September 21, 2007
Protrade Market Movers
Biggest Gainers Since the ASB
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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. Protrade is 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 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 as the best football and basketball players in Protrade Dollars (PT$), 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 top 10 market gainers since the All-Star break:
MLB Market Movers
It's easy to forget that this is the same guy who hit .321/.421/.501 for the Indians a handful of seasons ago, but finally healthy and apparently rejuvenated after being dealt for pennies on the dollar, Bradley has been one of sole bright spots in a lineup that would be more productive if it wasn't playing half its games in Petco Park. Batting .321/.428/.597 since coming to the Padres (and .313/.403/.612 in San Diego), Uncle Milty is helping Kevin Towers look wise for taking on this low-risk/high-reward proposition.
He might not be the best reliever of the second half, but I have to imagine he's close. The owner of a minuscule 1.74 ERA since the All-Star break, Benoit has shown flashes of brilliance coming out of the Rangers bullpen, allowing just 26 opponents to reach base in his last 37 innings. That those same guys are batting just .157/.222/.259 in that time frame lends credence to the idea that this isn't just another Chris Hammond-style fluke. This guy is missing plenty of bats, and the ones he's not missing are failing to make much hard contact, even in the run-inflating environment of Texas' home digs.
While Gomes might never repeat the promise he showed in 2004 as the D-Rays DH, he's still the type of player who will go undervalued in MLB and fantasy leagues alike. Gomes' production this year has come in fits and starts, but he's racked up enough playing time since the All-Star break to serve as a low-risk investment, and that's translated into a nice uptick in his overall market value.
You're probably sick of seeing Pedroia's name on this list, week after week, but there's not much we can do until he stops hitting. Batting .336/.391/.460 since May 23, the diminutive BoSock has provided a nice punch at the top of the Boston lineup, and as a result, traders have reversed some of their early-season skepticism.
It's true: Baker's season has been marked ups and downs. But after a disastrous middle period where he saw his ERA rise into Kip Wells territory, he's managed to find his groove, allowing just 22 runs in his last 67 1/3 frames, good for a nifty 2.94 ERA and better than a three-to-one strikeout-to-walk ratio. I think it's safe to assume that Baker will always have problems keep the ball in the park, but it's stretches like this that make you realize that that's hardly a fatal flaw if you can limit those free passes.
Sure, a lot of Bannister's success can be credited to the BABIP gods, but in a world that values fantasy production, that's just half a dozen of the other. Bannister's seen a sharp increase in his home run rate in the second half, but even when paired with a decline in his strikeouts, he's managed to lower his season ERA, thanks to pinpoint control (just 19 walks in 84 second-half innings). This isn't a sustainable performance by any stretch of the imagination, but that doesn't mean we can't tip our hat to one of the sole bright spots in Kauffman Stadium.
It took Protrade users a while to shake the disappointment of Edwin's .221/.294/.260 April, but they've come around in the second half, as he returned from a minor-league demotion and promptly raked to the tune of .313/.371/.480. Still a young hitter with a well-rounded skill-set, Encarnacion has benefited from the friendly confines of the GABp (his ISO registers 50 points higher in Cincinnati), but like with Bannister, that only matters to you if you're valuing process ahead of outcomes.
Is there anyone we should be less surprised to see on this list? Pena has been crushing the ball since day one with the Devil Rays, and as the year has rolled on, it's become evident that this isn't some sort of 150 at-bat fluke, more influenced by lucky balls-in-play numbers than the emergence of talent we long-knew he had. Batting .267/.402/.593 since the All-Star break, Pena would be a legitimate down-ballot MVP candidate if voters understood how to separate individual performance from team-level ineptitude.
As Joe Sheehan noted recently, if you don't know much about Tulo, just wait until he shows up at the top of RotY ballots of all the stathead tastemakers.
What a difference a year makes. Twelve months ago, Billingsley was struggling to miss bats, and perhaps just as troubling, unable to find the strike zone on a regular basis. He's taken a giant leap forward in 2007 by striking out nearly a batter per inning and cutting his walk rate by more than 50 percent. Though the Dodgers have faded down the stretch, he'll be a key piece of their rotation in 2008. Now, if only Ned Colletti could find a way to get the right hitters in the lineup to support his stable of hurlers.
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 ProtradeLive.com.