You heard it here first: Jose Bautista is going to hit exactly 30 more home runs the rest of the season, giving him a major league-best 50 at year's end.
Well, more or less he will.
That's the fun of the projections exercise: It's always the product of one person's crystal ball, and it is, in essence, a guess. But it's those guesses -- right or wrong -- that are of supreme importance; they're the very measures of a player's perceived value upon which we base our roster decisions.
As in "60 Feet 6 Inches," I consider now -- approximately the one-third point of the season -- a good time to revisit said projections. The statistics you'll read below are what I expect to happen from June 1 forward; it's a handy partner piece to the recently revised Top 250 lists we published.
By the way, I wasn't kidding about Bautista; I really projected him for 30 more homers. That said, it's a conservative projection, being that I tend to draw heavily upon a player's past performance when forecasting forward. Bautista's projected line still ranked him easily tops in the game, but shy of his current full-season pace of 59 homers. Hey, he could get there. I just choose to be realistic.
As with "60 Feet 6 Inches" on Tuesday, let's begin with a few notes: These are my projections alone, not ESPN's, using my projections method. And as they've been formulated during the past several days, understand that even I have learned some things from the exercise; you might find some of this week's ranking shifts puzzling, and the simplest explanation might be that the projected numbers showed me something I hadn't considered before.
In addition, these rankings follow roughly the formula we use in our Player Rater, though they're not exact. Upside, injury risk, role and team factors come into play, particularly in lower tiers, and although a certain projection might seem worthy of a higher or lower ranking, consider that any factor might have impacted the specific rank.
TOP 150 HITTERS
Note: Tristan H. Cockcroft's top 150 hitters are ranked for their expected performance -- and projections -- from this point forward, not for statistics that have already been accrued.
Tristan H. Cockcroft is a fantasy baseball analyst for ESPN.com and a two-time champion of the League of Alternative Baseball Reality (LABR) experts league. You can email him here, or follow him on Twitter @SultanofStat.