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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.

For those unfamiliar with Protrade, we are 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 April 5, 2007:

MLB Market Movers
Rk Player Ticker Team Price April 5 Change
1. Chris Carpenter CCARP Carindals $150.70
$146.19 26.14%

The developments surrounding Carpenter’s injury are already well-known around these parts, so there’s no need to restate the facts. Protrade investors have used recent news to take advantage of the high expectations surrounding the former Cy Young Award winner, short-selling him faster than Carlos Mencia reaches for someone else’s material. It doesn’t seem likely that he’ll be back this month, missing at least five starts, so a 15% loss would be the minimum you’d expect to see here. Protrade investors are obviously pessimistic about an early return; that $150 projection pegs Carpenter’s value at roughly No. 50 among all pitchers under the fantasy scoring system.

2. Felix Hernandez FHERN Mariners $268.88
$241.09 11.53%

There are no words for how good King Felix has been so far. If he were a primetime drama, he’d be Deadwood. If he were an album, he’d be OK Computer. If he were a film from the 1980s, he’d be Raging Bull. Trading at $268 per share, our market thinks he’ll top 15 wins and 220 strikeouts while allowing just a baserunner per inning. Optimistic? Maybe. But is there a pitcher in the game we should be giddier about right now?

3. Barry Zito ZITO Giants $150.44
$168.70 10.82%

Zito is probably better than he’s shown so far this season, but when you’re only generating as many swings-and-misses as you’re giving up runs (that’s right: 13 of each), it’s a terrible sign.

3. Akinori Iwamura AIWAM Devil Rays $130.24
$117.81 10.55%

Lost among the hubbub surrounding DICEK’s arrival, Iwamura was considered to be one of the best hitters in Japan, where he’d batted at least .300 and slugged .540 in every season since 2004. He’s no Ichiro, to be sure, but current East-to-West translations put his performance in the Chad Tracy class of third basemen–a valuable commodity at the right price. Day traders have pushed up his value for now; his current $130 projection is $12 above his IPO. The thing is, he’s already earned $22 in two weeks’ time. As the people at Merrill Lynch like to say: Be bullish.

5. Jorge Julio JJULI Marlins $77.88
$86.31 9.77%

It’s true that Julio is among this week’s most steeeply declining stocks, given all the blown saves, and it’s possible that he’s fallen even further by the time you’re reading this. A few weeks ago we wrote that the only question facing Julio was whether he could keep his newly-anointed closer label. If this isn’t a resounding no, then I’m not sure what is.

6. Rafael Soriano RSORI Braves $64.80
$59.46 8.99%
Call it insurance against Bob Wickman. Even though Soriano has started slowly (he’s allowed three runs and five baserunners in 4.2 IP), traders are aware of the underlying potential here–after all, when he’s on (and healthy), Soriano is as electric as a fork in a wall socket. At his current price, he’s a bargain-basement pickup, but there’s more upside here than in Dan Wheeler and David Weathers put together.
7. Matt Holliday MHOLL Rockies $273.52
$252.07 8.51%
Yes, he takes advantage of his surroundings (2006: .373/.440/.692 in Denver, .280/.333/.485 everywhere else), but can you really hold that against him? In a Roto format, he’s a great bet. After all, his main performance indicators have been trending up, he’s turning 27, and a repeat of last year’s humidorization in Coors has to be the worst-case-scenario of any environmental projection. Oh, and that I took him with my second pick in BP Kings has nothing to do with my sunny optimism about his future.
8. Mike Jacobs MJACO Marlins $163.04
$150.60 8.26%

A stathead favorite from his time in the Mets system, Jacobs underwhelmed last season, and as a result, enters 2007 with a diminished price projection that’s ripe for exploiting. A hot 12-for-35 start has already caused traders to take notice. Even in that park, it’s evident how legit his power really is.

9. Scott Linebrink SLINE Padres $70.15
$65.43 7.22%
Sort of like Soriano with the Braves, call this a case of insurance against Trevor Hoffman. Linebrink is already a top-tier setup man, able to keep the ball in the park and neutralize lefties without breaking a sweat. He doesn’t have the upside that Soriano has, but he’s more likely to get through the year without spending time on the DL.
10. Brad Lidge LIDGE Astros $112.85
$121.50 7.12%

Lidge was the preeminent setup man in the NL at his peak–a workhorse who could turn games into six-inning affairs. Back in that role for now, he’ll likely see his workload increase along with his strikeout totals, but without the saves he becomes about as valuable as the fantasy version of Joel Zumaya. He’s worth holding onto, though.

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