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Thursday, March 15, 2007

Protrade: a Sports Stock Market

Over the past few days, I've been playing around with Protrade. If you haven't yet checked it out, it's a pretty fun site. Essentially, you're able to buy or sell (with fake money--it's a free site) "stock" in different MLB players. That stock price will move up or down depending on the purchasing decisions of other users--presumably, players who perform well will see their shares increase in value (Pujols is currently listed at a ridiculous $432.59/share), while players who do poorly (or are not well-liked) will see their shares decline.

You can also buy players in other sports, as well as teams in the NCAA tournament. Furthermore, while I haven't gotten into it yet, you can spend a lot of your money "shorting" players, where you buy shares expecting them to decline in value, not increase. My only critique about ProTrade is that the available player selection is a bit small. Only 13 Reds players are available, with guys like Alex Gonzalez, Kirk Saarloos, Josh Hamilton, Joey Votto, and Homer Bailey not available for purchase yet.

It's a neat concept, and since it's free (you get $5k in fake money to start, plus another $10k after you make 5 trades in your first week), I went ahead and started an account. My plan has been primarily to target quality young players who should have a good season, moving from prospect to established player status. I'll also take players who are coming off a bad season and that I expect to rebound. As such, here's my current portfolio and current price:

  • Adam Dunn @ $234.41 - I might drop him, not because I don't think he'll rebound, but because I think the market may already have assumed he'll rebound this season.
  • Edwin Encarnacion @ $170.84 - I think he's going to have a great season, and should be worth ~$200 by season's end.
  • Kyle Lohse @ $76.87 - I think he'll stick in the rotation, and while not a star, should be worth $100-125 or so.
  • Dave Ross @ $99.17 - I'm surprised to see him rated so low. I don't think he'll repeat his '06 performance, but he should be worth average starting catcher money...Say $125?
Other Teams
  • Zach Duke @ $104.41 - Young starter for PIT, I think he'll do well this year and should be worth $150 or so.
  • Conor Jackson @ $167.71 - Up and coming 1B with amazing plate patience. Has had a few good years already, and looks ready to break out.
  • Carlos Quentin @ $166.60 - Might be one to drop. He'll probably have a good year and might increase, but I'm less confident about him than the other ARI kids.
  • Ian Snell SP-PIT @ $131.03 - Another young starter for PIT, with many projections indicating a better season for him than Duke.
  • Adam Wainwright SP-STL @ $159.83 - I think he's poised to have a great season as a starter for STL (finally).
  • Chris Young OF-ARI @ $160.09 - He's an early pick for NL rookie of the year.
Thoughts? Comments? I do not pay very close attention to other ballclubs, so I'm admittedly a bit naive about a lot of those players (though I have been tracking the Arizona kids the past year or so). I'm also reading that the current baseball market is a bit inflated vs. last year. It seems like an above-average starting pitcher last year was worth something around ~$150-200 (tops @ ~$280), whereas an above-average hitter was worth ~$200-250 (tops @ ~$320). ... Come to think of it, shorting might turn out to be a good strategy in the current market. :)