I’ve been wrestling with this idea in my head for a while now. The idea of sending Ike Davis down to Triple-A Buffalo to find his swing.
I have been very hesitant to decide on anything up until this point, but now I think it’s tim the Mets made the move.
Ike is struggling, and I mean really struggling, hitting .174 for the year, including .147 in 34 at-bats in May so far. He’s never slumped like this before. He had huge expectations coming into this season, with many people talking about 30-40 home runs for him, but now that seems really unlikely and a huge stretch. At this point, I’d be perfectly happy with him hitting .260 with 20 homers. But Davis can’t do that until he fixes his swing.
Ike has to find what made him so successful in the five weeks he spent healthy last year. He went on a tear to start the season, hitting seven homers while driving in 25 and hitting .302 in 36 games before going down with a season-ending injury. What has slowed him down this season, in my mind, has been his plate discipline. He is swinging at every outside curveball thrown to him. His walk rate is down to almost half of what it used to be. He just can’t seem to find it at the plate.
A similar thing happened to Cliff Lee in 2007 with the Indians. Of course, Lee is a pitcher, so it is a little different, but it still relates. In 2007, Lee started the year 5-8 with a 6.38 ERA. He was very inconsistent with his mechanics and was sent down to the minors to refine his mechanics. Now, this wasn’t some rookie being sent down. This was an established pitcher, who had won 18 games two years prior, but he just could not stop walking people. After ten starts in the minors, Lee was recalled and resumed his role as a starting pitcher in 2008. That year, he went 22-3 with a 2.54 ERA, winning the Cy Young Award. Lee hasn’t looked back since. He is 65-34 since then and has established himself as one of the best pitchers in the game today. This just shows that it can work, even with players who have already had success on the big league level.
This is definitely a move Terry Collins and Sandy Alderson should at least consider. Will it work for Ike? I don’t know. Every player would handle this type of situation differently. Some would be angry, while others would be humbled and use the opportunity to their advantage. The option should at least be explored and discussed. Who knows? Maybe a minor league stint would make Davis the premier slugger that he has the potential to be.