It’s no secret that New York Mets first baseman Ike Davis has been forced to endure a profound slump over the first two months of the season, with no end in sight. For the second straight season, Davis is having all kinds of trouble getting going with the bat. But as awful as Davis has been at the plate this year, are the Mets somehow to blame for his struggles?
Davis got to the big leagues in a hurry, making his MLB debut just a couple weeks into the 2010 season after being drafted in 2008, spending barely a year and a half in the minor leagues. After his rookie year in 2010, Davis missed most of 2011 season due to injury after a promising start, and has been in a slump ever since, despite ending up with 32 home runs last year. Is it possible that a lack of experience, including a lack of seasoning in the minor leagues, is a factor in Davis going through such prolonged slumps?
Davis spent so little time in the minors and had so much success during that time that he never learned how to deal with a slump during his professional career before he got to the big leagues. He had just 240 at bats in the upper levels of the minor leagues being making his big league debut, which is no where close to the number of at bats major league teams prefer their prospects to have before considering them for promotion to the big leagues.
Part of the minor league experience is dealing with adversity and learning to make adjustments, but Davis never had to do that. The Mets didn’t keep him in the minors long enough to be challenged, struggle, make adjustments, and then experience success because of those adjustments, and now that may be coming back to haunt them, as Davis didn’t know what to do when he got off to such a slow start in 2012, and his slump lasted the entire first half of the season. Now things are repeating themselves in 2013, likely for the same reasons.
In the Mets defense, at the time they promoted Davis there was a vacant hole at first base that needed to be filled, so they didn’t have much of a choice but to promote their top prospect at the time. But while he appeared ready for the big leagues, Davis never learned how to deal with failure in the minor leagues, and that may be a contributing factor in his inability to break out of slumps both this year and last year.
The Mets have considered sending him back to the minors both last year and this year, ultimately deciding against it on both occasions. Even if they had, at this point it’s too late for such a move to help. A demotion to the minors would be more of a punishment than a way to fix things.
Davis never learned how to break out of a slump in the minors and now he’s forced to learn how in the big leagues, and for that the Mets are to blame for the extended slumps Davis has experienced in his career, including the current one.