, I'd put him in the middle of your 2008 sleeper pile as soon as reports on his elbow come back positive.

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.

Jeff Ma is a co-founder of Protrade.

Related Content:  The Who,  Fan Reactions

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