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Fantasy baseball: Is it time to move on from Kris Bryant?

Kris Bryant's struggles from 2018 have carried over into this season. Brett Davis/USA TODAY Sports

St. Louis Cardinals infielder Matt Carpenter was a top-50 selection in ESPN average live drafts a season ago, and then he was on ESPN's most dropped list, with a .145 batting average on May 15. Frankly, he was on the list for weeks by that point. How did that turn out for those who moved on? Poorly, to be succinct.

Carpenter turned things around, like most relevant, established players do, and hit 28 home runs in June, July and August. No, I certainly was not expecting him to revive his season quite like that, but I do believe it is wise at a player's low point to invest and gain the positive numbers, too. Those who ask me about a struggling Carpenter after four weeks this season get an obvious answer: Look at last year. Positive things seem likely, so be patient.

However, it would be silly to include all players in one pithy response and say all will be well. Fantasy managers regardless of sport love to panic after small samples -- well, perhaps they cannot help themselves -- and colleague Tristan H. Cockcroft and I often urge patience in our writing and on the twice-a-week Fantasy Focus Baseball podcast (Mondays and Thursdays).

Some players must concern us, right? Yes, of course that is the case. Fantasy managers are moving on from slow starters Yasiel Puig, Jesus Aguilar, Jose Peraza and Brian Dozier -- each a top-100 hitter in drafts -- and I cannot argue the premise, but I am similarly concerned about an actual top-25 hitter, and it is not Cleveland Indians infielder Jose Ramirez, at least not to this level.

Chicago Cubs third baseman/outfielder Kris Bryant is 27 and supposedly in his prime. He won a Rookie of the Year award and NL MVP honors in his first two seasons. He was awesome, and fantasy managers loved him. Last season he hit nicely, as expected, until a left shoulder injury in June ruined things. If we only knew then.