Scouting Mets Prospect #4: Ike Davis

Questions hovered over Ike Davis after a disappointing rookie season in 2008. Davis washed away the questions with a breakout sophomore season. A strong showing in St. Lucie was followed by an even better performance in Double-A and a confidence building stint in the Arizona Fall League. Now, Davis is looked upon as a long term answer at first base. Can he get there? Look inside to find out.

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Vital Statistics
Name: Ike Davis
DOB: March 22, 1987
Height: 6'5"
Weight: 200
Bats: Left
Throws: Left
Status: 1st Round (2008) – Arizona State

"I was just glad to come out this year and finish a full season, play 140 games while improving from last year every step of the way. I think I just got my feet wet in the full season and made something happen with it," first baseman Ike Davis described about his second season in the Mets organization.

"I had a lot more confidence this season and having more time in pro ball definitely made a big difference, he continued. "I became accustomed to the life of it and the little things I learned about how to stay focused within my game made a big difference. I felt like I was the same player from last year but I did a better job of executing and being consistent."

Davis put that confidence into action right at the start of the season and showed that a disappointing first season was not only behind him, but an aberration. It was expected Davis would move up to Double-A midway through the season, but he made the decision easier when he hit .288 with seven home runs and 28 RBI in 58 games in High-A.

"I knew I had a lot better play in me than I showed and I just wanted to come out this year and prove to myself that I am a better player," said Davis. "I was hitting the ball hard and spraying the ball all over the place but I really wasn't driving the ball and driving the ball out of the yard. I was hitting some doubles, but I figured out some more of my approach which turned more of those doubles into home runs."

Changes in his swing, specifically the raising of his hands in his stance, helped him get more of his hands and wrists involved in the swing. That generated more power, loft and eventually increased his home run numbers which jumped when he arrived in Binghamton.

It took a couple of weeks for Davis to find his rhythm, but when he did, to say he got on a roll is an understatement. In the final 34 of his 55 games in Double-A, Davis hit .341 (.309 overall) with ten home runs (13 total) and 28 RBI (43 total). He acknowledged that he tried too hard at times during his time with Brooklyn, but it was different in Binghamton as he kept things simple.

"It was the same game for me. The league was different because the pitchers had better control, the strike zone was a little smaller, but I didn't need to try and do too much," said Davis. "I just want to play loose and let my ability play out."

Davis brought his hot bat to the Arizona Fall League where he was one of the standouts. In 21 games, the first baseman hit .341 with four home runs, 16 RBI and 13 runs scored. For a player whose stock rose significantly with his regular season performance, his fall league showing is a catapult into 2010.

"I didn't really set goals this year, but I did want to have a better approach and improve every step of the way. In the end, I did what I wanted to offensive and put up some numbers that I wanted to," Davis closed. "Overall, I'm pretty happy about the season and there's not much else I feel like I could have done in my first full season. I think it sets up me for next year."

Year

Team

AVG.

AB

Hits

HR

RBI

R

SB

BB

K

OBP

SLG

2009

Binghamton

.309

207

64

13

43

30

0

26

60

.386

.565

2009

St. Lucie

.288

222

64

7

28

28

0

31

52

.376

.486

2008

Brooklyn

.256

215

55

0

17

17

0

23

43

.326

.326



Batting and Power: The most positive development of Davis' season was the emergence of his home run power. It was there in 2008 even though he did not hit any home runs with Brooklyn. Previously, Davis held his hands down by his letters. In 2009, Davis brought his hands close to shoulder which provided him more bat control in his hands and wrists, and better finish through his swing. Davis hits heavily to the pull side and looks for the pitch on the inner half. There is a lot going on his swing, including a bat waggle that serves as a timing mechanism.

Nevertheless, he has plus bat speed and makes consistent, solid contact. His swing adjustment led to more loft and brought his home run power to fruition to back up his excellent line drive power. He is more of a high ball hitter and has some difficult getting the bat on the ball down in the strike zone. Nevertheless, Davis is a plus contact hitter with home run power that should play at the highest level.

Base Running and Speed: Davis is an average runner with solid athleticism and good base running acumen. He knows his limitations and rarely goes beyond them. He will attempt to steal only when instructed to, which is still rarely, yet will not take up space on the base paths.

Defense: Davis is a very strong defender who could grow into a plus first baseman in the future. He has good footwork and adeptly plays the bag. He reads ground balls very well, and receives with them with soft hands. He smoothly picks the ball, and is able to save throws in the dirt with the length to enlarge the target area for infielders. He has very good arm strength and accuracy to the bases. His arm plus and his footwork make him very accurate when throwing to bases.

Projection: As expected in last year's report, Davis' 2008 numbers proved to be meaningless. His turn around, which can be largely attributed to changes in his swing, has confirmed Davis as a leading prospect and one who the Mets will turn to as their solution at first base barring a big league acquisition. Davis' contact stroke will play to success at the higher level and with size to add to his frame, his power should be even more consistent as he moves up. Given his line drive swing and the large dimensions of Citi Field, his home runs totals may be average for big league first baseman, but his bat will lead to a good average and good pop. Davis should hold down first base with big league average run production and above average defense.

ETA: 2010. Davis would benefit from another full year in the minors. However, a promotion before or after September 1 cannot be ruled out if a roster spot opens up or he simply hits the cover off the ball in Triple-A. By late summer, a strong season from Davis should entice the Mets to get a peek at Davis' ability in the big league setting.

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