Ike Davis’ Early Struggles

By Jerry Elsing
Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

When the New York Mets drafted Ike Davis  18th overall in the 2008 MLB Draft out of Arizona State, most people saw a player with great power potential.  Through the first three plus seasons we have seen the power, but we also see a player with flaws in his hitting approach.  Through his first 351 games he has produced 59 HR while knocking in 188 RBI.  Those stats over the course of a year average out to be around 30 HR and 95 RBI. Most teams would gladly sign up for that every year out of their first baseman, but for Davis, we need to see more production from him since he is the one power threat that does strike fear in pitchers.

When Davis came up we never expected him to hit for a high average.  Most people saw him on the high end as a .290-.295 hitter.  But throughout the first half of last year and the start of this year those numbers sound almost unimaginable for Davis.  Currently on the year, Davis is hitting a pitiful .136 with only one HR and two RBI in the first 12 games of the season.  He looks very uncomfortable at the plate striking out 13 times, while only drawing seven walks.  But these struggles can be fixed very easily with a few changes in his approach at the plate.

Ike has always been considered a pull happy hitter, but this year it’s more noticeable than ever.  Every time at the plate he is trying to hit the ball a country mile and chasing pitches out of the zone.  The first thing that Davis needs to do is get back to the basics with his approach at the plate.  Like I said, he’s looking to hit a home run every pitch he sees, rather than taking the simple approach and hitting the ball where it’s pitched.  It’s very simple, if the pitch is on the outside part of the plate he should  look to drive the ball up the middle or the other way, if it’s on the inside corner pull the ball and try to rip the cover off the ball.

The next thing I see that’s wrong with Ike is his pitch recognition.  He has been chasing way too many balls out of the zone and taking too many strikes.  Every game each pitcher has the same game plan against Davis…throw breaking ball after breaking ball and fastballs out of the zone.  Everyone sees the problem, but I don’t see him making the adjustment to correct it.  Davis needs to get comfortable at the plate and work on swinging at good pitches that he can drive, rather than swinging at the ones in the dirt.

But Mets fans, it’s not all doom and gloom.  As we saw last year, the first half of the season for Ike was pretty hard to watch, but he turned it into a very good season belting 32 HR and 90 RBI.  I expect, after seeing him the last few years, he will be a slow starter throughout his career just like Mark Texeira and turn it on as the season continues. Hopefully, he can figure it out sooner rather than later and become the player that the Mets know he can be, a power threat, run producer.

Jerry Elsing is a New York Mets writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @ j_els22, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google

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