Ike Davis‘ 2012 season can be summed up in just one word: inconsistent. Fans had high hopes for Davis, who many thought could rise to stardom last year. Two months in, however, people started to question whether Davis should even be on the team, as his batting average struggled to even approach .200.
Later in the season, Davis picked up the production, and his batting average gradually rose above .200. And with the hits, came the home runs. In April and May, Davis combined for just five home runs. The rest of the way, he hit 27, including nine in the month of July.
Davis was inconsistent, but overall much better after June 1, as shown by his numbers.
You can clearly see a huge difference between the Ike Davis of April and May and the Davis of the last four months of the year. He looked like a minor league player, and then all of a sudden, one of the best power hitters in the National League. His ISO (which measures a player’s raw power) of .283 from June 1 on would have been third in all of baseball had he kept that up for an entire season.
Obviously, the number one question about this huge swing that Davis went through was why. The first few months, Davis was swinging at way too many pitches, becoming too predictable and striking out at an alarmingly-high rate. He couldn’t touch (or lay off) an outside breaking ball. In June, July, and onward, he became more patient, bringing his strikeout rate to a tolerable level and raising his walk rate to a well above-average level. The other contributing factor was probably the Valley Fever that Davis came down with last offseason. He said early on that he wasn’t feeling symptoms, but fatigue from Valley Fever may have been a factor in his slow start.
Before I make my projection, let’s take a look at some of the other projections that have been made for Davis so far. ZiPS (a very conservative computer projection system) has him posting a .245/.328/.453 slash line with 21 home runs and a .208 ISO. One thing to remember, however, is that ZiPS does not take into account injuries (or sickness).
The projections made by Bill James were much different than ZiPS. James predicts that Davis will have a very good season, knocking 31 homers with a slash line of .266/.354/.511 and .245 ISO. Clearly James likes what he saw during the second half of the 2012 season.
Like James, I’m very optimistic about Davis in 2013. Now that the Valley Fever situation has passed, he should have a much better season this year. Hopefully, he learned from his mistakes last year (clearly he did based on his last four months) and will not repeat them this season. The key for Davis will be his patience. If that is there, everything else will fall into place.
.260/.345/.500, 33 HR, 90 RBI, 3.7 WAR