It’s Make Or Break Time For Ike Davis

Ike Davis

David Schoenfield of ESPN.com included Ike Davis among the five players he says are entering their make or break seasons in 2014. He writes:

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.

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About Joe D 7837 Articles
I'm a lifelong Mets fan who loves writing and talking about the Amazins' 24/7. From the Miracle in 1969 to the magic of 1986, and even the near misses in '73, '00 and '15, I've experienced it all - the highs and the lows. I started Mets Merized Online in 2005 to feed my addiction and interact with other passionate Met fans like you. Follow me on Twitter @metsmerized.
  • Lare Clark

    What to do until Boyd/Smith become the Cepeda/McCovey of New York? Is there any chance that Flores can get playing time at first in AAA? Unless they are planning on moving Murphy that seems the best strategy to me.

  • BehindTheBag

    Couldn’t agree more. Davis should get the first crack at 1B with a short leash while Flores learns the position and he builds back up his value in AAA.

  • BehindTheBag

    Collins: This is your last chance, Ike. You better go out there and produce, or you’re gone!
    Ike: Really?
    Collins: Nah, just kidding.

  • Andrew Herbst

    I think Ike should get one more shot to start the year, but he has a very short leash.

  • Antnee SM

    It’s fascinating to me how different this line up would look if Ike Davis came out, hit .275 with 40 HRs and 100 rbi’s. Granted, I don’t think it will happen, and that’s coming from one of the most optimistic fans out there. But one can dream, right?? Heh.

  • Randolph Scott

    TC: Hey look, here comes Jeffy & Sandy, let’s have a half hour, in the dugout, kiss your azz pep talk too …… because we wouldn’t want your Daddy to complain again about how we don’t love you.

  • 2aSupport

    I’d take .275 with 20 HR from Ike instead of the .20-something we got last year.

  • BronxMets

    Here is the problem with giving Ike one more shot. Whats Plan B?

  • The-rock-man

    What does Ike do in the off season? Remarkably he looked so lost at the plate, how does a major league team allow a player to digress to the point of looking like a little league player. I don’t buy into he needs to keep playing when he looked so bad. OUCH. Send him down or to St. Lucie for a clinic. He’s still valuable, but how did he go backwards so fast?

  • Duda.
    Ouch!

  • I agree. Given a bunch of undesirable choices, I’ll take the one who COULD hit 30 homers if the stars aligned. I mean every single option is a risk, so we might as well bet big.

  • But what will they do with that blue-chip prospect Duda?

  • louisrstennes@yahoo.com

    Where have I been. I thought 2013 was the make or break year after Wally straightened him out with the 51’s. Did I miss something here?

  • BadBadLeroyBrown

    “… 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.”

    Cuz youre an impatient Microwave Mets fan 😉

    You want to cut guys after 1 bad season lollol…

    Your Mets life is going to be hell then, because Sandy is putting all his chips in on prospects and this is what most prospects do…Peaks and Valleys.

  • Peter

    It is a make or break year because next year he will be in year 2 of arbitration. He will likely get a raise so his value has to at the very least match his salary or he will be cut or traded, and if he is traded his value willbe low so Alderson would have to take what he gets for him just to get rid of the salary. That being said I think Ike has the tools to be successful and I think he will have a good year.

  • Destry

    I’m with you. He is what he is at this point. At best, he is a guy that can’t hit lefties, and hit .150 from Aprl – June. Then he either turns it around or doesn’t, but your team is out of it by then, so it doesn’t really matter. I dont’ see anyway he opens the season with the Mets. He’s either traded or released before opening day.

  • Destry

    Or 1 horrid season, one average at best season, and one season where her missed 90% of the games

  • Destry

    .275 40 HRs? He’s hit more than 19 HR in a season one time, and that came with a .227 Batting Average and .305 OBP

  • AndyB

    Dear Ike,
    I recommend a great spring training.
    PS – here’s a secret: the ML pitchers have you figured out. They figure out every hitter (for some that doesn’t matter, the hitter’s too good or the pitcher can’t make the out pitch) and you’re no exception. So, now it’s up to you to figure them out.
    AAA is littered with hitters who can’t hit in the big leagues. But good luck, I really do want you to be solid in the middle of the order.

