Next up in our player by player year in review series is Ike Davis. Due to a freak ankle injury, Davis was limited to just 36 games in 2011. It was a huge blow to both the Mets and Ike, due to the fact that he had come out of the gate on fire. Davis was limited during Spring Training prior to 2012, due to a suspected (yet never confirmed) case of Valley Fever. Here’s how he did overall in 2012:
How he handled the bat:
In April, May, and part of June, Ike Davis was arguably the worst player in baseball (offensively). His average was .185 in April, before sagging to .154 for the month of May. He was waving at every pitch that came his way, while rarely making solid contact. After serious internal debate about potentially sending Davis to the Minors to work out his issues, he began showing signs of life in the middle of June. He hit .264 for the month, to go along with 6 home runs and 24 RBI’s. With the exception of his average in July (where he hit .221), Davis closed out the season strong – bringing his batting average back to a somewhat respectable level after his atrocious start, while clubbing 27 home runs from June through the end of the season. Overall, Davis finished the year with an average of .227, while hitting 32 home runs and knocking in 90 runs – quite an accomplishment considering his horrid start.
How he handled the glove:
As Mets fans and the rest of Major League Baseball learned during his rookie campaign, Ike Davis has the ability to be a first baseman who’s way above average. He committed 8 errors in 2012, compared to the 9 he made in his other full Major League season in 2010. His fielding percentage was .994. It felt, though, that Ike was less aggressive this season – especially when it came to going for the lead runner. Those suspicions seem to be confirmed by the fact that he had only 71 assists in 2012, compared to the 105 he had in 2010. Perhaps Davis brought his early season offensive struggles with him to the field. In any event, he was solid, not spectacular at first base. One would hope his aggressiveness in the field returns going into 2013, along with his already above average ability.
Projected role in 2013:
Ike Davis should enter the year as the Mets’ starting first baseman. In an infield that has Daniel Murphy (and his lack of range) manning second base, it’s imperative to have someone solid next to him to pick up some of the slack. With the Mets’ lack of power in the outfield, having a power bat at first base is even more important. Barring a trade, that bat should be Ike Davis. There have, however, been some whispers about a potential trade.
Contract status and trade rumors:
Ike Davis is arbitration eligible, and will get a raise from the $507,000 he made in 2012. As was mentioned above, there were some rumors during the latter part of the season about the Mets potentially trading Ike Davis. It was claimed by a source that some in the organization were worried about Davis’ nightlife habits, and the effect those habits might have on the younger players. Whether or not those rumors are true is immaterial. Unless Davis has a documented alcohol or drug problem, trading a player with his potential because he likes to go out would be idiotic. If, as is the case with any player, the Mets were to deal him based purely on baseball reasons to fill a few immediate needs, that’s another story. However, with their overall lack of power and current payroll constraints, I can’t see a scenario where the Mets trade Ike Davis unless they’re getting a cost controlled, established, power hitting outfielder in return. So, expect him to be at first base on Opening Day.