Ike Davis’ Struggles Extend Beyond the Ks

I could dedicate an entire post to Ike Davis’ miserable .169 batting average, or maybe his .315 slugging percentage. The fact that he has hit just four homers and driven in eight runs through 25 games is alarming too, but those are things we’re all made well aware of each day. He’s recorded 15 hits, and we’ve now entered the month of May.

Even the 195-strikeout pace Davis is on wouldn’t be as excruciating if the 26-year-old would demonstrate a hint of humility after getting punched out time after time.

But that’s the issue. He hasn’t. Through his four MLB campaigns, Davis seems to believe he’s entitled to borderline calls at the plate, which—for better or worse—are not given to players in their early 20s all that often. Although there is a way to eradicate that unwritten rule: to get on the umpiring crew’s good side. MLB Etiquette 101.

Either Ike isn’t aware of that, or believes he can complain his way to the benefit of the doubt. Four seasons, 364 games, and nearly 1,500 plate appearances into his Major League career, and Davis still can’t grasp the very simple concept of taking his lumps and sitting down quietly. This, unfortunately, is what deserves an entire post.

Davis has been prone to strikeouts over his career—that cat was let ouf the bag years ago. But it’s never been more apparent than in 2013. His strikeout percentage is up around 30 percent (chart via Fangraphs), which is more than five percent higher than in any prior season.

Through April 28, eight of Of Davis’ 26 Ks in 2013 have been punchouts. That equates to 31 percent of his strikeouts coming with the bat on his shoulder, which is a five percent increase from 2012 and seven percent higher than the league average.

I broke down the tape of those eight backwards-Ks, and found that Ike did his very best to show up the home plate ump on six of the eight strike-three calls. That comes out to a 75 percent Ike-Davis-Being-Immature rating—yeah, you can call me a sabermagician.

Note: One GIF from 4/10 vs. PHI was lost in the heat of battle :(. Davis has also struck out looking twice since 4/28 that I haven’t been able to retrieve video from. With or without the missing clips, the point still stands. Ike won’t be getting the close ones any time soon.

Included are strikezone plots for corresponding at-bats from Brooks Baseball.

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I hate to exert this much energy ranting against Ike, because I’ve been on his side of the Keep-Davis-or-Keep-Duda argument all along. His second-half numbers from 2012 were downright scary, and I didn’t think it was outrageous to expect the ball to continue rolling in that direction in 2013. Perhaps I was wrong.

The point here is that sometimes Davis has a legit gripe with the home plate ump. But acting out like a spoiled child leaving the toy store empty handed isn’t exactly the way to present an argument to said umpire (a grown man).

It’s an issue that Davis was approached about as early as 2010 as a rookie. Nearly three years later, it’s still an issue.

Ike’s struggles during his ABs are one issue—and don’t be mistaken, they’re plentiful—but its the lack of judgement after them that are especially concerning as he transitions from a precocious neophyte to a whiny veteran.

Follow me on Twitter at @JSDorn6.

Stats and graphics obtained from Baseball-Reference, Fangraphs, and Brooks Baseball.

So far, so good.

Two games, two wins. Can’t really get much better than that.

While two games is certainly a small sample size, the Mets have impressed in their first couple matchups vs. Atlanta, with two straight wins. Their 1-0 Opening Day victory was followed up by a 4-2 Saturday afternoon win vs. the Braves. Saturday provided a burst of offense, with three home runs (one for David Wright, two for Lucas Duda) and four runs. R.A. Dickey threw a solid 6 innings, allowing only two runs on a home run to Martin Prado. That homer has been the only blemish on the Mets’ pitching staff record thus far.

David Wright is swinging a hot bat to start 2012, with a 3-5 effort on Saturday after a two hit performance on Opening Day. His approach seems to be to the opposite field, which is a sight Mets fans sorely missed. His home run in the first inning of Saturday’s win was hit into the bullpen in right center field, which is imperative for Wright. When he’s hitting the ball the opposite way, Wright can be unstoppable offensively. The Mets and their fans are hoping to see this approach from their All-Star third baseman all year long.

Lucas Duda also impressed offensively Saturday versus Atlanta. Duda went yard twice, including the first home run that cleared Citi Field’s new fence that wouldn’t have cleared the old one. Duda seems as if he’s primed for a huge season, and the league will take notice soon. Someone with Duda’s power will not go unnoticed for very long.

The Mets’ offense has not been the only big time positive  so far in 2012. Their bullpen, which struggled in Spring Training, has been spectacular thus far. Ramon Ramirez, Tim Byrdak, Jon Rauch, Bobby Parnell, and Frank Francisco have all been in action the first two games, and no one has given up any runs. For all the talk about the struggles the bullpen would have, (myself included…sorry Frank) everyone has been wonderful so far. Heck, he’s 2/2 on save opportunities this season. That’s two more saves than any other closer in New York has. Just. sayin’.

Santana and Dickey were also impressive in their starts, and we’ll break down the entire rotation later this week once everyone has had their turn.

So two games down, 160 games to go. We’re  not saying the Mets are gonna keep this pace up, (I think it’d be a little much to expect a perfect season) but in their first two games, they have shown the league and their fans that they aren’t going to lay down and die just because they’re expected to.

The Mets will go for the sweep tomorrow afternoon against Atlanta at 1:00 at Citi Field. Jonathan Niese gets the nod against Mike Minor and the Braves.