We've been messing with more of our "bathtub gin" versions of team prediction/projection tools, piggybacking off a weighted average of the various player projections that are floating around in the Internet ether.
With those estimates, we then have a couple of formulas that translate these into a projected win total. (We have to fudge a little bit, since we try to set the baseline at 100, which varies from how it's done by our old pals at Forman et fil, who leach out pitcher batting from their OPS+ calculations.
The question you may ask is: why not just use a direct Pythagorean WPCT (PWP) method by estimating the runs scored/runs allowed. That would be fine if we knew what the run scoring level was going to be in the upcoming season. We don't know: in fact, no one does. So we stop short of trying to estimate that, and just rely on the league-relative components. Frankly, these tend to distort a bit on the extremes as compared with PWP; one of these years, when we have a little more time, we have several ideas about how to factor in some supporting data that will minimize that from happening. Most of the time, however, it doesn't really come into play.
As with the PWP data, our "Xw" (Expected win) total for 2011 varies from the actual win totals. These variations, and their direction from actual wins, are generally similar to the PWP data, though they tend to produce a somewhat higher overall deviation.
It's a similar situation in the NL, where only the Phillies (at 93 wins) are projected to crack the 90-win barrier. This makes for some tight divisional races: the Cards and Reds are predicted to win up in a dead heat in the NL Central, while the NL West shapes up to be a close fight between the D-backs (sliding back a bit from last year) and the Dodgers (kicking up a notch or so from 2011).
We're not suggesting you take this to the bank, but we think it's interesting enough to work on the formulas more (particularly by using historical data to look for any deviation patterns that can be discerned and then taken into account). And it's a reasonable opening benchmark for a periodic revisit during the upcoming season: we'll come back to this every six weeks or so. Stay tuned.