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Saturday, July 17, 2010

NYBD: Silva: Is Ike Davis Really Mike Jacobs?

Mike Jacobs: Leave off the first ‘M’ for Mike Francesa.

Herb Uzzi of ESPN down in Florida made called Ike Davis “Ike Jacobs” on Twitter this afternoon. It got me to wondering how Davis’s production is faring in comparison to Jacobs.

Going into tonight’s game Davis has put up a .252/.329/.426 which translate to a slightly above average hitter with an OPS+ of 103. If you project his numbers over the course of a 162 game schedule he is roughly going to give you 20 homers and 80 RBI and strikeout about 150 times. Jacobs best season to date was 2008 when he put up an OPS+ of 108, 32 homers, 93 RBI, and an OPS of .812. For his career Jacobs is just about league average offensively (OPS+ of 104) with a typical season that consists of a .250 batting average, 29 homers, and 90 RBI. Of course, much of that production came over a two year period (2007-2008) and Jacobs hasn’t been near that type of player in a while. Although I see Uzzi’s point, it’s unfair at this time to call Davis another Mike Jacobs for two reasons: defense and strike zone recognition.

Last night, Gary Cohen talked about how Davis feels his lack of base on balls is the reason for his recent slump. After walking 16 times in May, Davis has walked just 10 times in the six weeks since. Like any young player he needs to work the count in order to put himself in a position to accentuate his strength: punishing the fastball. The fact that Davis understands the concept already puts him ahead of Mike Jacobs, whose best OBP season was 2006 (.325) when he walked 45 times. To date Davis has walked 32 times. I suspect the recent offensive struggles are part of the maturation process of a young hitter.

Repoz Posted: July 17, 2010 at 09:35 PM | 71 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: history, mets, sabermetrics

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   1. PreservedFish Posted: July 17, 2010 at 10:46 PM (#3592196)
He fields well.
He hits the ball hard.
He's young.
He's the best 1B in the system.

The conversation is almost worthless - Davis is and should be the very firmly entrenched starter. Unless this slump gets really outrageous.
   2. Walt Davis Posted: July 18, 2010 at 02:21 AM (#3592272)
Or ....

he's defensively limited (unless you think he can play OF) ... and TZ has him as only +1 at 1B.
his on-contact numbers are 341/577 which does not constitute "hitting the ball hard".
he is young ... and he may not be ready for the majors.
it's not clear he's any better than Daniel Murphy (who's only 2 years older).

I will grant you he is better than Mike Jacobs. And I assume Murphy is still hurt so obviously you keep playing Jacobs ... unless maybe you can swing a cheap deal for Lance Berkman or somebody like that.

The fact that Davis understands the concept already puts him ahead of Mike Jacobs, whose best OBP season was 2006 (.325) when he walked 45 times.

Who's to say that Jacobs didn't understand this concept? Yes, Jacobs best OBP season was 325 ... and Davis currently sits at 329. Davis might understand that he needs to be more selective than he has been the last 6 weeks but that doesn't mean he has the talent to do so. It's not like Davis's minor-league walk rate is out of this world -- his current ML ISOobp is the same as his minor-league one, there's no reason to expect him to walk more than he has on the season. Ike Davis's main problems are BA and ISO, the former primarily a problem of striking out too much (or alternatively, his problem is that he hasn't hit the ball hard on a regular basis).

Davis's career minor-league line is 288/371/467 with pretty similar K and BB rates to what he has. You expect that sort of line to translate to roughly 250/330/425 (maybe worse given his numbers were mainly compiled in half-seasons at A+ and AA). ZiPS pre-season projection: 227/302/388 (sorry, can't find his ZiPS RoS). With that sort of K-rate, unless he's Jim Thome, you're gonna see a BA around 230-270. Add 80 points of walks to get to a 310-350 OBP -- nothing to write home about. You need an ISO of at least 200 to make that worth much at 1B.