  • Bail4Nails

    With Ike, I have “Peaks and Valleys” Fever. And the only prescription is more Flores.

  • Ted Danson

    Couldn’t have said it better!

  • Bail4Nails

    Maybe they have a Curveball Camp somewhere?

  • metstastic

    Exactly right. At some point, what he will earn doesn’t match his production and that is when you need to cut him.. for around $3M he still has enough upside that it is still worth it to take a chance. He won’t “likely get a raise”. He WILL get a raise.. just the nature of arbitration.

  • metstastic

    Flores has nothing left to prove in the minors. He just needs a position and some playing time.

  • Bail4Nails

    I found a Plan B! IF the Ike/Duda competition fails completely, and Flores still needs time to get 1B reps in AAA, what about Zach Lutz?

    2013- 20games- .300Avg, .462 OBP, .400SLG
    2013- AAA- 399ABs, .293 Avg, .377OBP, .479SLG, 80 RBIs

    I know l, I know, last thing we need is another First Baseman. But those are pretty good numbers. Just something to consider.

  • Ted Danson

    Yet people still want to run Ike out there.The agony of watching his consistent .150 halves is excruciating. He been given more than enough chances to prove himself and hes been coddled all along the way.

  • metstastic

    I suspect that is why Ike had a near .400 OBP after he came back. Before, he used to swing at all the junk that pitchers kept throwing him. Once he stopped swinging at them, all those junk pitches turned into walks. Now if we can get someone that can actually hit behind him… They might actually throw him some better pitches to hit since they know they can’t get away with throwing him the junk. One can only dream!

  • Andrew Herbst

    I agree. We have to hope that regain his 30 homer form, but I think it’s a long shot.

  • Antnee SM

    Yes, I realize this. I was talking more along the lines of what they were expecting him to become after his rookie season where he hit .264, 19 HR,and 71 RBIs at the age of 23.

    If you would have went and said that three years later he’d be what he is now ? People would have thought you were crazy.

    If I were Ike Davis, I’d go back and watch every at bat from 2010 and work on mimicking that until he learns how to hit again.

    Amazing how fast stock can fall on an athlete.

  • BadBadLeroyBrown

    Ike Davis Career Stats

    2010 19HR,264avg,351obp,440slg,791ops,115ops+
    2011 7HR,.302avg,383obp,543slg,925ops,156ops+
    2012 32HR,227avg,308obp,462slg,771ops,111ops+
    2013 9HR,205avg,.326obp,334slg,661ops,89ops+

    Not great, but also not as bad as some of you make it seem

    2010 Good Rookie season
    2011 Started Great, but got hurt, incomplete(wash)
    2012 Average season
    2013 Brutally bad season

    And he is only 26years old???

    Some Mets fans who want Ike gone love to wax poetic about how Carlos Gomez turned out. And say we shouldve kept GO-GO…..

    But he was WORSE than Ike for “5 YEARS” straight. And only started playing decent ball at age 26.

  • metstastic

    When he came up last year, he didn’t do much. And although he has nice AAA numbers, I don’t think many see him as much of a prospect.

  • BadBadLeroyBrown

    BINGO!!!!

    You are the WINNER!!!

  • metstastic

    People salivate at him hitting 30HR again. I think he will be on a shorter leash this time around.. maybe a month max.. no more waiting until the all star break before he is cut.

  • BehindTheBag

    Flores.

  • BehindTheBag

    I don’t know man…he had a 54 OPS+ in 100 plate appearances, and a sub .250 OBP.

    For a guy who makes his living on his bat, not his glove, I’d say he’s got a few things to work on.

    Don’t get me wrong, I like his potential.

  • BronxMets

    Thats not a plan.

