Mets Spring Training Question 21: Ike Davis
With 21 Days Until Pitchers and Molinas report to spring training, let’s go through the Mets most burning 21 questions that need to be resolved before Opening Day — addressing one question at a time.
Today’s question is: how will Ike Davis perform after his ankle injury, and what happens if he has yet another setback — who will play first base?
Remember, there was talk of Davis needing microfracture surgery last summer, but by September it was decided that his ankle could heal without it. I’m not going to suggest it was the wrong decision, but I am also not going to take for granted that Davis will be 100% healthy when he reports to Port St. Lucie in a few weeks. Your memory, Adam Rubin, and Matthew Callan of Amazin’ Avenue know better than to trust anything from the Mets that is medically related.
Personally, my fingers are crossed that Davis comes back without any issues whatsoever, and I’m hoping for the best. But, one has to believe that there will be some kind of downgrade in performance — at the very least, more limited mobility in the field and/or decrease in Ike’s already slow running speed. If that’s the worst of his problems, it won’t be a big deal, since a slugging first baseman doesn’t need to run fast and doesn’t need to have Ozzie Smith -like range in the field. However, the feet do play a role in hitting, so we’ll have to keep an eye on Ike’s swing mechanics.
Now, what about the worst-case scenario — that Ike has a setback and needs to miss some or all of the 2012 season? Who then becomes the Mets first baseman? Does Daniel Murphy get pulled out of the second base experiment for the third straight year? If so, who takes over at 2B — Justin Turner, Ronny Cedeno, or someone else? What if Ike’s setback is only temporary — does it make sense to move Murphy there, only to move him back to 2B, and in turn miss crucial development time? Or does it make more sense to move Lucas Duda to 1B — which then creates a hole in right field?
There it is, question #21 … discuss …
“Matthew Callan at Amazin’ Avenue has you covered for the journalismism bit of it—i.e., why are some of these stories coming out now for the first time.”
Telling point. First time. Ridiculous. But, this is a long time beef for me generally, not just regarding sports journalism. Some things seem to be, at times rightly so (that is, sometimes the assumptions are wrong, but sometimes quite right), just not talked about enough by the media. Some blogs focus on political matters. But, it is not just limited there.
I’d love to see if Reese Havens can come up and stay healthy and see what he can do for a full year. Murphy to first, Havens to second. If Havens can’t stay healthy, keep Murphy at second and put Duda at first. Kirk Nieuwenhuis, hopefully, would be ready to go sometime this season and seems to me outfielders are a little easier to find then second basemen.
Murph and Duda would, of course, be better served by playing one position all year, but let’s be honest, neither is going to have to clear space on their mantle for a Gold Glove trophy, so if they put off learning second or right respectively for a year, so be it.
I assume his patience/power combo will eventually get him going, but don’t expect a high average (too many Ks) and don’t expect the Citi walls to add HRs (when he hits ’em, they’re out anywhere, so the old dimensions never robbed him). I think he’ll be a good hitter overall, but he may be just average for a 1B.
When Ike’s hot, hitting him behind Wright would be good for David, who seems to do his worst when he feels like he’s supposed to be The Man.
At first base, Ike will stay tall and stretchy, but his mediocre quickness is probably going to go all the way down to poor. You need good feet and legs for sudden, explosive reactions. I’m expecting a lot of balls to go by him this year.
On the bases, I think that’s the biggest unknown. Will Ike be merely slow, or Bengie Molina slow? If he’s on first and the batter hits a gapper that rolls to the wall, will Ike barely make it home, or barely make it to 3rd?