2011 Season in Review: Ike Davis
The New York Mets as a whole went 77-85 in 2011. As suggested by the sub-par record, there were a fair share of ups and downs throughout the season. “2011 Season in Review,” which will be an on-going series, will analysis every single Mets player that picked up a ball or glove in 2011, for better or worse. This particular “2011 Season in Review” will take a look at first baseman, Ike Davis.
After a strong rookie season, exceptions for Ike Davis in his sophomore year were high, and rightfully so. The young first baseman showed the ability to hit for power, get on base and play excellent defense at first, highlighted by an array of fall-over-the-dugout-railing catches. His season was cut short by a fluke injury, but when Ike played this season, he was one of the best hitters in the lineup.
In his rookie year, Davis hit .264/.351/.440 with 17 homers and a wRC+ of 115 (100 is average). He struck out 138 times, a 23% rate, but also drew 72 walks, a very respectable 12% rate, especially for a power hitter. Defensively, Davis was stellar, posting a UZR of 10.1 and 13 defensive runs saved. With an fWAR of 3.5, Ike was penciled in to be a major contributor on both offense and defense in 2011.
And Ike was up to the challenge. In 149 plate appearances before landing on the disabled list, Davis hit .302/.383/.543 with seven homers, 25 RBI and a wRC+ of 152. In his limited defensive action, Ike posted a UZR of 1.9 and saved two runs defensively. In about a month and a half, his fWAR was 1.4, and it seemed like Ike was on pace for a great season.
Furthermore, Davis was one of the few Mets who hit well with runners in scoring position. During these situations, Ike was 13-40 with a homer, a triple, two doubles and 17 RBI. But what also was impressive about Davis early on was his improvement in plate discipline. The sample size is small, but over the two months he was active, Davis struck out 20.8% of the time, down from his 2011 rate. He also swung and missed 8.9% of the time, down from the 9.7% rate from last season.
Of course, nobody got to see Ike play an entire season and see if he could sustain his success. First diagnosed with a strained left calf, the initial reports made it seem like Davis would only be out a couple of weeks. However, the timetable for his return kept getting pushed back, and eventually the team threw in the towel for the season. Fortunately, Davis’ ankle will not require surgery and he should be ready for spring training.
If the Mets want to contend in 2012, they are going to need a healthy Ike Davis. For one, he is one of, if not the best source of power in the lineup and has been unfazed by Citi Field (out of his 26 career homers, 13 have been at home and 13 on the road); the proposed change in dimensions should only help his home run total. Second, his defense will help stabilize the infield. With players like Dan Murphy, Justin Turner and Ruben Tejada shifting positions on an almost daily basis this past season due to injuries, it was hard to develop any sort of consistency on the infield. With Ike manning first base, he can at least provide a tall, more than capable target for the other infielders to throw to, and will probably be able to bail guys out on poor throws. Even with missing most of 2011, Davis can and should be an important part of the Mets lineup in 2012.