It seems almost inevitable at this point. After going 0-for-4 with four strikeouts Friday, Ike Davis is hitting .143/.230/.238 with four homers and 53 strikeouts, or whiffs in 32% of his plate appearances. He’s 1-for-his-last-42. Among all qualified hitters in Fangraphs rate-stat wRC+ plus, Ike Davis has been the third-worst player in baseball with enough plate appearances to qualify for a batting title, ahead of only Jeff Keppinger and Danny Espinosa. He is not hitting like a major league first baseman or even a major leaguer of any stripe.
TC Comes Around
– It sounded like manager Terry Collins is now very open to the idea of sending Davis down to the minors. When asked how long the Mets could keep Davis in the big leagues, Collins responded, “I’m not sure… Some of the decision has to be what’s best for Ike Davis, because you’ve got to still look in the long term. And this guy is too big a piece of our offensive puzzle to continue to struggle like he’s struggling, because we need him….”
…But Do Not Expect a Miracle
– At the Wall Street Journal, Michael Salfino points out that if the Mets demote Davis, it will be a “history-making move: No team since at least 1993 has demoted a player to the minors the year after a 30-home run season.” Salfino expands the sample run through the grim history of guys who have been send down to the minors after a 20-home run season to find that Carlos Pena is the best recent bounce-back example. That should be very scary to the Mets.
-Ike’s Stance adjustment.
Ike in ’10-’11
It’s easy to pay too much attention to batting stances. They’re very visible because the batter is essentially waiting on the pitcher. The important thing about a stance is that 1. a batter is comfortable, 2. it’s repeatable and 3. most importantly, the batter gets himself into a good hitting position on time when the ball is ~30 feet from home plate.
Meanwhile, A Replacement Emerges?
Friday, in AAA, Wilmer Flores played his second game of the year at first base after 36 games at second and one at third. This is not a coincidence. The 21-year old Flores is hitting .270/.321/.437 in Vegas with 19 extra-base hits (9.7%), 14 (7.2%) walks and 21 strikeouts (10.8%) in 45 games. Those are not numbers that scream call up now. Still, getting Flores repetitions at first now seems extremely prudent. If his bat becomes ready this year, it looks like the Mets might need help at first. Davis had trouble against lefties, even when he was productive overall. In 414 PA for his career, he’s a .209/.271/.347 hitter vs. LHP. Even if Davis can fix himself, he really should have a platoon partner.
For what it’s worth, Flores has hit lefties well, and especially so in the high minors. This year, he’s bashing south-paws at a .344/.389/.609 rate in 72 PA vs. LHP in AAA with 10 XBH, six walks and five strikeouts. Against lefties in AA last year, he hit .324/.383/.541 in 82 PA.