With the Met outfield taking shape, attention turns to other position player needs. Shortstop and first base were two areas the Met front office indicated needed attention during the off-season.
Speculation has swirled that the Mets have lost patience with Ike Davis and are actively shopping him around. The longball results the Mets expected from Davis have never materialized as team brass anticipated.
I’m not embarrassed to admit, I’m a big Ike Davis fan. In my opinion, Ike’s glacial like starts in the last two seasons have convinced the Met FO it’s too risky to keep Ike in the roster in 2014. If we move Ike at this point in his career, I fear it’s a decision we’ll someday regret.
Much is being made of the new Met additions of Chris Young and Curtis Granderson. Don’t misunderstand me, I was committed to the Mets signing Granderson and never wavered from that point of view. In fact, I found myself singing “The Grandy Man” far more than is probably healthy after hearing we brought Granderson into the fold.
With a big chunk of the stated expendable resources targeting Young and Granderson with the intention of filling a much needed Met power void, I became curious about where Davis’ longball stats might compare with our two new additions. Thinking further along those lines I wondered about the home run potential of our roster as it’s currently constructed. I decided to use HRs per at-bats as well as slugging percentage for comparisons. I used the career statistics of all players involved. Take a look.
Players HR/AB SLUG%
Curtis Granderson 20.45 .488
Ike Davis 22.21 .434
David Wright 23.30 .506
Chris Young 24.30 .431
Lucas Duda 25.09 .424
Daniel Murphy 57.92 .424
I included Daniel Murphy only because some Met fans propose moving him to first base as an answer to concerns at that position. If power production is a goal, clearly that option needs to be scraped. And, after following this saga, my take is the FO’s overall dissatisfaction with Ike Davis evolves from his failure to deliver the long ball potential they anticipated.
Clearly, compared to his teammates in these two power areas Ike doesn’t fare that badly. Even though Ike’s career slugging percentage is a tad higher than Young, Duda and Murphy, it would help his case if that percentage was elevated. Even so, if the Mets are looking for power potential at the first base slot from inside the organization, these numbers might suggest that cutting Ike loose might be premature.
If the Mets decide to keep Duda over Davis, the numbers suggest that decision will not be made on power potential. Perhaps the magic on-base-percentage stats would make the difference, even though Duda has a career OBP of .342 with Ike not that far behind at .334. Interestingly, Ike’s career OBP is higher than both Chris Young (.315) and Daniel Murphy (.333). Granderson comes in at .340 with only David Wright’s .382 a noted difference.
That took me to the possibility of the Mets looking to the outside to bring in that long ball bat they covet to replace Ike Davis at first base. A group of 7 of last year’s first baseman with nearly 500 at bats or more have HR/At-Bat ratio’s below 1/20. That list includes names (Chris Davis, Edwin Encarnacion, Mike Napoli, Paul Goldschmidt, Paul Konerko, etc.), guys the Mets have no real hope of acquiring in a trade without giving up multiple young power armed pitching chips. That’s not going to happen.
So, how does Ike match up with some of the other outside first base possibilities.
Once again, Ike would profit with a boost of his slugging percentage, but, even so, evidence doesn’t indicate the Mets will find an upgrade from the outside. Many of the established first baseman are far beyond a salary range the Mets would consider. Teams would be hard pressed to move younger first base talent showing comparable power potential and earning less then Davis. Considering first base as a power producing position, once you line up the numbers and extract the emotion, it becomes more difficult to believe the ‘hopeless’ tag on Davis our eyes may have led us to believe.
I’m hoping the Met decision makers, take slow down, take a deep breath and reconsider moving Ike Davis. They should put all their energy into finding a fifth staring pitcher of the rotation and an upgrade at shortstop. Ike Davis is young, willing, and has put up power numbers before. Make Ike part of the solution as we move forward in 2014.