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Tuesday, March 19, 2013
Updated: March 27, 1:04 PM ET
Previewing the NL Central

By and ESPN The Mag

Editor's note: has teamed with ESPN The Magazine and the SweetSpot Blog Network to produce this year's preview capsules.

Baseball has become so unpredictable that we needed to invent an entirely new way of guessing what will happen next. Below you'll find ESPN Insider Dan Szymborski's projections for the likely range of every team's wins, based on projections for every player on every roster. Why Dan, why now? Because since he started doing this 10 years ago, Dan's median prediction has been accurate within 6.5 wins, on average.

We also asked Szymborski to create a new metric, the unpredictability index, which gauges what version of hope fans of every team should have. The metric is an offshoot of Szymborski's ZiPS projection system -- a sabermetric standard-bearer that factors in age, injury history and statistical highs and lows going back four years, and makes its projections based on database comparisons across MLB history. With it, he sums up the volatility from 0 (what you see is what you get) to 2 (who knows).

Meanwhile, Tim Kurkjian predicts division standings, including wild-card teams, and offers up the breakdowns that show how Szymborski's best- and worst-case scenarios will play out.

Click on the links below to go directly to a capsule for each National League Central team:

St. Louis Cardinals | Cincinnati Reds | Pittsburgh Pirates
Milwaukee Brewers | Chicago Cubs

Information courtesy of Fungoes


1st Place

Information courtesy of Redleg Nation


2nd Place

Information courtesy of David Schoenfield


3rd Place

Information courtesy of Disciples Of Uecker


4th Place

Information courtesy of View From The Bleachers


5th Place