July 19, 2007

In order to get an idea of which players' stocks are rising and falling around the league, we'll turn to PROTRADE's Sports Stock Market ...

Carlos Pena (1B, Devil Rays): After struggling through his first half-decade in the majors, Pena finally seems to be cashing in on his immense talent. Playing for his sixth team in the last six seasons, the former Rangers prospect has displayed the plus power that once had scouts salivating, ranking third in the AL in home runs. He has to be slowing down, right? His .370/.491/1.252 line in July begs to differ.

Ted Lilly (SP, Cubs): Lilly struggled with his control during his stint with the Blue Jays, walking over four batters per nine innings over that three-year span. Since his return to the National League, he has nearly cut that walk rate in half while posting a solid strikeout rate (7.83 K/9). In his last six starts, Lilly is 5-0 with a 2.70 ERA and has struck out 36 batters in 43 1/3 innings. Hitters have hit just .210/.266/.357 against him over that period.

Kevin Gregg (RP, Marlins): The Marlins sought to address their closer situation with early-season acquisition Jorge Julio, and when that failed, they bought on Armando Benitez for pennies on the dollar. Still, their best closer option has always remained in-house with Gregg, who blown only one save in his first 20 chances. Since May 16, he is sporting a 3.23 ERA with 29 strikeouts in 30 2/3 innings. He does have a tendency to walk batters (4.36 BB/9), but it's not coming back to bite him yet.

Milton Bradley (OF, Padres): Bradley wore out his welcome in Oakland not long into his second season with the team. A very talented outfielder, the Padres hope that he can add some pop to the middle of their lineup. When healthy, Bradley is a productive hitter who displays good patience at the plate. His power numbers will suffer in Petco Park but his reigns on the basepath should be loosened considerably. He's a value play by PROTRADE users, who sent his price plummeting after being designated for assignment last month.

Andruw Jones (OF, Braves): After a painful first half, traders believe Jones will rebound in the second half. Since July 1, Jones has hit six home runs and driven in 16. With a .286/.390/1.104 line over those 13 games, it looks like he will be able to salvage his season. A good thing for Jones and Scott Boras, considering the pair will be diving into the free agency pool at the end of the season.

Josh Barfield (2B, Indians): Barfield's inability to get on base has caused his value to diminish and relegated him to batting at the bottom of the lineup. He still has yet to develop any sort of plate discipline, taking only 11 walks in 345 plate appearances. Barfield's only tool is his above-average speed on the base paths, but with too few opportunities to capitalize, traders are looking elsewhere.

Chris Capuano (SP, Brewers): In 2005 and 2006, Capuano was a valuable innings eater for the Brewers, eclipsing the 200-innings plateau. However, he is winless in his last nine starts and has a 7.74 ERA over that span. With Ben Sheets on the disabled list, Capuano will keep his rotation spot for the time being, but if Yovani Gallardo continues to impress it could be Caps who shifts to the bullpen upon Sheets' return.

Rickie Weeks (2B, Brewers): Weeks has struggled since returning from a wrist injury, which may still be bothering him at the plate. Since returning to the lineup on June 18, Weeks has posted an anemic .148/.278/.246 line. His poor play has forced Ned Yost's hand as he will no longer be the Brewers' everyday second baseman. A platoon with Tony Graffanino and Craig Counsell has traders jumping ship.

Fernando Cabrera (RP, Indians): After starting out the season leaving hitters in the dust, Cabrera has struggled to get outs. In 20 2/3 innings since April, hitters are posting a .352/.459/.716 line against Cabrera, which certainly explains his ugly 8.27 ERA over that span. He's struggled with control in the past, but never anything close to his 6.06 BB/9 rate. Cabrera must do something quickly because those dangerous AL Central bats sure aren't going to do him any favors.

Joe Kennedy (RP, Athletics): Kennedy has been a do-everything pitcher for the A's, starting the season in the rotation and recently moving to the bullpen. Unfortunately, he hasn't been doing much of anything right. His career-low strikeout rate (3.83 K/9) and career-high walk rate (4.40 BB/9) are both red flags that cannot be ignored. Traders have removed him from their portfolios, but with Justin Duchscherer and Huston Street on the DL, the A's do not have that luxury.

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