Davis got off to a horrible start and was hitting .161 in June when he was demoted to the minors. He straightened out his mechanics in Triple-A and hit .267/.429/.443 the rest of the way, until a strained oblique finished his season at the end of August.
After signing Curtis Granderson and Chris Young, the Mets will thankfully move Lucas Duda out of the outfield, setting up a spring training battle with Davis at first base. Duda hit .223, so this won’t exactly be a McCovey-Cepeda situation going on here.
I still like Davis, although it’s probably time to admit he’ll never hit lefties. As a platoon first baseman, his value rests in a good eye at the plate, which can give him a respectable on-base percentage despite a low batting average. Still, he’s prone to long slumps, as in the first half of 2013 and the first half of 2012. The Mets are probably wary of Davis by now, so look for Duda to win the job and Davis to be shopped around. He’d be a good fit for the Pirates, who need somebody to platoon with Gaby Sanchez. Either way, if Davis doesn’t win a regular job, he’ll probably drift into a Russell Branyan-like vagabond career, going from team to team as a fill-in first baseman.
… It’s funny how so many view this as Ike’s make or break season. Last year at this time, I felt 2013 was Ike’s do or die season. After a 2012 that saw him stink it up in the first half, Davis finished strong but still only batted .227/.308/.462 with 141 strikeouts in 519 at-bats.
Either way, Davis will get a third opportunity to redeem himself. Since his 149 glorious plate appearances in 2011 when he batted .302/.383/.543, Ike has whiffed 242 times in his last 836 at-bats. Ouch…
I’m in the minority among my staff and there are many like John Bernhardt who believe Ike will turn it around and have a solid campaign this season. I hope they’re all right.