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Daily Baseball 101: TradeSports MLB Contests

Jerry Donabedian

Jerry Donabedian

Jerry Donabedian writes about fantasy sports for RotoWire.


The World Cup may be winding down, but on TradeSports that only means baseball is heating up. As sad as it may be to bid adieu to the Cup, the contest options for Major League Baseball are expanding, with new game-types seemingly a daily occurrence.

This time around, I’m going to discuss “RBI Monday”, a game that allowed users to trade stocks based on whether or not some of the game’s top batters would record an RBI on Monday night. Yes, the name is pretty self-explanatory.

Contest #1
RBI Monday, July 7
$5.50 entry, eight players, 50/50 payout ($10 each)

Budget: $50,000

-Nelson Cruz to have an RBI ($37)
-Jose Abreu to have an RBI ($42)
-Mike Trout to have an RBI ($44)
-Josh Donaldson to have an RBI ($34)
-Giancarlo Stanton to have an RBI ($43)
-Paul Goldschmidt to have an RBI ($35)

Contest Requirement: You must have $2,000+ frozen on at least 4 stocks when trading stops.

As you can see, the stocks revolve around some of the top hitters in baseball, with prices dependent on a number of factors. Why was Josh Donaldson’s stock so cheap? He’s been ice-cold since early June, and he was facing a decent right-handed pitcher in San Francisco’s Ryan Vogelsong. Why was a red-hot Nelson Cruz among the cheaper options? He was facing a nasty right-hander who you’ve probably heard of – Nationals ace Stephen Strasburg.

As is the case for pretty much any daily game, the first thing to look at is each batter’s pitching opponent. Asides from Cruz, none of the sluggers had a tough matchup, though Donaldson’s handedness splits and cold streak cast doubt upon his ability to produce against Vogelsong.

Trout seemed to have the best matchup of the bunch, facing immensely hittable Blue Jays lefty J.A. Happ. The Angels’ superstar had actually fared better against right-handed pitching until this season, but Happ has always struggled against right-handed batters, and he’s proven to be a lousy starter. However, Trout’s No. 2 slotting in the order put him at a slight disadvantage compared to the other sluggers, especially given that the Angels’ leadoff hitter, Kole Calhoun, isn’t known for his prowess against southpaws. Accounting for all these factors, I ultimately decided to just avoid the Trout stock.

Given my (temporary) doubts about Donaldson and the low return on selling his stock, this was the other option I decided to stay away from. Vogelsong isn’t particularly good, but he had been pitching well before Monday’s game, and Donaldson has always done most of his damage against lefties.

The one stock that really stood out to me was ‘Goldschmidt to have an RBI’ at a mere $35. The D-Backs first baseman has fewer RBI than any of those other guys this season, but he drew a matchup against Miami’s Tom Koehler, who is far from a world-beater. In light of my aforementioned concerns about Cruz and Donaldson, I was surprised to see Goldschmidt in a similar price range. Sure, RBI are a team-dependent stat, but the Diamondbacks really haven’t been that bad since early in the season, and David Peralta has recently given the team a boost in the No. 2 hole.

Moving on to the two guys I haven’t discussed, Stanton and Abreu both had favorable matchups, but both were priced accordingly. These seemed like good stocks to use a tiny bit of my budget on, allowing me to fulfill the four-stock requirement without touching Trout or Donaldson.

Knowing that I wanted to sell Cruz’s stock and buy Goldschmidt’s, my final task was to figure out the split. In a winner-takes-all format, I would have heavily bought Goldschmidt, as his $35 price tag could bring an excellent return. However, in this 50/50 format, it made sense to split my investment between the two. I wanted to have a pretty good chance to cash, even if only one of the two stocks played out in my favor.

I ultimately sold 528 shares of Cruz at $37, risking $33,264 to win just $19,536. If Cruz failed to record an RBI, I would have at least $52,800, plus what I won from any other stocks. While a profit of $2,800 would give me a decent chance to cash, by no means would it guarantee a top-half finish.

With Goldy, I bought 358 shares at $35, risking just $12,530 to win $23,270. In this case, I’d have a shot to cash if Goldschmidt recorded an RBI even if none of my other stocks paid off, albeit a small chance. This is where I erred, as the weight of money from other users was heavily on Goldschmidt to record an RBI. Thus, in the event that the first baseman did in fact come through, other competitors would likely have high scores. I should have either avoided Goldschmidt, or better yet, bought more of his stock and less of Cruz’s.

With other users actually preferring to buy Cruz’s stock, scores likely would have been very low in the event that both Goldschmidt and Cruz failed to record an RBI. In that scenario, I probably could have cashed while taking a small loss from my original budget. What I should have done is spent about the same amount on both stocks, leaving me with the potential to soar well above $50,000 if Goldschmidt came through, while still giving myself a chance to cash if both Cruz and Goldschmidt failed to record an RBI.

Results

Goldschmidt, Cruz, Trout and Donaldson all registered at least one RBI, while Stanton and Abreu failed to do so. In this case, I got exactly what I deserved for my mistake, finishing in fifth place, one spot and about $18,500 out of the money.

What’s New On TradeSports

The RBI Monday contest is just one example of the new game-types being tested out by TradeSports. On Tuesday, there was a similar contest based on stolen bases, with stocks available for same of the game’s top thieves. For Wednesday, there was a contest revolving around team hit totals, and it will likely be something different come Thursday.

Furthermore, the buy-in options have expanded, with contests offered at $3.30, $5.50, $7.70, $8.80, $11 and $22. Of course, for those just looking to get their feet wet, there are also multiple free contests running each day. All in all, there were 16 contests running Wednesday, and all of the paid ones were either filling up or coming close to it.

Two things I’m looking forward to: Contests based on Sunday’s World Cup Final, followed by contests based around the All-Star Game. Looking further down the road, TradeSports gives me yet another reason (not that I needed one) to be pumped for the NFL season.