Projection systems are crazy to me. I don't really understand how anyone could write one and have it work. I tried to write a projection system once and the Brewers ended up going 24-185. Clearly, something was wrong with my math. (In my defense, the team did give 25 starts to Ruben Quevedo that year.)
CHONE just released their updated 2009 projections and things don't look good for the Brewers as they are currently penciled in to go 81-81. Does this mean they will go 81-81? Probably not. The way these projection systems work is they play each season 420,491 times and then average out all the numbers, add 3 and then divide by Pi. Or something. This is much worse than Baseball Prospectus who have the Brewers projected at 86-76 and The Hardball Times who projected them at 83-79 back in January. This is most likely due to CHONE's low projections on Gallardo, Looper and Braun. (CHONE is basically an average of the past four years (with some extra math thrown in) so Braun and Gallardo are too young to have proper data and Looper hasn't been starting that long. At least I hope that's why.)
Honestly they aren't that far off. This is an 83-86 win team with a LOT of upside. Almost every player on offense could be expected to have a better 2009 than 2008 which is really kind of scary when you think about it. Last year's Braun without the injury and 2007 Fielder could carry this team to the playoffs on their own, imagine what they'd do with an improved Weeks, Hardy, Hall and Hart. It's frightening to think of what this offense is capable of and with the clear favorite in the NL Central sending a guy to the OF that only played 20 out there last year and has only played more than 125 games TWICE in his 9 year career, it's easy to get excited.
But that's all a post for another day, today is about Spring Training Game #1 which is actually starting right this second.