The Pittsburgh Pirates have done a pretty good job at dumpster-diving in recent years. Think about the players that are on the Pirates’ roster right now: Francisco Liriano, Mark Melancon, Jason Grilli, Gaby Sanchez, Travis Snider, Ike Davis and Edinson Volquez. All of these players were acquired after poor seasons prior to joining the Pirates. Making the move to acquire Davis from the New York Mets is looking very smart now.
Since being acquired by the Pirates in April, Davis has been very good as the left-handed hitting first baseman. In 85 plate appearances, he is hitting .274/.376/.397 with six doubles and a home run. For a guy with a reputation for striking out too much, Davis has a surprisingly good approach at the plate. He sees a lot of pitches and draws a lot of walks. He is a less extreme version of Adam Dunn in a way. He doesn’t strike out as much as Dunn, he doesn’t walk as much and he doesn’t hit for as much power — but he have the same approach.
Despite the reputation for being a horrible player that he developed with the Mets, Davis’ success with his new club shouldn’t come as a huge surprise. In the second half of 2013, he was actually very good. In 138 plate appearances, Davis hit .286/.449/.505 while walking more times (32) than he punched out (28).
I believed a change of scenery would do Davis a lot of good, and so far it looks like that thought was right. The Pirates might have their starting first baseman for the next couple of years.