Fixing Ike Davis

ike-davisI can fix Ike Davis. I know that you don’t believe me, but Davis can fix this if he wants to.

I wrote a piece on MMN over the weekend about why I didn’t think it was the right move to demote Davis. I know I am in the small minority that thinks this, but if he makes a couple of minor mechanical adjustments he can work this out at the big league level. Look at what Zack Wheeler did a few weeks ago when he made a small mechanical adjustment — it seemed to work wonders on his command. Sometimes, all it takes is a tweak.

Here are the two main reasons why it is a bad idea to demote Davis at this point:

  • Davis is 26 years old. When you send 26 year-old ballplayers down to the minors, they usually never return. He has to figure this out against major league pitching. But Mitch,Keith Hernandez said he was sent down and it worked wonders for him…yeah, and he was 21 years old too…big difference.
  • Are any of the other options at first base going to perform better than Davis? If you call up anyone from Triple-A, do you really think they are going to light the major leagues on fire? Probably not. It wouldn’t be much of an improvement. Andrew Brown already tried it, and moving Lucas Duda to first base isn’t an option either considering he is a defensive liability and he isn’t exactly in the running for a batting title this season.

Luckily I am here to fix Ike Davis’ hitting problems. Hopefully someone sends this to him.

I noted earlier that sometimes all it takes is a tweak, well it’s time for Davis to tweak his swing. When He is standing in the box, he uses a wide stance — this is actually good. It prevents the hitter from having a long stride, which can change the hitter’s eye level. The major issue I have with Davis’ swing is that there is just way too much going on before the pitch arrives. He has to do what we call “quieting” his swing. What that basically means is simplifying his swing.

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.

I know what everyone is thinking…if Ike Davis is comfortable, they should leave him alone. Bologna. If he was having success I would say sure, leave him alone.— but he’s not having success, and it’s time for a change.

If Davis wants to get better he has to leave his comfort zone. As Thomas Edison said, “we shall have no better conditions in the future if we are satisfied with all those which we have at present.”

Davis has a swing that would surely get him in the beer league softball hall of fame, but it’s not going to cut it in the big leagues. And if he refuses to adjust, I would fine him every game until he did. Every night he went out there with his hands above his head and dropped them to his waist, I would fine him.

The minor leagues isn’t the answer for Ike Davis. Davis has the power to make the change if he wants to. After three more strikeouts tonight, I’m just wondering how many more strikeouts it will take for Ike Davis to realize that for himself.