Saturday, May 25, 2013

We Still (Sort of) Like Ike

Coming out of college, Ike Davis provided hope for all Mets fans. When he finally arrived in Flushing a year and a half later in 2010, it looked like the team braintrust had found a replacement for my boy Carlos Delgado. Davis lived up to expectations in his rookie year, and was off to an amazing start in 2011 before suffering a season ending injury.

Last year, he started off horribly, and at a certain point in May (according to WAR) was rated one of the five worst players in the league. His batting average was low and he wasn't hitting for much power at all. His lowest point was .159, but it went up from there. The team stuck with him, and he found a way to turn it around, climbing back to .227 and slugged 32 home runs. Impressive how he found a way to turn the corner and be a pretty good player. The batting average isn't what the team and the fans wanted, but at least we knew that we could rely on him to hit for power. The contact could be improved upon, back to his rookie year form. This would be the year for Ike to put it all together. Even if he couldn't, everyone knows that he's the first baseman of the future. 

Then this happened. We're now in 2013 and I just saw Ike hit rock bottom. I went to last night's Mets game, and before play was suspended in the eighth inning, Davis was 0-4 with 4 strikeouts. Yes, he got the Golden Sombrero. But this wasn't any ordinary Sombrero, he struck out swinging four times and failed to make contact until his fourth at bat. He hit a foul ball on a 1-2 count and received a standing ovation because it was the only time in the game that he made contact. A sarcastic "MVP" chant broke out in our section (started by me of course). Of course he ended that at bat with a ball and swung and missed at strike three. After his third strikeout, he was booed profusely by everyone in the stadium. It was a sad sight to witness because Ike is one of my favorite players on the team. 

The problem is, he can't hit the ball. Either it's a problem with his pitch recognition, his swing, or hit bat speed; but it needs to change, and it needs to change fast. He must be sent down to AAA in Las Vegas. While that park is notorious for inflating offensive statistics, this isn't about the stat sheet. There's a legitimate problem with Ike Davis and it looks like his baseball career will be in jeopardy if he doesn't fix it soon. He can't change his approach while facing major league pitching, he'll just be eaten alive until he re-perfects his swing and approach that made him a first round draft pick. 

I don't think I'm generalizing too much when I say that Mets fans still like him. He just needs to produce enough to warrant cheers. 

So I plead with the Mets, send him down before it's too late. Send him down for the sake of the team. Send him down for the sake of the fans. Send him down for the sake of his career. 

Do it now. 

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