Player Projection No. 155 – Ike Davis

Key Stats: 31.5 – The number of HR’s Ike was on pace to hit before getting hurt in 2011. He was averaging a HR every 18 AB’s (one every five games or so). His HR to fly ball ratio was 17.1% (league average is generally around 10.6%). Ike is still a developing power hitter, which we’ll get into more later. He showed improvement in his plate discipline as well, cutting down on swinging at pitches outside the strike zone and his swinging strikes.

Skeptics Say: He is lucky. Ike played pretty much a full year as a rookie in 2010, but only made it through 36 games in 2011 before his injury made him call it quits. Breaking down his rookie season and shortened 2011:

2010: 147 Games, .264 AVG, .321 BABIP, .345 wOBA, .791 OPS, .176 ISO
2011: 36 Games,   .302 AVG, .344 BABIP, .391 wOBA, .925 OPS, .240 ISO

These show us that yes, Ike was lucky as far as his batting average goes, but the power is legit.  

Peer Comparison: To give you some perspective on how good Ike was playing when he got hurt, Justin Upton posted an ISO of .240 last year. Miguel Cabrera was at .241 and Tulo and Pujols put up an ISO of .242. His wOBA would have ranked him between Tulo and Holliday while his .925 OPS puts him right between Ellsbury and Granderson. Before we get too excited about a player that is a combination of all the guys listed above (OK, being a Mets fan, before I get too excited) I need to remind you (me) that this is only over 36 games. I would compare his rookie year to Hosmer or Freeman, but Ike was 23 when he was a rookie, they were each 21. Two years may not seem like much, but talking in terms of baseball skills development at that age it’s a big deal.

Team Outlook: If Ike is healthy and recovered from his ankle sprain there is no doubt he is the starting first baseman for the Mets in 2012. Lucas Duda, who also shows power can play first, but they had him in right field at the end of last year knowing Ike would be back. If the Mets can keep Reyes than Ike has a better chance to pile up the RBI’s in ’12 too. If the Mets can’t resign Reyes, they are looking at Angel Pagan to lead off, which he did admirably in 2010 when Reyes was hurt, but in 2011 showed us a streaky side.

Bloggers Take: Davis’ stats before his injury last season would have been worthy of top tier fantasy status had it not been for a freak injury that caused him to miss the rest of the season. Davis was hitting at a .302/.383/.543 clip in 36 games, and would have easily been the Mets best power producer. The question will linger about his injury since he and the team opted for rest instead of surgery, which means that they think that he’ll be ready for opening day. Now we know what happens when we trust  Mets’ medical staff, so do this at your own peril. But coming off a healthy season in 2010 Davis was a great bargain pick for me in round 22 last season. There’s no reason to think he’ll move up coming off the injury, and he’s a good enough hitter to grab in those later rounds as a back-up or even a utility slot. – contributed by Metsradamus from Musings and Prophecies of Metsradamus

Projection: Assuming Ike is healthy and fully recovered (he did mention this is something he is scared might plague him for the rest of his career) there is no reason to think he won’t be valuable this year in the CI or UTIL spot. As good as he is, he isn’t an everyday starting 1B for Fantasy because the position is just too flooded with talent. If Ike is afraid of the ankle being a problem forever we should be to, so he might get rested more often than your typical 1B.

.280 Avg, 27 HR, 85 RBI, 72 Runs, 2 Steals, .360 OBP, .890 OPS, 570 AB’s