The average baseball fan will look at the Mets boxscore from last night and assume all is well with Ike Davis after his month long demotion to AAA Las Vegas. However, those who watched the game, including Mets broadcaster Keith Hernandez, may have seen a different picture than the boxscore depicted.
The story that the boxscore will portray is this: a 3-5 effort with two RBI and a walk. It was his first three hit game of the year and only the seventh time all year that he had more than one hit in a game. His average skyrocketed 23 points with the breakout game and all is now well for the big left hander, who was hitting cleanup behind David Wright in his first game back.
If you watched the game and had watched Ike before his demotion, you would think nothing has changed. His first hit was more or less a swinging bunt that was a byproduct of the “lefty power hitter shift.” His next two hits were line drives that ended in right field but the second one was a ball that Ricky Weeks “O-leyed” like he was Roger Dorn. Even Hernandez commented on how Davis was still opening up his front shoulder and out in front on pitches he should be driving to left field.
It’s great to see Davis have a good game, and Mets fans understand how important he could be to their lineup if can show more consistency. However, after watching his first game, it is hard to figure out what exactly he fixed while in Las Vegas. His swing looked the same (including the hitch with his hands which is becoming Davis’ trademark) and one has to ask; is 75 at bats enough to fix the flaws that were besting Davis in his first 55 games of the year?
The biggest reason Davis should have stayed in the minors is because his replacement Josh Satin was the hottest hitter on a somewhat resurgent Mets team. The team enjoyed a better record during Davis’ month long absence and Satin had a lot to do with that. The seemingly non-changed Davis swing and the better production from the Mets and their first base position is why bringing Ike back right now is a mistake.
The Mets were 9-7 after Satin’s first start on June 18 and 12-12 since Davis got sent down on June 10. Satin was batting .353 with one homerun, seven RBI and 18 hits in 51 at bats. Entering Friday’s 12-5 win over the Brewers, Satin had a 10-game hitting streak in which he was hitting .375 as well as a 15-game on-base streak that helped him to a .468 on base percentage in just 18 games.
Now, Satin will have no choice but to cool off as his playing time gets decreased and the Mets will rely on Davis to come back and be productive right away.
In AAA, Davis was hitting .293 with 7 homeruns and 13 RBI. The same excuse that was made for Zack Wheeler’s not so spectacular numbers in Las Vegas (thin air, hitters park), are now the exact excuses the Mets are using to justify Davis’ recall.
What the Mets should have done is take their time with Davis and really let him fix the kinks before throwing him in against major league pitching. There is no point to rush him back especially since the team was playing better without him. If Davis is a building block to their future, they need to take time to evaluate that before moving forward. This is now the second year in a row in which Davis saw his average well below .200 by the halfway point of the season. Hitting .220 is simply not good enough and the Mets need to figure out if Davis can provide both average and pop as they look to build a contender in the years to come.
GM Sandy Alderson has referred to Davis as a “core player” when he has refrained from saying the same thing about other young guys who have struggled like Ruben Tejada and Luca Duda. Satin was also never seen as a “core player” but he has forced the Mets hand in keeping him with the big league club.
However, Satin’s value will suffer now that he is not playing, and we may never really see what he could have been. If the Mets didn’t see him in their future, a team would have been willing to trade for the 28-year old righty before this year’s Trade Deadline if he continued to show some promise.
Unfortunately for Satin, he may never be more than a career minor leaguer whose chance at success was cut short. Satin was a feel good story that made everyone feel good with the exception of Ike Davis. What Davis is hoping to do is to come back strong and make Josh Satin nothing more than a trivia answer in the future.
“Who was the guy who replaced Ike Davis during his demotion in 2013?” People may not be able to remember the name Josh Satin in a few years and that’s only because the Mets are bringing Davis back too soon.
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