August 10, 2007
Protrade Market Movers
The Ten Most Volatile Players, Week of 8/10/07
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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 Aug. 2, 2007:
MLB Market Movers
|| Aug. 2
At what point do we just give up on Weeks? A thousand at-bats into his Major League career, and we've seen little from the former Southern University star aside from persistent injuries and a complete inability to hit for average. Granted, it's probably too early to write him off as a bust, but it's clear that Brewers management and PROTRADE investors alike are struggling with this issue. Scheduled to return from Triple-A at the end of the week, he'll get another chance to prove himself, as the surprisingly adequate Tony Graffanino (.278/.354/.530 since June 4) is reportedly done for the year with a torn ACL. The market is betting against Weeks' ability to make much of an impact.
|| Devil Rays
We've always known that Gomes could be a productive player--in stretches. In fact, just a few weeks ago I guessed that "he'll be headed back to the bench sometime before The Bourne Ultimatum gives up its No. 1 spot at the box office." Well, the current wave of good work from Jonny J. has persisted much longer than we're accustomed to--since the start of June, he's hit .293 with 12 home runs in 150 ABs while slugging .607. Enjoy the prosperity while it's here, because you never know when another .203/.289/.392 month is coming. (Oh, and while you're at it, see the new Bourne film.)
Benoit has been solid all season long, posting excellent numbers (2.79 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 9.83 K/9) despite a difficult home park. As is often the case in fantasy, the recent uptick in his stock price has more to do with opportunity than improved performance. With Eric Gagne departing for Boston and Akinori Otsuka on the shelf, Benoit will likely at least split the save opportunities in Texas with C.J. Wilson. The saves will certainly help his value, but he's been a great value even without them.
A solid down-ballot MVP candidate at this point in the season, there should be little question left surrounding Johnson's ability. He's a stud in the Chase Utley mold, featuring superb power for a middle-infielder, adequate strike zone control (58 BB vs. 84 K this season), and superb defense (Clay Davenport puts Johnson at 12 runs above average with the glove). Originally projected for roughly $130 in market earnings, Johnson has already surpassed that figure in four-and-a-half months' time. For those who purchased his stock at the beginning of the season, congratulations. It's all gravy from here on out.
Fed up with his gopheritis and inability to consistently hit the strike zone, the Indians sent Cabrera packing this week. Logic would dictate that he'll find a home before the month is out--pitchers with a career K/9 above 10 don't grow on trees--but until he does he'll be a prime short-selling target for PROTRADE investors. Of course, we're 93 innings removed from his stellar rookie campaign when he managed the lowest walk rate of his (admittedly short) career, so focusing solely on his Ks probably isn't the best way of looking at his potential.
Sure, there are reasons to believe that the drubbing Pedro received the other night in Single-A isn't significant. But would we really be saying the same thing if he no-hit the opposition? PROTRADE investors are betting that the once-brilliant, now-fragile Martinez won't be the same hurler when (or is it "if"?) he returns to Shea Stadium.
We're admittedly pretty big "Gatkins" fans over at PROTRADE, but it's easier for most people to understand when they see that our boy has more than rebounded from his cold start, batting .344/.381/.624 with 58(!) RBI since mid-June. Traders, by and large, have stayed patient with the UCLA product, and their trust is beginning to pay off. He's up more than nine percent over the last week, and upcoming series against Pittsburgh and San Francisco should give him more opportunities to add to those sweet, sweet counting stats.
Is there a more overlooked pitcher than Aaron Harang? In 2005 and 2006, he posted ERAs of 3.83 and 3.76, respectively, while throwing well over 200 innings in both years. In the process, he's improved his K rate from solid to very good. This year, his ERA and WHIP have both improved again (3.37 and 1.16). He's done all of this while pitching in Cincinnati, an offensive environment that gives hurlers nightmares. And yet, Harang's name never comes up when the discussion turns to the best starters in baseball. That it has taken the market this long to realize how good his season has been underscores this point.
|| Red Sox
Nate Silver has probably spent hundreds of hours of his life defending PECOTA's love for Dustin Pedroia. As the argument goes, Pedroia may never be a superstar, but his chance of success is very high. Low ceiling, but high likelihood of reaching it. It looks like even Nate may have underestimated how good Pedroia could be. His .326/.399/.447 line outstrips even the most bullish projections while placing him among the top ten second basemen in the league. He'll never hit for enough power or steal enough bases to be an elite fantasy producer, but he's already very useful, and still chronically underrated.
While Kim still finds a way to miss bats, his control problems persist, which keeps him from being a useful rotation contributor. Dealt to the D'backs after another unsuccessful stint as a starter, PROTRADE investors are a little less than keen on the idea of the former closer pitching half his innings in a place that can make even Carlos Quentin look like an adequate hitter 81 games a year.
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.