It's not quite crunch time, but many teams are using the dog days of summer to start jockeying for postseason position. But in the end, none of the teams have to be record-setters. All they have to do is be slightly better than the competition. This concept is also key to the philosophy that applies to my stock-picking as well.
In the National League East, my two former teams faced off in a four-game set this past weekend. The Phillies sit atop the division while the New York Mets are chasing them -- the Mets currently sit in third place, 2.5 games back of first. The most recent series was a dogfight that included a blown ninth inning save by Mets' closer -- and former Phillies closer -- Billy Wagner, as well as another near colossal collapse.
The Mets blew a late-season division lead last season, eventually falling to the Phillies and missing the playoffs. It was a crushing blow to a team favored by many to win the division and the pennant. The Mets managed to weather the barrage the Phils brought last night and hold on for a 10-9 victory. The "Amazins" had been holding a nine-run lead only to watch that evaporate, but ultimately they held on for a one-run victory.
In the N.L. Central, the Milwaukee Brewers, who are nine games above .500, made a major play to capture the flag now. They dealt four prospects for Cy Young Award winner C.C. Sabathia, giving the team a second ace to complement a staff that already features Ben Sheets. The Brew Crew is currently four games behind the division-leading Chicago Cubs and sit in third place behind the St. Louis Cardinals.
The move is clearly an attempt to win now and should be only the first major move in a handful of trades and pickups we see across the majors in the coming weeks as we near the trade deadline. All of these teams are trying to set the table for a victory later on down the line, which is essentially what we try to do with each and every one of my deep-in-the-money call picks.
As I said at the top of the column, every team should strive to be the absolute best it can be. But the reality is that they need only be slightly better than the next best team. The Mets-Phils game last night illustrates my point perfectly.
The same philosophy holds true for my option picks. It would be nearly impossible to pick options that skyrocket and turn in massive victories almost every time. That would be particularly hard when facing markets like the current one, which is full of pain. That's just a fact, and there is no way around it.
However, grabbing $1,000 victories by identifying companies that are undervalued and ready for a bounce is something that is both manageable and that makes sense. We don't need to find a stock that will increase 20%, 30%, or 50% in the long-term. We just need to find one that has found a bottom or will find a bottom soon and ride it on the bounce.
For picks where we are off with our timing a little bit, we can still capture a victory even if the price falls. All we have to do is average down, which is essentially adding more contracts at a lower price to lower our average entry price and making our sale target lower. If you need proof, take a look at the win I had with
earlier in the year. We averaged down a few times for a $4,800 win. In the end, this company didn't dominate. In fact, at the time we unloaded our contracts, the common stock price was lower than it was at the time of our first buy. Right there is the power of my system.
Remember: Life is a game, enjoy the ride!
Take a look at my subscription newsletter, Nails on the Numbers
At the time of publication, Dykstra had no positions in stocks mentioned.
Nicknamed 'Nails' for his tough style of play, Lenny is a former Major League Baseball player for the 1986 World Champions, New York Mets and the 1993 National League Champions, Philadelphia Phillies. A three time All-Star as a ballplayer, Lenny now serves as president for several privately held businesses in Southern California. He is the founder of The Players Club; it has been his desire to give back to the sport that gave him early successes in life by teaching athletes how to invest and protect their incomes. He currently manages his own portfolio and writes an investment strategy column for TheStreet.com, and is featured regularly on CNBC and other cable news shows. Lenny was selected as OverTime Magazine's 2006-2007 "Entrepreneur of the Year."