Can Jose Bautista maintain homer pace?

Updated: July 11, 2011, 2:23 PM ET
By Eric Karabell
Back in March, when it seemed like few people believed Toronto Blue Jays outfielder/third baseman Jose Bautista could even approach his lofty 54 home runs from 2010, I tried to argue in favor of the journeyman-turned-slugger. He had remade his swing from his Pittsburgh Pirates days, added valuable plate discipline and looked every bit legitimate to me. I predicted 40 home runs for "Joey Bats" this season, and frankly, considering no other American League player hit 40 homers last season, I felt he would lead the league.

Of course, even that prediction looks ridiculous today. Bautista might reach 40 home runs this month. He's already at 31 blasts, thanks in part to a recent stretch in which he has hammered seven home runs in the first 10 days of July, and it's to the point I'm almost surprised when a game goes by that he doesn't go yard. He is a fantasy monster, the best fantasy player in the game -- yes, better than Albert Pujols -- and not to go too obvious on everyone, I see a big second half for him across the board. In fact, I don't even see any argument against him.