Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Is Ike Davis This Year's Dan Uggla?

Over the first two months of the season, Ike Davis stunk more than a zombie wearing limburger cheese cologne.  Through June 8, the Mets' first baseman was hitting .158 (29-for-183), with a .234 on-base percentage and .273 slugging percentage.  Just how bad are those numbers?  In 113 plate appearances, former Mets pitcher Jason Isringhausen had higher career numbers as a Met in all three categories (.196/.238/.299).  Yeah.  Davis was that bad.

But Davis isn't the only National League East infielder to struggle for an extended period of time over the past couple of seasons.  Anyone remember Dan Uggla's start with Atlanta last season?

Through games of July 4 last year, Uggla was hitting .173 (55-for-318), with a .241 on-base percentage and .327 slugging percentage.  Then he embarked on one of the most unexpected long hitting streaks in baseball history.  After his poor start, Uggla hit in 33 consecutive games.  From July 5 to August 13, Uggla batted .377 (49-for-130).  The Braves' second baseman reached base at a .438 clip and slugged .762.  Over the skein, Uggla also displayed tremendous power and drove in nearly a run per game (15 HR, 32 RBI).

That brings us back to Ike Davis.  After slugging the go-ahead grand slam last night against the Baltimore Orioles, Davis is currently riding a nine-game hitting streak.  In those nine games, Davis is smoking the ball at a .462 clip (12-for-26).  Davis also owns a .576 on-base percentage and .769 slugging percentage since June 8, driving in 11 runs over the nine games.  More importantly, he has shown better plate discipline, fanning a mere five times while drawing seven walks.  (Prior to his hot streak, Davis had struck out 59 times as opposed to 18 walks.)  This was not the case with Uggla during his streak in 2011, as he struck out 27 times but only drew a dozen walks over his 33-game bat-a-thon.

The Mets have been able to remain competitive in the NL East with their strong starting pitching and a tremendous ability to drive in runs with two outs.  But prior to June 8, they were playing winning baseball without a significant offensive contribution from Ike Davis.  That was then.  This is now.  And now is the time that Ike Davis is getting as hot as Dan Uggla was last summer.

The summer heat will arrive tomorrow in New York.  But Ike Davis has shown signs of heating up for over a week now.  The Mets will need Davis to continue his recent production at the plate if they're going to avoid melting this summer as they have over the past few seasons. 

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