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Player Profile #153: Ike Davis | 1B | NYM

In 2012, Ike Davis burst onto the scene by hitting 20 HR in the second half. He appeared to be blossoming into a middle-of-the-order slugger, however, the only order he found himself in 2013 was in Triple-A. Sure, he made it back to the majors after just 21 games, but to say last year went anywhere close to how Davis or the Mets planned would be a massive stretch.

When you consider Davis’ home run production dropped from 32 to just 9, you can definitely make the argument that he was the most disappointing power guy in fantasy in 2013.

After two seasons that pointed so perfectly in opposite directions, it seems most appropriate to begin any analysis of Davis with an understanding of what contributed to the stark difference in production over these two years.

Split AB R HR RBI BA
2012 519 66 32 90 0.227
2013 317 37 9 33 0.205
2013 Full Season Pace 499 59 15 52 0.205
Difference n/a -7 -17 -38 -0.022

Davis’ power numbers took a major hit in 2013.

Davis’ full season pace last year would have come up massively short in both home runs and RBI. Typically, when a player experiences a change in production this drastic (positive or negative) there’s a change in approach, a new skill, etc. — something that contributed to the difference.

We (Met fans) already know that Davis tinkered with his batting stance quite a bit during 2012 until he supposedly found one that delivered. It’s almost hard to believe how dominant he was during the second half when he mashed 20 HR in just 75 games. Unfortunately, Davis kept tinkering with his stance in 2013 — and for the worse.

April 12   Sep 12  2013

In April 2012 (top) Davis had a straight up stance, but during the last two months of the year (middle) Davis had more of a crouched stance, and then in April of 2013 (bottom) Davis was still crouched, though his upper body straightened out and his hands were above his head (Pictures courtesy of Mets360 blog).

When Davis changed his stance in 2013 his plate coverage completely fell by the wayside.
Second half 2012
2013

Davis’s plate coverage took a big hit in 2013, possibly due to a change in batting stance.

As you can see from the heat maps (red is excellent, purple is good, and blue is bad), Davis was able to handle pitches all over the zone in the second half of 2012. In 2013, he was helpless against any pitch on either the inner or outer half of the plate (I happen to believe he was standing too far back in the batter’s box).

At A Glance

  • Strengths: HR, OBP, SLG, OPS, BB
  • Neutral: RBI, 2B
  • Weaknesses: R, SB, BA, K, 3B

Players With Similar Fantasy Value

2014 Fantasy Baseball Projection

2014 Projection: 563 PA, .263 BA, 61 R, 27 HR, 80 RBI, 2 SB

Overall Rank: 153 | 1B Rank: 31

Ron Shandler once said, ‘Once you display a skill, you own it.’

One of the all-time great baseball minds Ron Shandler once said, “Once you display a skill, you own it.” If this is true, somewhere in there Davis still owns that power swing, which made us salivate over his power potential just a season ago. The good news is that there was already some real tangible evidence that Ike was trending in the right direction.

Split PA BA BABIP OPS K% BB% GB% FB% HR/FB
2013 1st Half 239 .165 .222 .505 30.5% 10.5% 46.4% 32.9% 10.9%
2013 2nd Half 138 .286 .351 .954 20.3% 23.2% 42.9% 39.0% 13.3%

Davis turned things around over the second half of 2013, evidence of better things to come in 2014.

This data clearly shows that Davis put together a tremendous turnaround in 2013. Most of those numbers were even better than his breakout 2012 season. With such an improvement in his plate discipline (e.g., K% and BB%) I’m also inclined to trust this is a meaningful step, rather than a fluke, despite it’s only based on a sample of 138 PA.

Davis will need to re-find his power stoke as he still only hit 4 HR in the second half, which would amount to just 17 HR over a full season. He won’t be touted anywhere close to where he was on last year’s draft day, but he’s worth the gamble on his upside alone.

2015 & Beyond

Davis will be turning 27 next year and let’s not forget that he was once touted as a very good prospect (1st round pick in 2008). He’s at the age when players typically reach their peak power production and for Davis that could be anywhere from 30-40 HR. Obviously, it’s not an automatic transition and he will have to keep at his improved plate discipline in order to enjoy any prolonged success in this league.

He’s a career .289 hitter in the minor leagues, and has a strong eye, so the fact that he’s been such a liability at the plate is a bit shocking. I’d hope that Davis’ batting average can be at least average to above average in today’s game.

Maybe the pressure is taken off Davis after a disappointing year and he puts it all together in 2014. All I know is if Davis ever figures it out he’s a perennial 30 HR hitter.

While writing this post my creative juices were enhanced by the one and only Stick Figure, a one man show who plays, mixes and loops every sound you hear all by himself.

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  • Joe Graulich

    I would just like to mention that Ike had a horrible first half in 2012 and had a good second half. Then 2013 came: repetition

  • Swaggerjackers

    I can’t remember which side he can’t hit (lefties?), but I seem to remember the Mets protecting Davis by sitting him against most lefties in the second half of the season in 2013.

    • Adam Nodiff

      It is true that Davis has been better against righties than lefties. I remember them sitting him against “tough” lefties, but I do not believe the plan is to use him as a platoon hitter long term. For Davis, as far as fantasy goes, he closed out 2013 really strong so I think it will really come down to whether he continues where he left off or falls back into an abyss.

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