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Reasons to Like Ike

Posted By Howard Megdal On August 27, 2012 @ 10:27 am In Today's Mets headlines | Comments Disabled

Selective endpoints, and small sample sizes, are both dangerous when used to project players.

Rico Brogna had an OPS+ of 158 in 138 plate appearances back in 1994. He’d never top 119 in his career. Carl Everett put up an .855 OPS from August 2 on back in 1995; his 1996 OPS was .633.

But sometimes, statistical fluctuations are more than just that, and reflect a changing reality. There’s reason to think that with Ike Davis, and for the better.

Davis broke in back in 2010, and put up a respectable .791 OPS in his first full season. In 2011, he got off to a fantastic start, with an OPS of .925 before a collision with David Wright cost him his 2011 season.

I argued heading into 2012 that assuming Davis would simply resume his All Star ways immediately was optimistic in the extreme, given that he missed nearly a full season in 2011, and had a Valley Fever issue to deal with. And even with two home runs yesterday, Davis has just a 103 OPS+ for the season, which is adequate for first base, but barely so.

Take a look at two segments of Davis’ season, however:

Ike Davis, April 5-June 8: .507 OPS

Ike Davis, June 9-August 26: .929 OPS

In other words, Davis has been every bit the budding All Star he appeared to be back in 2011, and for nearly three months. Generally, this kind of fluctuation would be a sign that Davis is simply capable of large swings in performance. But remember, both the collision and the Valley Fever were pretty random events; absent that injury and recovery time the Davis story is one of fairly straightforward development.

There’s been some discussion of whether the Mets should keep Ike Davis at first base, or trade him to make room for Lucas Duda. Unless a team is willing to give up a lot more for Davis, that doesn’t seem like much of a question to me.

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