The Gotham City Gargoyles 2005 Preview



            After a disappointing inaugural season, GCG made a brief play-off appearance in 2004. In the second round, Gotham (85-77) was quickly disposed of by the eventual champs, the Portland Greys. All in all 2004 was a fairly successful year as GCG performed well offensively,  scoring 895 runs and hitting 226 HR second only to Baltimore (935 R , 244 HR).  The pitching staff, while cheap, had a mid-league ERA and gave up too many hits. The result was a third place finish, 29 games back of Portland in the Ruth Division.
            While the 2005 version should put up similar numbers, the team’s line-up is significantly different and the starting rotation deeper. Gone is Eric Chavez, GCG’s first overall pick and all-world 3Bman. The principal acquisition in the Chavez trade was Brandon Webb. Webb is young and cheap and has been doing very well this spring. The trade was made to bolster the pitching staff and was made possible by Chipper Jones move back to 3B.

            The big free agent signings were Jeromy Burnitz (1 year) and Steve Trachsel. Burnitz will bat 5th and play LF, Trachsel has since been traded to acquire a closer, John Smoltz.

            Here is the projected line-up and rotation for 2005.



Line-Up                                               Rotation

Easley / McLemore 2B             Brandon Webb

Cruz CF                                               John Lackey

Guillen SS                                            Joe Kennedy

Sheffield RF                                         Jason Johnson

Burnitz LF                                            Brett Myers

Bagwell 1B                                           Closer

C Jones 3B                                          John Smoltz

D Miller C


            Coming off the bench, Russell Branyan, Adam Melhuse, and Josh Phelps will play a big role in the 2005 offense. Carlos Guillen will step into the number three hole and should contribute much more than past years. Gary Sheffield, batting in the number 4 hole, should put up similar numbers to last year. Jeff Bagwell’s injured shoulder might be a problem, but he will be adequate in the last year of his contract. Josh Phelps will help some at 1B. Second base will be manned by the trio of Cuddyer, McLemore, and Easley; these three will provide superior offense and adequate defense 2B. 

As for the rotation, Andy Pettitte is also expected to get 12-15 starts. The acquisition of Brandon Webb should solidify a shaky rotation. The group is slightly better than last year, with Webb, Lackey and Johnson all with the potential to win 15 games.

GCG is slightly upgraded team from 2004, with Guillen, Webb, and a deeper bullpen all improvements over 2004.

Prediction – GCG is in a very tough division. Two teams (GRA and PIG) won 100 games in 2004 and San Bernardino has improved. Also Williamsburg signed Bonds and Randy Johnson for 22 million dollars per year for the next three years.  

Bottom line – a whishey washy prediction - GCG could finish anywhere from 2nd to 5th.