Thursday, June 10, 2010

Why Tesla, Fisker, and Solyndra need to work...

The green in industry is going through an interesting times the big boys are having issues getting their products to market. Vinod Khosla postulated recently that the first green IPO's are key because they will be a bellweather for the next green companies to IPO. I've thought lately along the same lines as my job search has to come to a head as my focus on the the green big boys. When I say the big boys I'm referring to the following companies:

Better Place ($750), Bloom Energy ($400), Boston Power ($136), Brightsource Energy($1,485), Coda Automotive ($476), eMeter ($56), Fisker Automotive ($817), GridPoint($229), Miasole ($305), Nanosolar ($395), SolarCity($148), Solyndra($953), Suniva ($375), Silver Spring Networks ($218), Tesla ($783)

Note: Total funding with DOE loans included is in parenthesis

Of the 15 companies, 4 are in the auto industy and 5 are solar companies.

Tesla Motors Model S won't have cars until Q4 2012.
Fisker Automotive won't start building cars until 2012.
Coda announced last week they are building a factory in Ohio for their batteries for their cars and there is no timetable for release.
Solyndra is using trying to thwart off critics that the government is fronting their high manufacturing costs that will be passed onto the consumers.
Codexis tried to sell the green IPO and Earth Day and went flat.
Grid operators Silver Spring Networks are now being chased by Cisco.

The dotcom bust and credit bust makes it hard to sell companies to the large mutual fund investors, hedge funds, and most importantly the general public. Consumers are now back to asking about companies earnings growth, P/E ratio, future revenues, and competition. Green startups are especially plagued by high cost of production and low ROI's. They question becomes can Barack and the companies do enough in the PR department to hide the "under construction signs" before they can became the companies that they and I hope they can become? I truly hope they can. In the big 15 above there will be some consolidation, buyouts, and most importantly real profits before these companies are for real in the eyes of investors.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


Big week in the call-ups.....

Stephen Strasburg (WAS SP) - He's up and you already know, top 10 fantasy pitcher rest of way
Mike Stanton (FL OF) - 21 jacks, #1 in all of baseball, pickup for a few weeks, expect Carlos Pena/Adam Dunn esque K rates with a ton of jacks
Jose Tabata (PIT OF) - traded for Xavier Nady, good situation in PIT for him, not great for fantasy
Andrew Cashner (CHI RP) - good for larger leagues and those playing MRI strategy
Brad Lincoln (PIT SP) - #4 pick in 2006 finally with big boys, monitor

and coming soon....
Carlos Santana (CLE C) - pickup in keeper leagues for power at catcher, he stole Russell Martin's when he was traded for Casey Blake
Jake Arrieta (BAL SP) - top pitching prospect for Orioles debut is Saturday, AL East, so keep eye on streaming him
Aroldis Chapman (CIN SP) - like many imports pitching is bipolar, will be up when he have 2 good starts in a row

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

New Music Tuesday....

Slow week compared to last week

Nothing really all that exciting this week either.....

Any Girl - LLoyd Banks F. Lloyd
Mediocre rap track over great beat

The Only Exception - Paramore
Sounds like an Avril track and that's that not a good thing

Who Dat - J. Cole
Rocafella's newest artist, great rap but give the man some beats

Sex Room - Ludacris
Sounds like old Ginuwine

Super High - Rick Ross F. NeYo

Slow summer rap, not into it, but Neyo on hook makes the song listenable

Leave Right Now - Will Young
This guy won Idol in Britain as I recall, decent acoustic ditty

In the all covers category...
Beth - Glee Cast
Beautiful Day - Lee Dewyze
Hallelujah - Lee Dewyze
Up The Mountain - Crystal Bowersox
Falling Slowly - Lee Dewyze & Crystal Bowersox
The Boxer - Lee Dewyze

Drake (leaked)
Eminem (leaked)
Twilight Soundtrack
Christina Aguiliera

and next week Tom Petty & Sarah McLachlan.....

Top 100 Baseball America Draft Picks By Team

68 of current BA Top 100 our picked within first 5 rounds (including supp.) so acquiring top talent in the top of the draft is paramount to competing in today's landscape. I understand that some teams won't deal with certain agents, have less revenues then they thought in the beginning, and won't sign all the players they drafted. I feel that looking at the BA top 100 draft prospects and seeing who got them is the best judge of the draft for now. Obviously in 3 years when these guys all make the big leagues we can see. This should be a better guide than most in the meantime.

