Since the beginning of the 2012 season the Mets have been patient with Ike Davis’s struggles. They even kept him in the majors, allowing him to turn around his season, putting up a wRC+ of 141, offsetting his wRC+ of 79 in the first half. However, his start to this season has been nightmarish. Hitting a humbling line of .137/.236/.245, the public has expressed its discontent with Davis’s under-performance. Last week the New York Times ran a front-page article highlighting Davis’s lack of production. With a lack of effort and a lack of performance, a demotion seems likely for Ike Davis
Replacing Davis’s bat will not be the hard part at all. He’s currently one of the worst hitters in baseball, and to put things in perspective, Marco Scutaro currently has an ISO of .101, and the notoriously powerful Davis has a lower ISO of .098. Davis’s bat isn’t even succeeding at what he is known to do, which is to hit for power. Any player on the Mets could probably replace Davis’s bat.
The question really is: who can handle first base? There’s always the idea of moving Lucas Duda back to first base. However, moving Duda to first base doesn’t necessarily solve the problem at hand. First of all, Duda has worked hard since the beginning of the 2012 season to build up his outfield chops. Although Duda will never be an average outfielder, he needs to be able to play the position every day so that he is comfortable with it. It’s pointless to shift Duda around, only to move him back when Davis is ready to return.
Justin Turner is probably the best choice to take over the starting job. Turner can play all of the infield positions, so taking over first-base duties until Davis returns is not out of his realm. As far as Turner’s bat goes, it would be a significant improvement over what Davis is contributing, as he is hitting a line of .288/.324/.333. Those numbers are from a small sample of 72 plate appearances, but even ZiPs thinks Turner will be about replacement level, which is what the Mets need out of him. Since Davis’s production has been far below replacement, it seems as though Turner is the right choice to fill the void.
Turner deserves the promotion. He has proved that he cannot only man the position, but that he’s also likely to contribute offensively on a day-to-day basis. He’s done his time on the bench, and he has been flexible every day by being able to play a variety of roles for the team. It’s time he gets a chance at first base. Plus he has the coolest beard on the team. As Mets fans, let’s hope that if Turner takes over that he produces. However, let’s hope even more that some time in the minors for Ike Davis will allow him to come back hitting with vengeance.