Second-half rankings reactions: Hitters 

July, 17, 2013
Oh, how things can change in only eight weeks.

The last time the ESPN fantasy crew supplied its rest-of-season rankings in mid-May, Atlanta Braves outfielder Justin Upton was a consensus top-10 choice, Baltimore Orioles slugger Chris Davis wasn’t even close, and Yasiel Puig wasn’t on any radar screen. Now things are a lot different in the mid-July rankings. It’s noteworthy how far some of the most previously trusted hitters fell, such as Upton, Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp, Chicago Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro and San Diego Padres third baseman Chase Headley.

With the All-Star break in the rearview mirror, fantasy owners are generally past the point of asking when it’s time to re-analyze options and potentially give up on players. We’re way past that time. Upton’s rise and subsequent fall have been documented, Kemp’s problem has and continues to be health, and Castro’s issue is perhaps indifference, but in the case of Headley, we have several relevant factors to consider for him and others with similar factors. He blasted onto the scene after years of relative obscurity as one of fantasy’s most influential hitters the second half of 2012, hitting an incomprehensible 23 home runs, but he’s hitting all of .229 today with one home run over the past month. Some fantasy owners want to invest based on 2012; others want to simply move on based on 2013. What’s the right move?