What If Hype For Ike Got The Best Of Us?

An article by posted on May 22, 2012

Yesterday, Joe D posted some thoughts regarding sending Ike Davis down to the minor leagues. During the discussion I threw a thought out there.

“What if Duda is the 1B of the future, and not Ike?”

For the most part it got ignored, but after last night’s poor at bat as a pinch hitter, I still have to wonder. What if?

What if all of us who desperately wanted another young star to call our own, overshot the projections on Davis?

When Fielder and Pujols left the NL, how many times did you read about Ike Davis being the 2nd best 1B in the NL now? People here and all over were writing in permanent marker that he’d hit 30+ (sometimes even 40+) HR. Did the need for a new star get the best of us all?

In Davis’ rookie campaign he played in 147 games, hit 19 HR, drove in 71 RBI, and hit .264 with a .351 OBP and a .791 OPS. That’s a decent season. It’s a very similar year to Wally Joyner in 1988. Joyner at age 26 was coming off of 2 straight 100+ RBI years.

He followed that up by playing in 158 games, hitting 13 HR, driving in 85, and hitting .295 with a .356 OBP and a .775 OPS.

Joyner had a nice career, but he never reached the potential that everybody expected following his 86 and 87 campaigns.

Many people used Davis’ 2011 short season to justify the high expectations. Here’s the problem with that viewpoint though.

Anybody can have a hot April. In April AB he hit .337 with 5 HR, driving in 20 with an OPS of 1.014.

In May leading up to his injury he was 7 for 34 (.206) with 2 HR and 5 RBI with a .671 OPS.

In 2010, Davis’ final numbers were primarily inflated than to a red hot April, and a hot September in meaningless games. In April and September, Davis hit .338. From May-August, he hit .240.

If we’re going to call him a streaky hitter, then the streak is that he’ll have a good month or so, and then primarily be a .250 type hitter.

So what if the hype got the best of all of us? What if he’s really that .240 hitter and he just fooled us for 3 months? It’s highly possible is it not?

We’ve seen in a span of 621 plate appearances, 557 AB, Ike has a .219 batting average. (May-August 2010+May 2011+2012) then we’ve seen in a span of 276 plate appearances (April and September 2010, April 2011), 232 AB, Ike has a .331 batting average.

Yet we come up with several excuses for 2012 Ike, because we’re choosing to ignore the information that is in front of us.

In over 600 times at the plate in his career, he’s looked like the hitter we see today. Rust wasn’t an issue, valley fever wasn’t an issue then, so why is it now?

Why are we looking at HALF of the story and projecting him to be more like those numbers than the guy we have twice as much data on?

How many hitters come up and show flashes of brilliance in one or two months of a season, and then just blend in for the remainder of the season?

When you consider he’s played a total of 10 months in the major leagues, and only 3 of them were even close to the projections for his career, that has to worry you, no?

Right now, it’s undeniable that he looks lost up there. There is clearly a book out on him, and the Mets don’t have time to sit and wait for him to adjust. He clearly needs a better education on how to adjust to what the league is now throwing at him.

Davis has not been a big leaguer long enough to deserve any more time hurting the team offensively. He’s got to go to the minors, to hopefully fix whatever his issues are.

This isn’t a slump anymore. This is a red flag. Davis is a great fielder, and there isn’t a Mets fan alive who wants to see this end badly.

At some point though, we all have to wonder what if he’s not the player we all thought he was?

About the Author ()

Michael Branda grew up a Mets fan watching the mid 1980's teams and his favorite Met of all-time is (and was) Wally Backman. When it comes to sabermetrics versus old school thinking, he's in the middle and believes adopting new ways to get answers is helpful, especially when the old way has not produced results.

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