Marc Carig of Newsday talked to Ike Davis about what some believe to be the main culprit in his prolonged slump at the plate; the pronounced hand drop as the ball is being released by the pitcher.
“I’ve always wanted to stop my hands from dropping,” Davis told Carig. “But I’ve always swung like that. Obviously, it’s not something that you want all the time, but I mean, Barry Bonds dropped his hands. A lot of people did and had success. It’s just the way I’ve swung my whole life with my hands. It’s tough to stop that.”
Barry Bonds? Really?
Our analyst Mitch Petanick, also discussed this flaw last week and wrote:
Right now, Davis starts his swing with his hands very high, above his head. Then as the pitcher starts his motion, he drops his hands almost down to waist level, then has to bring them back up to the zone to get his hands in a position to hit. That is a ton of noise before he has to prepare for a 95 mph fastball. With all that going on, he almost has to be thinking fastball on every pitch in order to catch up to it, which is probably why he has so much trouble hitting the off-speed pitch.
It’s time to change your ways Ike. Let’s quiet that swing, and get rid of all that noise. Keep the wide stance, but start your swing with your hands between your shoulders and ear. Don’t drop the hands, load them straight back and throw them at the ball. See the ball, hit the ball. I don’t understand how the Mets coaches allow Davis to continue to shoot himself in the foot, and go out there every night like this.
By limiting what he is doing before the pitch arrives, he will be able to trust his hands more and adjust to whatever pitch he sees. By keeping his hands between his shoulder and ear, he already has them in a good hitting position, and doesn’t have to make three movements before the pitch arrives to get them there. Simplify, simplify, simplify.
Hitting coach Dave Hudgens is one of the first baseman’s chief defenders and does not want Davis demoted to the minors. He acknowledges the potentially flawed swing, but is fearful of trying to reinvent that swing or his approach.
“When you’ve got that many moving parts, it’s got to come together the right way,” Hudgens said. “But once he gets locked in, he stays there a while. I mean, when you look the whole second half last year, I think he’s progressing into an area that will be more consistent.”
Hudgens said a danger looms when major changes are made.
In his last ten games, Davis is batting .194 (4-for-31) and after another strikeout last night, he now has 61 Ks in 166 at-bats.