Ike Davis announced his official retirement from professional baseball on November 6th, 2018. Prior to the announcement, Davis hadn’t played at the big league level since August 2016 and last played for the Los Angeles Dodgers’ minor league system in 2017.
Back in 2010, Davis was seen as one of the bright, young players that the New York Mets had in their minor league system, During spring training that year, he hit .480 and impressed many teammates with his defense at first base.
Ike got called up within the first month of the 2010 season and quickly became a fan favorite with his determination to catch any foul ball. The then Mets manager, Jerry Manuel, put Davis in the cleanup spot within two months of his call-up. By the All-Star break that season? Davis hit eleven home runs.
His rookie year ended up seeing him hit nineteen home runs, thirty-three doubles, fifty-three extra-base hits, a .440 slugging percentage, and seventy-three runs batted in. The impressive rookie year saw Davis finish third in the Rookie of The Year balloting for 2010. It appeared that the Mets had a young, power bat for many years to replace the retired Carlos Delgado.
2011 was an injury-shortened season for Davis, but he was able to hit .302 with seven home runs in only thirty-six games. The injuries would continue to pile on.
At the beginning of 2012, Davis suffered from valley fever, which is a rare rust – borne fugal. His performance dipped in terms of batting average (.227). However, Davis was able to hit a career-high thirty-two home runs, and he was ranked as being the fifth best defensive first baseman in the league.
By 2014, Davis had lost his starting spot and was sharing time with Lucas Duda and Josh Satin. On April 18th, Davis was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates. Over the next three years, he’d play for the Pirates, A’s and Yankees.
Despite being one of the best defensive first basemen during his tenure in MLB, Davis couldn’t find a starting job in the sport. Ike attempted to continue his career as a lefty-throwing pitcher, which is something he had done at Arizona State as a closer for the Sun Devils. Davis returned to the position playing in the Arizona Fall League for the Dodgers. In a small sample size, Davis pitched 5 2/3 scoreless innings and had six strikeouts.
“Ike has been a tremendous teammate. He’s demonstrated humility and flexibility by taking this first step.” Gabe Kapler said in an LA Times interview in 2017. That seems to be the general mindset amongst those Davis has worked with, that Ike Davis was a great teammate to be around and would do whatever was asked of him to help the team win.
Currently, in 2018 there is another man who has positive momentum in the minor league system. Similar to Ike Davis, Peter Alonso has a fantastic defensive numbers including a career .985 fielding percentage in the minors and hit thirty-six home runs with one hundred and nineteen runs batted in over two different levels in the minor leagues. Alonso was also able to hit .285 showing that he’s not just a power bat.
Ike Davis is only 31-years old and the idea of a possible comeback can’t be ruled out. Rick Ankiel is trying to return to professional baseball and he’s thirty-seven! I’d be on the lookout for Ike Davis to maybe one day try another run, whether it be a closer or as a defensive specialist at first base.
If I were the Mets, I’d reach out to Davis and see if he’d be willing to help mentor Alonso. After all, Davis is the ultimate team player and having that attitude rub off on Alonso, if it hasn’t already, would greatly help a young Mets team in the future.
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