  • The-rock-man

    Exactly, I would hire Jamie Moyer, a slow lefty, or who ever I needed and have him throw me everything I was weak at day in and day out to improve pitch recognition. Ike should be able to afford different pitchers for BP 3 or 4 days a week during his layoff. Ike’s probably playing WI or Xbox 360 baseball and calling it good enough.

  • The-rock-man

    Flores!

  • BadBadLeroyBrown

    Smgdh…no comment

  • Hitmanᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ ✔

    He better rake from the word go. No more excuses for these 1-2 month performances after stinking the majority of the season. It’s getting sad at this point.

  • Bail4Nails

    This is what bothers me so much about ML baseball. If you are not a “highly-touted prospect”, you never get a shot. How many big name prospects go bust for the Mets (Davis, Milledge?)
    Lutz can hit. If all else fails, why not give him a shot? Maybe he can build his value, and become part of a nice trade package later in the season. Not all good players were huge prospects.

  • BehindTheBag

    Well neither is Ike or Duda, but that never stopped us before. I believe in Flores, but he needs to get familiar with the position, and some more tuning for his bat. A healthy Flores has a lot of upside.

  • BehindTheBag

    Numbers don’t lie. He’s young, I get that. He’s got a lot of potential, I get that. I don’t want to bury him or write him off…far from it. But his best bet is to work on his glove in AAA, and he most definitely has room to grow before he gets back to the big club.

    I don’t know where you’re coming from? You think we should cut him because he had a bad debut? Or you think we should ignore it and keep throwing him out there with no regard to performance?

  • trevordunn

    Ike will be DFA’d in March and Duda will be the 1b…idk bout you but Tejada at SS and Duda at 1B has me PUMPED…I WANT SEASON TICKETS

  • T Boogy

    I am confident that a Davis/Satin platoon can very productive, more so than Duda and Satin. There’s no reason Davis can’t put up similar numbers to Brandon Moss last year for the A’s. The talent is still there; he just needs to regain his confidence. I expect Ike to produce .270/25/80 in 450 at bats.

  • jason bay

    Gomez shouldn’t have been up at 21. Imagine if he was brought up at 24 like Lagares and it’s a useless comparison because CG always did a great job defensively at a premier position and ran the bases well and shouldn’t be compared offensively to a first basemen and one that came up at 23 to boot.

  • jason bay

    Flores!

  • Endy10

    honestly he can’t be worse than duda.

    i think he still has to hop over duda ike satin and flores though

  • Taskmaster4450

    I think in that situation you would see Lawley at 1B before Lutz.

    I believe he plays 1B in addition to the OF.

  • Taskmaster4450

    Didnt Ike have Byrd hitting behind him most of the season.

    Ike’s problem is not they were throwing him junk because they were pitching around him. It was because for almost two years, he swung at everything.

    Stop trying to blame Ike’s woes on a weak lineup. Ike created his own problems.

  • Taskmaster4450

    He has to hit in ST first.

    Bad ST = walking papers.

  • Taskmaster4450

    Just imagine what Brave fans are saying about B. Upton who put up numbers worse than Ike.

    And because of his cash, the Braves were financially tied so they couldnt really make a run at McCann or Hudson if they wanted to.

    At least Ike isnt costing the Mets the loss of a player.

  • Taskmaster4450

    That is the point: nobody knows what he is doing during the off season. Everyone presumes he is going to be coming back the same. He might well be working on rebuilding his swing in an effort to eliminate some of the holes.

    For Met fans, no news = bad news.

  • Taskmaster4450

    Why isnt it a plan?

  • Taskmaster4450

    If he comes out and does that, Alderson will simultaneously look like both a genius and an a** for trying to trade Ike for a high-end prospect.

    Genius for not giving him away and a** for even trying to trade him.

  • Taskmaster4450

    You judge a player based upon 100 plate appearances.

    That is simply foolish. Especially since said player had a bum ankle.

    I wonder how many guys would have been targeted for the farm based upon a poor 100 ABs.

  • Bail4Nails

    Absolutely. He’s 4th string at this point. I want Hernandez to work exclusively with Flores, I think he has the highest ceiling. If Ike or Duda do well to start the season, that’s great. But I don’t know if I could ever trust them long-term.

