The Rising Apple staff chooses one player to highlight on our site for their outstanding or unique performance for the last week. If you have a nomination on who should be crowned as the Rising Apple Player of the Week, please let us know! You can leave us a comment, tweet us (@RisingAppleBlog) or make a comment on Facebook.
In a week where we saw the Mets go 4-2, there were a few players that had a big role in starting and prolonging what ended up being a four-game winning streak. First of all, without R.A. Dickey‘s performance last Saturday against the Astros, the streak would have never gotten off the ground. However, it was the clutch performances of Ike Davis that has earned him his second Rising Apple Player of the Week honors.
Over the past seven days, Davis hasn’t exactly been on fire; he hit .285 with 2 home runs, 3 RBI, 4 runs scored, and 4 walks, but his success at the plate came at the best times for the Mets, as they were able to string together their first back-to-back series victories since the first half. In the series finale against Houston last Sunday afternoon, he hit a towering home run to right field to put New York on the board with a 1-0 lead. Once Jeremy Hefner wasn’t able to complete the shutout, Davis came back up in the ninth with a chance to win the ballgame with one swing of the bat. Thankfully for him, this is 2012 and not 2011, as he hit a high fly ball to right field, but this one barely clearing the “new” fences in the Mo’s Zone to give the Amazins the walk-off victory.
The next night in Philadelphia, Ike was at it again in a late-game situation; he was hitless through his first four at-bats, but stepped to the plate in the 10th with David Wright, the go-ahead run, standing on first base. The slugging first baseman hit a hanging breaking ball to the gap in left center field, plating Wright. That hit, of course, got the ball rolling as the Mets scored three more times off B.J. Rosenberg.
While Ike’s triple slash (.224/.294/.442) isn’t impressive to the naked eye, it’s a far cry from the .170/.228/.296 he was sporting in the first two months of the season. The patience and confidence that Terry Collins showed in him has paid dividends, as Ike has been hitting .261/.331/.535 in the second half, which includes a .286 mark in August. Not only does he lead the club with 24 home runs, but he’s second to Wright with 71 RBI, and fifth with 21 doubles.
With every young player, there will be growing pains, and the Mets certainly experienced that with Ike Davis this season. Opposing pitchers started throwing more breaking pitches (17.4% curveballs in ’12 vs. 8.1% in ’11) instead of continuing to go after him with fastballs (48.4% in ’12 vs. 53.4% in ’11). Once he adjusted to this change in approach towards him, he’s been making more solid contact of late, as he’s hitting line drives at a 21.8% rate this season, compared to 17% last year. Some would be concerned with his his 5% decrease in fly balls hit, but I’d rather see line drives; when more solid contact is made, there more of a chance he will get on base, and eventually, line drives carry out of the ballpark. Congratulations to Ike!
Honorable Mention: I’d be remiss not to mention R.A. Dickey’s start from last weekend, as he put a stop to all the losing, as he’s done for most of the season. After he silenced the Houston bats to 1 run and 5 hits over 7 innings of work to earn the victory, Dickey became the first Met since Johan Santana in 2008 to earn 16 wins in a season. If he can get #17 tonight, it will be the first time since Al Leiter did it back in 1998.