TEAM NAME - Pitchers by pick / Hitters by pick

8 picks
Red Sox - 19,26,68,91 (4 Top 100 P) / 25,28,47,99 (4 Top 100 OF) - Theo!
7 picks
Indians - 4,58,80,84 (4 Top 100 P) / 66,75,89 (3 Top 100 OF) - They need them all
6 Picks
Blue Jays - 7, 22,59,62 (4 Top 100 P) / 53, 94 - Good work AA on first draft
5 Picks
Braves - 73,90 / 76,87,95 - No wonder why they always win
Cardinals - 34,43,61, (3 Top 100 P) / 6, 27 ( 2 Top 50 OF) - Zach Cox, best pick
Rays - 31 / 10,24,45,69 (4 Top 100 OF) - Already #2 system and counting
4 Picks
Royals - 23,54,81 (3 Top 100 P) / 9 - See Indians
Astros - 44 / 55, 63, 64 - Now sign them for once
Rockies - 33,36,78, (3 Top 100 P) / 37 - Taking advantage of Dodgers tapping out
Padres - 15, 46,79, (3 Top 100 P) / 39 - See above
Tigers - 57,86 / 17,77 - Agent's favorite team for draft
3 Picks
Phillies - 49,85 / 93 - Need to replenish after Lee/Halladay trades
Reds - 74 / 13, 32 (2 Top 50 OF) - Little by little gaining
Nats - 16, 48, (2 Top 50 P) / 1 - Ridiculous draft
D'Backs - 35,71,82, (3 Top 100 P) / (0 Top 100 OF) - They address need here
Dodgers - 29,50 (2 Top 50 P) / 100 - Short on picks due to non-arb and Mr. LSU QB
White Sox - 5,40,83(3 Top 100 P) / (0 Top 100 OF) - Nice pitching haul
Angels - 12, 56 / 97 - Considering number of picks, poor haul
Mariners - 38,42,70(3 Top 100 P)/ (0 Top 100 OF) - When will they ever get offense?
A's - 30 / 11, 67 - Tried to address offense
2 Picks
Marlins - 92 / 52 - Small market, has strong international program
Brewers - 18 / 65 - Small market
Cubs - 0 Top 100 P / 60,96 - Should be at top of this list considering revenyes
Pirates - 2, 8 (2 Top 10 P) / (0 Top 100 OF) - See Mariners
Giants - 0 Top 100 P / 14,41 (2 Top 50 OF) - Went for need her on offense
Twins - 21,72 / (0 Top 100 OF) - Went for arms here which they need
Rangers - 0 Top 100 P / 51, 98 - MLB owns them right now to some extent
1 Pick
Mets - 20 / (0 Top 100 OF) - Shocking to find them here
Yankees - 0 Top 100 P / 88 - See other NY team above
Orioles - (0 Top 100 P) / 3 - Sad to see watch this team, this doesn't help either

Note: Stock picks post moves to Thursday in lieu of Sports Business today.

Monday, June 7, 2010

MLB Draft Day 1 from the couch...

Nationals - get Harper, best prospect since ARod
Scott Boras - 4 out of 7 top picks including Harper
Angels - 5 top 50 picks, strong track record, thanks Lackey + Figgins for leaving
Rays - 3 top high school bats to go with there #2 farm system
Hendricks - Get Taillon (#2) & Lee (Dodgers pick)
Red Sox - 3 top college stars including Ranaundo who was #1 before Harper entered
White Sox/Reds - top player Sale and Grandal fall into their laps
*Dodgers - only if they sign their pick and spread out the $ by getting two sport star
Cox - falls from top 10 all the way to the one of the best baseball towns in America
SFX - most first round picks today

Yankees - let multiple top 15 guys slide they have $ to get to take BA #168
CAA - only 2 picks today by my count
Cubs - take somebody named Simpson who is ranked outside top 200 in most publications
Stetson Allie - #15 guy on board goes from live feed on predraft to undrafted
Astros - spend $ on the draft please, you farm is one of the worst for a reason, plus 2 07 picks get picked
Austin Wilson - local boy from Harvard-Westlake top position player on board
Rangers - pay overslot somehow guys, draft 2 sports stars from Texas

Note: There were multiple players who the big boys will chase namely the Yankees/Cubs picks now that they can command first round $, so Boras/SFX/etc. will only add to their hauls later this week

TV This Week...

MLB Draft on MLB Network - Bryce Harper and 49 other guys become instant millionaires
Last Comic Standing on ABC - Idol for comedians

The Strasburg Debut on MLB Network - interested to see how many non-baseball fans tune in
Lakers-Celtics Game 3 on ABC - Back in Boston and all square
Glee - Faithfully from Journey is sure to be top 50 on Billboard next week

CMT Music Awards - not for me, but I know alot of you are into it
Blackhawks vs. Flyers Game 6

Lakers-Celtics Game 4 on ABC

World Cup Begins on ESPN/ABC
I'm a Comin on Showtime - Tells the story of how comedians made it
Blackhawks vs. Flyers Game 7 if necessary

USA vs. England on ABC

Lakers-Celtics Game 5 on ABC
Breaking Bad on AMC - Season Finale
True Blood on HBO - Season Premiere
Kim and Khloe take Miami on E! - Season Premiere

Friday, June 4, 2010

At The Movies....

