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PECOTA projects Nationals will win 87 in 2017, USA TODAY projects Nats win 90...

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It’s projected standings time! PECOTA and USA TODAY projections came out today, and one of the two has Washington repeating as NL East Champs.

MLB: Washington Nationals at Pittsburgh Pirates Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Baseball Prospectus posted their 2017 PECOTA projections this morning, and according to the projection system developed by BP and Nate Silver, and run by BP since 2009, it will be a slight step back for the NL East Champion Washington Nationals in 2017.

After winning 95 games and the division last season, PECOTA has the Nats winning 87 games and finishing second behind the New York Mets (88 wins) in 2017.

PECOTA also projects the Nationals will have a +59 run differential, after they finished the 2016 campaign at +151 last season, good for the second-best run differential in the NL, behind only the Chicago Cubs (+252).

FWIW, the 2016 PECOTA projections had the Nationals winning 87 games and finishing second in the NL East last season as well, with a projected +51 run differential.

You can check out the PECOTA projections for the NL East below and the full standings HERE.

While we’re looking at projected standings, USA TODAY Sports posted their projected MLB standings for 2017 this morning as well, making their, “second annual foray into forecasting all 30 teams’ records come Game 162.” How did they come up with their projections?:

“A six-person panel of reporters and editors replaces our previous forecasting model, consisting of one well-meaning but slightly unhinged human.”

So what is USA TODAY’s six-person panel predicting for the NL East in 2017?:

Last season, USA TODAY had the Nationals taking the NL East with 89 wins. This time around, the Nationals pick up a win, beat out the Mets again and return to the NLDS after last season’s disappointing five-game loss to the LA Dodgers in the Division Series.

“Despite finishing 1-2 the past two years,” USA TODAY’s Gabe Lacques writes, “... not much of a rivalry has developed between the Nationals (90 wins) and Mets (89). Perhaps a race that comes down to the final weekend will change that.”

Hmm. Not much of a rivalry with the Mets? I think some Nationals and Mets fans might disagree with that assessment, but a close race in the division would surely pump things up a bit.

Check out the full USA TODAY projected standings below: