Projecting the NL standings

If there's ever an article that makes you look back six months later and eat crow, hats or myriad other semi-edible items, it's team predictions. Stories like Baltimore and Oakland in 2012, however, make being wrong a good deal of fun.

Spring is here -- though I wouldn't know it by the snow in my driveway -- so it's time once again to run the final projected standings in the ZiPS projection system and brace for reality. (For AL projections, click here.)

Seasons are simulated a million times using a Monte Carlo method, the percentile performance of player projections and estimates of roster construction. There are other bits of mathematical nerdery involved (linear algebra for the win!), but I'm sure you want to get down to the results, so here we go.

NL East

The Washington Nationals may have the best projected record in the National League, but that's still not enough to get them more than a projected coin flip to win the division. The Atlanta Braves having the second-best projection in the NL keeps Washington from being a lock, but there's very little to dislike about the Nats.