Monday, April 19, 2010

Ike-aramba! Mets Promote Davis To The Big Show

When Daniel Murphy was injured in Spring Training, the Mets could have turned to top first base prospect Ike Davis to replace him. After all, Davis was hitting an eye-popping .480 with 3 HR and 10 RBI in Grapefruit League action.

Instead, the Mets sent the 23-year-old Davis to Buffalo and decided to go with the platoon of Mike Jacobs and Fernando Tatis. After all, Ike had never played a professional game above the AA level and the Mets' front office believed he could use some extra minor-league seasoning.

Then the Mets got off to a rocky start, going 4-8 over their first 12 games and bringing up the rear in the National League East. The team was hitting a miserable .224 over those twelve games and had produced only nine home runs and a league-low 15 doubles.

The Jacobs/Tatis platoon contributed greatly to the early-season swoon. In 24 at-bats, Fernando Tatis had produced a mere four hits (.167 average), with only one double, no homers and three runs batted in. Mike Jacobs was not much better, as his 24 at-bats yielded five hits (.208 average), with one double, one homer and two RBI.

At the same time, Ike Davis was off to a torrid start at AAA-Buffalo. In 10 games for the Bisons, Davis was hitting .364 with three doubles, two homers and four RBI. He had also drawn nine walks while striking out only five times. His .500 on-base percentage was tied for first in the International League.

Dead Manuel Walking and the Mets' front office knew that a change had to made at first base if they were going to turn things around offensively. Step one was to designate Mike Jacobs for assignment. Step two happened tonight, as the Mets promoted Ike Davis to the major leagues.

With Davis, the Mets may have their first baseman of the future. Davis' father and the SNY crew have compared him to John Olerud, the man who anchored the infield that was arguably the greatest defensive infield ever assembled. Olerud was also a steady hitter, averaging 36 doubles, 21 HR, 97 RBI and a .315 batting average (including the Mets' all-time single season high of .354 in 1998) over his three years with the Mets.

In 677 at-bats in the minors (roughly the equivalent of one full major league season), Davis hit .288, with 49 doubles, 22 HR and 92 RBI. Therefore, the comparisons to the sweet-swinging Olerud are right on target.

The team has already stated that Davis is here to play every day. If he continues to perform at the major league level similarly to the way he was performing in the minors, Davis might be here to stay. He is not expected to be the savior of the franchise, but he is expected to be an improvement over Tatis, Jacobs and perhaps even Murphy.

Welcome to the Big Show, Ike Davis. Now it's up to you to prove to the fans and upper management that you belong here.

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