Last Week: Prince of Persia and Sex and The City 2

Get Him To The Greek - Russell Brand, Jonah Hill and the director of Forgetting Sarah Marshall so you can count me in to on this one (75% on Rotten Tomatoes)

Killers - Mr. and Mrs. Smith the remix with Ashton Kutcher and Catherine Heigl, feel like a decent Fall date movie DVD at the house due to horrific reviews (6% on Rotten Tomatoes)

Markaduke - it's a kid film, animated, with voices, counter-gramming just in time for school to get out (11% on Rotten Tomatoes)

Splice - the scary movie that is preview on TV is this one, I'm out but looks scary (72% on Rotten Tomatoes)

Next Week: A-Team, The Karate Kid and in 2 weeks: Toy Story 3 & Jonah Hex

MLB Draft, My Way

The MLB draft is on Monday. The past few years the draft has gained increased notoriety and is now televised on MLB Network rather than being just one big conference call. Being that this is my space I though it would be interesting to express my ideas on how I'd run a draft from a business standpoint. Granted, I'm scared of being a "buyer" whether it's in baseball or any type of retail. There so many intangibles and risks that go into any buying decision: timing, short-term vs. long-term, fit, dollars, length, scarcity, etc.

First I'd request 8 million or double the MLB median to draft players. I think American players, especially with college seasoning, are the best investment one can make in baseball talent. They have the least risk and are closest to having the bigs to seeing returns on your investments. I'd rather get 80% return for less risk faster than take a chance on a high school kid who takes longer to get to the big leagues, has more leverage in negociation, and probably has a chance to be better in the long run. Studies have proven that going overslot pays for itself in the long-run as well. Foreign talent is predominantly tough to gauge to lower talent levels plus you have age and makeup issues throughout. The draft is 50 rounds and I'd take up every single round. In 2007, only 9 teams tapped out earlier. So now that I have 50 rounds to take players what is the best way to draft in 2010?

Rounds 1-4 focus on college hitters
Start with the least risk, arms blow out and you can get similar ones later that are closer to MLB later
Read this table, enough said

Rounds 5-12 focus college pitchers
MLB ready pitching is king, you can never have too much of it at the deadline, you can always trade a pitcher for a bat, but the opposite is not always true

Rounds 13-25 focus on athletes up the middle
Look at the Rays, there entire team is madeup of SS and CF types who are athletes, you can always buy corners and they are getting cheaper by the day as well

Rounds 26-40 focus on locals who you can buy out of all/some school preferably from good schools, two parent homes, and good workers/students
I know some teams use some sort of non baseball evaluations and I think it matters more than one would think. It's just a safer investment. It's very tough to get this sort of information unless it's in your home state. Plus these locals are the ones most likely to bypass college for the chance to play for the local team

Rounds 41-50 Go overslot and buy the draft the best high school players in your state committed and try to steal them from college
Sell them on the bonus, the city, the dream, tour the stadium with team legends like you would the best free agents, it won't work everytime but most times I think it would, lays the groundwork for their actual free agency in 8 years if they are this good

There you have it. Go deep (50), draft value early from college with hitters first, athletes in the middle, and risky local high school kids later. If I get a chance I'll try to take a peak next week if anybody followed my advice.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Fantasy Baseball and xFIP

There has been alot of talk lately about "old school" stats such as wins and saves. They are not true indicators of performance. Thye give you an idea to some extent of what level a player is but not by much. You don't win 15+ games or save 35+ games unless you are good, but you don't need to be great to do it. To take away the BS from it all I use a stat called xFIP that can be found on Fangraphs. Per Hardball times xFIP is Expected Fielding Independent Pitching. This is an experimental stat that adjusts FIP and "normalizes" the home run component. Research has shown that home runs allowed are pretty much a function of flyballs allowed and home park, so xFIP is based on the average number of home runs allowed per outfield fly. Theoretically, this should be a better predicter of a pitcher's future ERA. Using this metric I try to find value in fantasy. A brief look at the SP leaders and laggards can help you find value on the wire or trade market. Only 38 SP are under 4 so the more on your team the merrier.

Top 10
  • Halladay 2.92
  • Wainwright 3.07
  • Romero 3.12
  • Lincecum 3.16
  • Liriano 3.21 (My pre-season pick)
  • Haren 3.22
  • Johnson 3.25
  • Shields 3.26 (My pre-season pick)
  • Oswalt 3.30
  • Lester 3.35
Others under 3.8: Carpenter, Latos, Jimenez, Hughes, Hamels, Felix, Verlander

And some suprises in the over 4 crowd:
  • Leake 4.07
  • Sanchez 4.11
  • Buchholz 4.16
  • Price 4.23
  • Kershaw 4.24
  • Greinke 4.27
  • Hudson 4.37
  • Garza 4.43
  • Johan 4.48
  • Sheets 4.71
  • Lackey 5.30

Green Links from the past 2 months...

5/28: Tesla & The Model S Timeline
5/26: Amyris IPO Update

5/26: Tony Blair Joins Khosla Ventures
5/25: Nissan Leaf has 13,000 reservations
5/25: Cisco & The Smart Grid
5/21: Toyota & Tesla Deal Ramifications
5/19: Coda closes $58M Round
5/14: Year of the LEDs
5/10: Better Place closes $350M round
5/7: DOE Pickups
5/5: Google Energy Timeline

5/3: Tesla's Model S
4/22: Codexis IPO
4/20: Amonix, Kleiner, & $129 million

4/15: IPO Picks
AND in the sports green world
5/28: Sox hire GreenMark
4/13: MLB's Green Initiatives

And a Players For The Planet plug because I can