Saturday, September 1, 2012
Ike's power starting to show
By Walter Villa
MIAMI -- After a brutal first couple of months, Ike Davis has rebounded to rank sixth in Mets history for single-season home runs by a first baseman.
Davis trails the fifth-ranking slugger on that list, Mo Vaughn, by one. Vaughn hit 26 in 2002.
It’s also the first time since Carlos Delgado in 2008 that the Mets have had a first baseman hit 20-plus homers in a season. Delgado hit .271 with 38 homers and 115 RBI that year, so Davis is not really in his class, at least not yet.
But Davis is only 25, and with a month to play has posted some strong power numbers, including 74 RBI. His batting average of .224 is low, but that’s what happens when you slump as bad as he did the first two months of the season.
“I think Ike has responded to the patience the organization had in him at the very start,” Mets manager Terry Collins said. “We all knew he had power. We all know he is a good defender.
“He’s had a very good second half -- his power numbers speak for themselves. We need to look at how to get him off to a better start next year so those numbers improve.”
Collins said he thought Davis’ medical condition, called Valley Fever, hurt him.
“He really didn’t get the number of at-bats in spring training we had hoped for,” Collins said. “The only way you could have gotten him ready after all the games he missed the previous year was to get him a lot of work in spring training, and we just weren’t able to do that.”
Davis still needs to be monitored for Valley Fever, Collins said, but the fact that he has played 120-plus games this year shows that it hasn’t affected his ability to play games.
Collins also said that Davis must continue to improve against left-handed pitchers, especially this month, when the rosters expand and virtually every team adds at least one lefty reliever.
Davis is hitting .179 with seven homers in 145 at-bats against lefties and .247 with 18 homers in 283 at-bats vs. right-handers.
“If he gets going against left-handed pitching,” Collins said, “it will change the whole dynamic of our lineup.”