So ESPN and Baseball Prospectus have this new partnership, and if you're an ESPN Insider (which I am), you can read all sorts of amazing things. Like this, in which BP projects the NL standings. If you're not an Insider, then allow me...
Here were the Astros projected stats:
704 RS / 811 RA - .261/.321/.403
The Central forecasts as the league's weakest division according to overall winning percentage (.488) because of the presence of two doormats, the Houston Astros and Pittsburgh Pirates. The 64-win Bucs are a lock for their 17th consecutive losing season, while the 69-win Astros are poised for a 17-win drop off from last year. The latter finished nine wins above their Pythagorean record last year, so they're already an easy bet to regress, and the combination of an inflexible payroll hamstrung by a few big contracts, the worst farm system in the game, and a rotation relying upon Brian Moehler (5.46 ERA) and the undead Mike Hampton and Russ Ortiz -- both last effective during the first Dubya administration -- add up to one more chance to invoke the time-honored phrase, "Houston, we have a problem."
Over the weekend I'll work on a synopsis of the predictions we've gathered here. So if you're bored on the last time there won't be baseball on a Friday for the next seven months, write in your prognostications in the Comments section or email Astros County.