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Welcome to Market Movers, Protrade‘s series of reports 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. Last week’s edition can be found here.

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 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, every injury report can be factored into the value of an athlete or team. Equalized across all sports so that in Protrade Dollars (PT$) the best baseball players are worth roughly the same 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 remember: Our newest Protrade MLB Challenge begins on March 16 at 12 a.m. Join now to set your portfolio before it starts. Compete against BP authors and readers on Protrade!

And now, Protrade’s biggest price movers since Feb. 28, 2007:

MLB Market Movers
Rk Player Ticker Team Price Feb. 1 Change
1. Adam Wainwright AWAIN Cardinals $158.46
$137.60 15.16%
His stuff has looked filthier than a Golgothan this spring, and investors are noticing. Ask any Met and he’ll tell you: If this former Braves prospect can drop the hammer half as well as he did last fall, hitters are going to be in for a world of hurt, and not just for one inning at a time.
2. Kevin Kouzmanoff KKOUZ Padres $138.73
$122.64 13.12%
Kouz doesn’t get nearly as much pub as National League prospects like Chris Young, but the Protrade market loves his chances for a NL Rookie of the Year Award. With a starting spot all but assured in the San Diego lineup, this former Indians farmhand is a good bet to be this year’s Adrian Gonzalez: forgotten by the greater baseball community, but poised for a breakout in the warm air of Southern California.
3. Gary Matthews Jr. GMATT Angels $163.43
$187.72 12.94%
As Jenny Lewis once wrote, “Baby, I’m bad news.” Thanks to reports surrounding an HGH shipment that was allegedly addressed to Little Sarge (among others), our market is beginning to sour on the new Angels center fielder, who is coming off the best season of his career.
4. Hong-Chih Kuo HKUO Dodgers $142.12
$126.15 12.66%
The market never forgets. Kuo was absolutely lights-out in the second half of last year, striking out better than 11 batters per nine innings while allowing just one homer and nine walks. It’s possible he starts 2007 in the bullpen, but traders understand that this 24-year-old is first in line to step into the rotation once Brad Penny goes down or is shipped to another city.
5. Alex Rodriguez AROD Yankees $358.36
$319.62 12.12%
I’m not sure if you’ve heard, but Rodriguez’s 2006 was seen as a disappointment in some circles. Nevertheless, our market likes him for a bounce-back, despite some pretty lofty earnings projections. If there’s one hitter who can make a $330 forecast seem low, it’s Albert Pujols. But if there’s another player who can make a .280/35/115/120/15 line seem woefully conservative, it’s A-Rod. Like that other third baseman from across town, this is a blue chip that’s worth the investment.
6. Rich Harden HARDEN Athletics $171.50
$154.46 11.03%
It’s easy to forget just how good Harden can be when he’s healthy, but remember, a year ago he was considered a front-runner for the AL Cy Young Award following a stellar 2005 stretch drive. Despite concerns surrounding his throwing elbow, our market is bullish on Harden’s spring performance in Peoria, where he’s reportedly feeling strong enough to mow down San Diegans faster than Ron Burgundy with a car full of burritos.
7. Kei Igawa IGAWA Yankees $127.59
$143.17 10.88%
Igawa’s price has shot up more than 10% in February, but investors are getting bearish after seeing him get knocked around in spring training. Trading at $127 per share, he’s a bargain if you believe he’ll be half as good as Daisuke Matsuzaka, whose hype is beginning to reach “Snakes on a Plane”-level proportions.
8. Mark Kotsay MKOTS Athletics $111.17
$124.42 10.65%
In an effort to avoid Under the Knife headlines, Kotsay announced Wednesday that he’ll undergo surgery to repair a herniated disk and is expected to miss eight to 12 weeks. This is an easy shorting opportunity for most traders, who are already taking advantage.
9. Derrek Lee DERREK Cubs $268.30
$243.67 10.11%
Protrade’s favorite celebrity spokesman (Shameless Plug Alert: Using PT$ from your portfolio, you can have lunch with Derrek Lee and go to a Cubs game) has started the spring with guns blazing, reaching base safely 10 times in his first 16 at-bats. Something tells us that wrist is 100 percent now.
10. Manny Ramirez MANNY Red Sox $302.33
$276.13 9.49%
Unlike traditional fantasy baseball, getting a jump on news is just as important on the Protrade market as reacting to performance. With Ramirez entering Sox camp after a short delay, investors are breathing a sigh of relief and buying shares of Boston’s mercurial slugger.

Our newest Protrade MLB Challenge begins on March 16 at 12 a.m. Join now to set your portfolio before it starts. Compete against BP authors and readers on Protrade!

Jeff Ma is a co-founder of Protrade.

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