  • BehindTheBag

    Let me try to clear it up for you. You don’t write a player off based on 100 plate appearances. But you absolutely judge whether he’s ready to be a full time starter based on how he looked in a short stint.

    What, do you want to turn the 1st or 2nd job to him right now????

  • Bail4Nails

    Why do we care so much about 30 HRs? We keep banking on HR power (not just Ike), and in the process, we get low avg, tons of strikeouts, and hundreds of killed rallies. Get RBI guys!!!!
    Do you know who had the most RBIs in ML last year? The Boston Red Sox. Yes, a HR is an RBI, I get it. But when we need a run with a guy on second base, I’ll take Flores at the plate over Ike Davis any day of the week, and a double-header on Sunday. No?

  • He should be in front of that pitching machine that feeds balls with letters on it and he should be trying to get a hold of the letter, so he can see the ball better.. That’ss what Beltran did day in and day out as a Met. He loved that pitching machine..It’s a great way to pickup the ball

  • I’ll say it too…. FLORES!

  • I get what he’s saying about he’s got nothing else to prove in the minors. He’s been there since he was 16 or 18 whatever it is, and he’s dominated for a while now. He has nothing else to prove in the hitting dept. They need to find a position for him and let him play his game on both sides.

  • mad met

    Bud you nailed it. Some pun intended 100% accurate

  • mad met

    Amen

  • mad met

    Yup !!!!!

  • SpinalRemains

    This kid just baffles me beyond belief. Regardless of his ugly swing, he goes from complete automatic out to All Star within the season’s two halves. I’ve never seen anything like it. It’s fascinating really. What’s his deal?

  • BehindTheBag

    Boston was 6th in the majors in HR, so it’s not like there’s no correlation between power and runs.

  • Bail4Nails

    True. But if you had a choice between someone with 80+ RBIs and 15 HRs, or a guy with 25 HRs and 60 RBIs, who would you choose?

  • DrewC

    It called a swing that has too many moving parts. If his timing is slightly off he’ll slump. He has to start his swing so early because of the huge hitch there is no room for error. The only two players in MLB with big hitches that are successful are Ortiz and Hamilton. I baffles me that no one ever changed his swing. I just don’t think he can ever be consistent.

  • Bail4Nails

    I will only trust his Spring Training numbers if, before every Ike at bat, someone tells the AAA pitcher (or vet working out kinks) to only throw him breaking balls. We’ve been fooled by Ike’s Spring Training prowess before.

  • chago

    “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.”

    Now that is a classic Joe you litterally had me LOL when I read that ! If we could get half of what McCovey or Cepeda did in their prime from either of these two I would be a happy man .

  • mad met

    Lol

  • mad met

    Flores / murphy at first … ey murphy at 2nd gives ey some at bats and keep murphy in line up dump duda and ike they suck

  • BronxMets

    That’s not a plan hats a reaction

  • Destry

    His numers were good that year because he was a ROOKIE 1B. He cant go back to that swing because he cant hit 20 HR with it. Its .265 19 or .205 with maybe 30 but maybe 9. Those are the options with Ike

  • The only reason Ike has the best chance to win the 1B job is because his competition is Duda. No matter how bad you think Ike is, he’s more accomplished than Duda and has outproduced him. I have no clue why Flores was not given a 1B glove in September and forced to drill there all winter long. If he grew up playing SS, I think he can handle 1B…where many think he’s destined to end up anyway.

    This whole thing annoys me with Flores because…you find spots for your bats. Your gloves, are for your bench. Your bats are forced on to the field. And last I checked, 1B is not the hardest position on the field. So we will go with Ike or Duda, and we will all be off the ledge by mid April.

  • mad met

    Its my plan. But my plan did not have young on team either.nor did it have granderson altho i at least understand that one a little

  • mad met

    Have u seen duda field firstbase he might as well be holding a torch..and ike was no picnic there last year. Your not giving up much d there

  • pochemunyet

    Flores