With all the hype surrounding the second base competition, let’s not forget about our rock at first base: Ike Davis.
With just one year under his belt, Davis is poised to have a breakout year in 2011. He may not put up Albert Pujols type numbers, but then again not many first basemen can.
Since question marks surround Carlos Beltran and Jason Bay, Davis will have to provide consistent production in the middle of the Mets’ lineup.
He has a chance to become a superstar this season.
Playing In New York
Unfortunately, the Mets have been the laughing stock of the league the past few years in regards to their performance on the field, their financial issues and poor free agent signings.
Playing under the bright lights of New York can have a serious impact on a player. Some players crumble, while others are able to rise above the pressure.
If a player succeeds in New York, he becomes an instant superstar.
A perfect example is New York Yankees’ right fielder Nick Swisher. He had some good years in Oakland, but he has become a household name after two productive years in the Bronx—including a World Series title.
A big year from Davis can cement his superstar status.
Gold Glove Caliber Defense
Though Davis may be more well-known for his powerful swing, he played a Gold Glove caliber defense at first base last year.
He’s not afraid to get dirty and can pick it with the best of them.
Also, he made a few circus catches along the dugout railing, which are always exciting plays to watch.
With some fine tuning of his defense, Davis will become a better all-around player which will aid in his superstar status.
A few Gold Gloves should adorn his mantle in the near future.
Blossoming Clubhouse Leader
Though he will only be entering his second season, Davis will be expected to develop into a clubhouse leader.
His hard work on and off the field had resonated with the organization, which is prepared to highlight Davis as one of their budding stars.
Davis has already become a favorite among the media for his insightful comments and fun-loving attitude.
It’s easy to express those feelings after a win, but Davis will also have to be available for postgame comments after tough losses.
There are lots of new faces for the Mets this season, so Davis will aid in creating a strong clubhouse atmosphere.
Now that the headaches of Luis Castillo and Oliver Perez are gone, team unity shouldn’t be an issue for the Mets.
In the words of Ron Darling when speaking about Davis: “He’s got some serious power.”
Davis takes a big swing every time he steps to the plate and hits moon-shots when he connects.
He crushed 19 home runs his rookie year—many of which either tied a ballgame or put the Mets ahead.
None of his shots were more clutch than this walk-off bomb he crushed against the San Diego Padres in early June.
In a full season, Davis has the power to hit 30+ home runs.
Patience At The Plate
One facet of his game that Davis has been working on is his patience at the plate.
He went through stretches of free-swinging last season that resulted in 138 strikeouts.
As a power hitter, strikeouts are inevitable. However, Davis can improve his on-base percentage by laying off bad pitches and drawing walks instead.
This is much easier said than done, so Davis will keep working hard the next two weeks.
This spring, Davis has struck out eight times in 37 at-bats, but he has also drawn six walks.
If he shows patience at the plate, opposing pitchers won’t be able to rely on Davis swinging at bad pitches and will therefore give Davis more pitches to hit.
It’s up to Ike to hit those pitches hard.
Not Content With His Rookie Season
The great thing about Davis in his quest to become a superstar is that he is never content with his performance.
Davis said he will not settle for being a .260 hitter the rest of his career and wants to improve on all aspects of his game.
It’s this passion and drive that will allow Davis to take the next step in his career.
So many players experience some success in the Major Leagues and are content with producing at that same level for their entire careers.
However, Davis genuinely wants to produce at the highest level for the Mets.
This desire to succeed proves that Davis is ready to achieve superstar status in 2011.
Follow me on Twitter @JMMancari.
About the Author
Written by Jim Mancari
James (Jim) Mancari hails from Massapequa, NY. He graduated from the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, VA with degrees in History and Kinesiology. Jim currently is pursuing a Master's degree in Journalism at Hofstra University (Hempstead, NY). He is a devout Mets fan and takes pride in his team, despite their lack of success over the last few years. Like all Mets' fans, Jim has plenty of hope. Jim also writes for the NJ Nets on this site. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. He appreciates and respects additional opinions.