Invaluable Ike Davis

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Yesterday was a sight for sore eyes.  The Mets pounded out nine runs on seventeen hits to salvage the series finale against the Phillies.  New York was able to put together two big innings, two out rallies and perhaps most importantly, get hits with runners in scoring position.  Fans surely hope this offense outpouring is a sign of things to come, but have reason to be skeptical based on how the offense has performed prior to Sunday.  One important reason for the recent offensive struggles is the lack of Ike Davis.

It’s no secret that Ike plays a huge role on the field, but his value to the team cannot be understated.  At the time of his injury, Davis was hitting .302/.383/.543 with seven homers, eight doubles and 25 RBI.  Furthermore, he has already accumulated a WAR of 1.4; his WAR total for all of last season was 2.4.  Early in the season, Ike in the lineup meant wins, and he has contributed in numerous different ways.

The first and perhaps most obvious is the power that his bat provides.  Even being on the shelf for an extended period of time, Davis is second on the team in home runs (one behind Carlos Beltran), and has averaged a long ball once every 21.3 plate appearances, an improvement over his 31.6 PA/HR ratio from last year.  He also still maintains the team’s highest slugging percentage.  But Ike thus far has proven to be more than just a power threat.  His on-base percentage also ranks tops on the team, and he has drawn walks, averaging a free pass every 8.8 plate appearances.  As a result, he leads the team in OPS and OPS+ (158).

Part of Ike’s success can be attributed to his improved plate discipline.  According to FanGraphs, last season, Davis swung and missed 9.7% of the time; he’s cut that number down to 8.9% thus far.  In addition, when he swings at a pitch out of the strike zone, Davis has made contact 68.0% of the time, up from 60.1% in 2010.

And then there’s hitting with runners in scoring position.  Even with yesterday’s outburst, the Mets are hitting just .238/.327/.350 with runners and scoring position, a line that shrinks to .213/.320/.323 when there are two outs.  Davis, on the other hand, is batting .325/.383/.500 with RISP, and .238/.333/.429 with two outs and RISP (that last line isn’t that great for him either, but still better than the team).  The bottom line is that Ike produces: he owns a wOBA of .396 and wRC+ of 153, both of which lead the Mets (both are scaled so that 100 is average).

Ike’s bat (and his glove) are invaluable to the Mets.  I have nothing against Daniel Murphy, who has done a decent job filling in at first, or Justin Turner who has been unbelievable with the bat.  But if the Mets want to have any hope of competing, they will need Ike Davis back in the lineup sooner rather than later.

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Tags: Amazins Daniel Murphy Ike Davis Ike Davis Defense Ike Davis First Base Ike Davis Gold Glove Ike Davis Home Run Justin Turner Matt Kaufman Mets Mets Offensive Struggles New York Mets Offensive Struggles Philaldephia Phillies Rising Apple Rising Apple Ike Davis

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