Ike Davis went 1-for-3 with a long home run of Ian Kennedy last night as the Mets beat the Padres 5-2 at Petco Park. Davis also drew two more walks, prompting a sigh from Keith Hernandez in the first inning, “Uh… nice walk.”
In Davis’ defense, he took four straight pitches out of the strike zone and it was obvious Kennedy wasn’t giving him anything to hit despite walking Marlon Byrd before him.
Ironically, when Kenned did throw strikes to both Byrd and Davis their next time at the plate, they torched him for back-to-back home runs.
After the game, a cheerful Davis remarked, “I finally caught up to one and it felt good.”
For Davis, it was his first home run since July 26 and only his second since being recalled from Triple-A Las Vegas. While his slugging isn’t quite there yet, his on-base has now reached a much more respectable .326 for the season, raising it over 100 points since his return from Las Vegas on July 5.
The much maligned first baseman has turned his season around once again, compiling a batting clip of .319/.500/.542 since the All-Star break. Despite his torrid four weeks, many still hold the sentiment that the once-top hitting prospect is not worth the headache, especially considering his $6-7 million in arbitration he is expected to receive come this winter. Many fans and even those within the organization believe that Davis is not long for the Mets. However, when it comes to struggling young corner-infielders with significant power, one team can tell you that it may be worth it to be patient for just a little while long; the Texas Rangers.
The year was 2008, and the powerhouse pieces of the Rangers lineup were coming together. Scoring an obscene 901 runs on the season, Texas was beginning to assemble the pieces of a team that what would in two years time become the first American League champions in franchise history and do so in consecutive years.
Headlining the young and promising bats was a 24-year old Ian Kinsler, who in ’08 earned his first trip to the All-Star Game. Meanwhile, another, lesser known youngster was making a name for himself to Kinsler’s left; Chris Davis.
Davis put together a solid rookie campaign despite striking out 88 times in just 80 games, batting .285/.331/.549 with 17 homers and 55 RBIs. Davis continued to show flares of some major power potential over the next few seasons; unfortunately the rest of his game did not. His batting average plummeted to the Mendoza line while the strikeouts mounted to almost 35% over that period.
Finally the Rangers decided Davis was a lost cause and traded the then 25-year old along with Tommy Hunter in a deadline deal for the Japanese sensation Koji Uehara in an effort to bolster the bullpen in preparation for another pennant race, eventually proving to be one of the worst trades of GM Jon Daniels tenure.
Davis would finally find his power stroke beneath the lights of Camden Yards, ripping 79 home runs since the trade including 44 this season alone, all in exchange for 22 games of Uehara.
The Mets are in a similar situation as the Rangers with a Davis of their own in Ike, and they need to be patient. This is not to say that Ike necessarily will go on to hit 79 homers in two-and-change seasons, but he is someone the Mets could regret letting go.
His issues with his swing are more than well documented, his struggles have been very much publicized, but when it comes to someone with as much power potential as Ike Davis, you don’t give up on him as easily as so many already have.