This morning, Michael Baron tweeted a photo collage he created with a caption citing Ike Davis’ three-run home run in June against Tampa Bay was the turning point in his season. We all know Davis had a putrid first half. Was it the Valley fever, the ankle injury, or missing nearly a full year? No one really knew the answer; but the Mets stuck with their promising young first baseman and were rewarded with an All-Star caliber second half of the season. No one really analyzed which game or hit jump-started Davis, but using Baron’s date, I found these results.
David got off to a slower than slow start batting .141 over his first 20 games and a .268 slugging percentage. He also spent all over April, May and June under the Mendoza line. In the 58 games Davis played from Opening Day until June 10th, he hit .167 with 5 home runs and 22 RBI. Even worse, the Opening Day cleanup hitter slugged .285 and had an on-base percentage .248 and had more than double the amount of strikeouts (59) than walks (20). One stat I like to look at is “Runs Added” - which takes into account how many outs and runners on base. In the first half it seemed Davis struck out in every big situation which contributed to a minus 17.4 runs added. There was frequent talk of sending Davis down to the minors to find his stroke; and even got to the point of Lucas Duda taking ground balls at first before games.
However, one swing of the bat seemed to change all that. In the seventh inning of a game the Mets were already leading 6-2, Davis unloaded on J.P. Howell for a three-run bomb. From that moment on, Ike Davis’ season did a complete-180 and gave Mets’ fans something to look forward to next season. Davis’ final 98 games featured a .261 batting average with 27 home runs and 68 RBI. His on-base percentage was .341 and he slugged .562. Davis also went from striking out in 31.7% of his at bats to only striking out 24.6% of his time up. More importantly, his “Runs Added” from June 12th to the end of the season was 19.64 runs added.
Below is a chart of Ike Davis’ splits extrapolated to 162 games:
Was this the point that Ike Davis finally got his feet back under him after a missing a year? Possibly. But if Davis can give the Mets for a full year what he gave them in the second half, they have found another cornerstone piece to build around for the next six years.
Photo courtesy of Michael Baron (@michaelgbaron)