Jim Thome can fix Ike Davis

Jim ThomeJim Thome has 612 career home runs, and ranks 7th on the All-Time home run list. He has a career average of .276, OBP of .402, and OPS of .956. He also struck out 2,548 times. For better and for worse, this is the kind of hitter Ike Davis needs to be. The suggestion is not that Davis will overnight become a Hall of Fame hitter, but that the Mets should bring Thome in to teach him how to hit again.

With all due respect to Ike Davis, watching him hit last year was painful. There is a nice evaluation of his hitch problem online. You don’t need Keith Hernandez in the booth to tell you Davis sits down too far in his stance, draws his hands back too far, swings down and away far too much, and is late on almost everything, except breaking balls, which he swings at before it leaves the pitcher’s hand.

To counter that, Thome should come in and completely change Davis’ approach. Thome had a beautiful swing in that he stood much more upright, he leaned in to take away the inner-third of the plate, and only had a slight hitch in his draw. What Thome was able to do effectively was bring his hands more down instead of straight back, and drive the ball by staying centered and not lifting his front leg too high. Watch a slow-motion video of his last home run ever. Pitchers feared his power, and pitched around him when they had to, hence the .402 OBP.

Now some of you might be saying “But Thome struck out a lot.” Fair point, but who cares. Davis already strikes out a lot and so does the rest of the league. That is a completely separate subject, but here is a link that helps explain that problem. The Mets don’t need Davis to hit .280. They need him to hit 30 homers, and draw walks. If he can break .250, great. If his defense comes back with his hitting confidence, great! If not, he’s still probably better at first than Lucas Duda.

Davis has had a rough couple of years. Injuries, shattered confidence, a huge media market, and terrible batting habits have all betrayed Davis. I’m sure everyone and their mother on the bench, in the clubhouse, in the halls, and on the street have tried to offer advice. Davis needs one voice to drown out that cacophony of noise. To quote new Detroit closer Joe Nathan, Davis needs “the world’s nicest man” to guide him through this process, and it should begin immediately.

Thome retired from baseball at the end of the 2012 season. On July 2, 2013 he was hired as a special assistant to the general manager with the Chicago White Sox. The Mets need to pry him away for the winter and Spring Training and pay him well to be Davis’ shadow. When Sandy Koufax visits the Mets in March, he shakes a bunch of hands and passes along a tidbit or two from the vault of baseball knowledge he retains. He’s here and gone again. Thome needs to be a presence in Davis’ life starting now.  Not only will it benefit Davis to have one person focusing on his needs and approach, but Thome is just such a positive role model and genuinely caring person, that his attitude alone will be welcome sight for our beleaguered first baseman.

Let’s say for instance you hate the idea of bringing inThome, or that the Mets can’t get him for one reason or another. Fine, pick another left-handed power guy from the last 20 years who still knows the game, and get him. The caveat is that he must have a more orthodox swing for Davis to learn. Somebody, anybody has to come in and rework Davis’ approach one-on-one, because hitting coach Dave Hudgens just isn’t getting the job done with this guy. That’s not to disparage Hudgens, but one man can’t fix everyone’s problems.

In June, Bleacher Report ranked Davis as having the worst swing in the game. He’s embarrassed, and we’re embarrassed for him. There are no more excuses for him. His swing doesn’t work, and it should be thrown out completely. As it looks more and more like Davis might be with the team come spring, he should be given one very last opportunity to be the player we all thing he can be. If he needs the guidance of a future Hall of Famer, so be it. Just do something, because my eyes are starting to bleed.

7 comments for “Jim Thome can fix Ike Davis

  1. Metstheory22
    January 2, 2014 at 9:00 am

    If not Thome then one of our own, Rusty Staub. Even Keith Hernandez says learned a lot from him when he came to the Mets.

  2. Joe Vasile
    January 2, 2014 at 10:29 am

    Kind of reminds me of the mid-2000s when the team would bring in Rickey Henderson to help Jose Reyes learn how to steal bases more effectively, and the results were pretty good. I agree that if Davis could ever learn to hit consistently, he is a better option at first than Duda, and I’m a big Duda supporter. The only problem is that he hasn’t been able to outside of his rookie year in 2010, pre-leg injuy, and pre-Valley Fever.

    Just spitballing here, maybe John Olerud could help him out. Davis has natural power, so if Olerud could fix his swing (and show him and Duda a few things defensively), that might help to.

    Bonus points for working in SAT word cacaphony :).

  3. Name
    January 2, 2014 at 1:52 pm

    This implies that Davis is a willing learner, and from what i’ve seen the past two years, is far from that. He seems like a stubborn SOB who only wants to do things his way.

    • Joe Vasile
      January 2, 2014 at 5:47 pm

      I don’t know name, I’ve heard the same things, but if you look at how many different batting stances he’s used over the past few years, it shows that he’s been making some changes, they just haven’t worked out very well.

      • Name
        January 3, 2014 at 11:57 am

        I think you’re giving too much credit to him. It took him how long to do something different in 2012? and took him even longer to change something in 2013. He obviously doesn’t want to change and looks like he changes unwillingly as he changed back to his 1st half 2012 form at the start of the 2013 season.

  4. Jim OMalley
    January 2, 2014 at 7:20 pm

    Is Ike a stubborn SOB? Seems like he is very involved with charity work. Maybe too involved with Nutrilite (Amway). Is Staub doing any tutoring these days? I haven’t heard much about him lately.

  5. Kevin
    January 2, 2014 at 7:28 pm

    Is Thome going to bring his steroids when he shows up to teach Ike?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: