Did you see this home run by Ike Davis? Go ahead and watch, I’ll wait.
There, now wasn’t that fun?
I wrote a story yesterday about how the Mets have allowed Amway to open a storefront at Citi Field. Look, don’t go in. You’ll almost certainly lose money. It’s pretty repulsive that the Mets have chosen to let their dwindling fan base become patsies for a pyramid scheme.
Let’s not think about it.
Instead, let’s talk about Ike Davis, who represents the single likeliest breakout performance of anyone on the roster.
Davis managed a pretty good year last year, period. He hit 32 home runs, posted a respectable 110 OPS+, and played a slightly below average first base.
But as we know, his season just can’t be taken in isolation. I am suspect of selective endpoints, but that phrase implies that a statistical snapshot is merely a function of when a player began to play better, thus removing slumps from his analysis for no real reason.
Ike Davis had Valley Fever last year. He had a reason to .158/.234/.273 over 201 plate appearances.
Now, you can conclude that this is indelibly a part of who he is, that Davis could truly be a .507 OPS hitter in the major leagues for extended periods of time, regardless of crazy fungal disease.
Personally, I don’t buy it.
Look at Davis other than the Valley Fever months. In his rookie year, 2010, he put up a .791 OPS, including .810 in the second half. In his second year, he was off to a .925 OPS start before a freak injury ended his season. Then came Valley Fever, and that .507 mark. but from June 9 through October 3, his line was .265/.347/.565, good for a .913 OPS. That would have placed him second among all first basemen last year, trailing only Prince Fielder.
So what do we have here? We have a first baseman, about to turn 26, who managed an OPS of better than .900 each chance he’s gotten to play over the last two years without a scary fungal infection. He was an elite defender in 2011-12, so we’ll have to see whether his defense slowed from Valley Fever, the bone bruise that cost him almost all of 2011, or both.
The projection systems do not allow for this, and that is understandable. For his part, Davis now acknowledges the obvious: that he was feeling the effects of Valley Fever for months.
Whatever else happens to this team, the smart money is on Ike Davis becoming an absolute star in 2013. Then again, the smart money was on him not missing months due to getting stepped on and misdiagnosed, then contracting an obscure fungal disease.
Still, if you ask me, that just means this guy is due for some good luck. And with his talent, all the luck he’ll need is good health.