He's 23 and, more importantly, he's a Davis so I'm definitely not writing him off. But, y'know, in his first 112 PA Jacobs (age 24) put up a line of 310/375/710; he followed that with a season of 262/325/473 which is better than what Davis (yes, only 23) has done to this point. You shouldn't write him off but nobody should be confident that he's substantially better than Mike Jacobs. Baseball's a cruel game.
   3. Gold Star for Robothal Posted: July 18, 2010 at 03:04 AM (#3592289)
I just dealt Davis for Freddie Freeman in a simulation league; the thing that made me flip Davis was that his rate stats (up to the last couple of weeks) were pretty much dependent on his domination of lefty pitchers, which is something he had never done before, and which I thought was a fluke. Now his rate stats against lefties are very ordinary, and he's looking very, very ordinary. I wish him the best, but I'd rather take my chances w/ Freeman.
   4. Something Other Posted: July 18, 2010 at 04:51 AM (#3592316)
This is not recent news (not the Jacobs comparison, but that Davis is overmatched this season). He had less than 300 PAs above A ball going into this season. Why would we think there weren't going to be growing pains, and that while he has time there's no inevitability to Davis's becoming even an average major league regular?
   5. Alex_Lewis Posted: July 18, 2010 at 07:18 AM (#3592345)
Let's have fun and compare him to Buster Posey.
   6. Something Other Posted: July 18, 2010 at 08:51 AM (#3592355)
Speaking of catchers like Josh Thole who are hitting better than Buster Posey, what's up with the Mets carrying three catchers and continuing to play Barajas into the ground? He's at .202/.244/.294/.538 for the last two months. That's Alex Cora bad. It's like having two 2bmen much better than Cora and continuing to play Cora three-quarters of the time.

Hell. If Thole gets another hit his batting average will be higher than Barajas's OPS.
   7. Athletic Supporter can feel the slow rot Posted: July 18, 2010 at 11:11 AM (#3592371)
Just trust me on this one: you do NOT want the pictures Barajas has of Omar to be released.
   8. Freeballin' (Tales of Met Power) Posted: July 18, 2010 at 05:10 PM (#3592493)
he's defensively limited (unless you think he can play OF) ... and TZ has him as only +1 at 1B.
his on-contact numbers are 341/577 which does not constitute "hitting the ball hard".
he is young ... and he may not be ready for the majors.
it's not clear he's any better than Daniel Murphy (who's only 2 years older).


Two more jacks last night. Go away, troll.
   9. PreservedFish Posted: July 18, 2010 at 05:38 PM (#3592500)
he's defensively limited (unless you think he can play OF) ... and TZ has him as only +1 at 1B.
his on-contact numbers are 341/577 which does not constitute "hitting the ball hard".
he is young ... and he may not be ready for the majors.
it's not clear he's any better than Daniel Murphy (who's only 2 years older).


Walt, have you watched him play? This stinks of basement-spreadsheet.

1. I believe he leads the league in UZR. Plus, I know he's good, because I watch him, and he's good. I don't really get the point about versatility, the Mets don't need him to be versatile, they need him to play a good first base. Perhaps, if his bat never develops, this will become a problem.
2. He hits the ball hard. Have you seen him hit the ball hard yet? He can hit it really far. (So can Jacobs. Murphy can't)
3. He seems ready to me. As I said in #1, he's the best option in the org, so he's a no-brainer to pencil in at the position.
4. Murphy hasn't been a good player since September of 2008, so I'm not really sure what to make of him.

You are quite right that he might not ever be better than Mike Jacobs. He might be substantially worse, or far far superior. We don't know.

With that sort of K-rate, unless he's Jim Thome, you're gonna see a BA around 230-270. Add 80 points of walks to get to a 310-350 OBP -- nothing to write home about. You need an ISO of at least 200 to make that worth much at 1B.


Whenever people dip into these microstats they sort of dismiss the possibility that players ever, you know, improve. As if looking one layer below the surface has revealed essential and immutable truths.
   10. Freeballin' (Tales of Met Power) Posted: July 19, 2010 at 01:42 AM (#3592826)
3 more hits including a game winner today. I guess a baseball player can slump and then come out of it.
   11. The District Attorney Posted: July 19, 2010 at 02:02 AM (#3592838)
Wow, when I saw someone called a troll, I assumed it was Omar. Walt is the furthest thing from a troll.

Murphy is, in fact, hurt.

My opinion is that, once you pull the trigger on giving the everyday MLB job to the anointed [Player's Position] of the Future, you should only bail out on it given extraordinary circumstances. (i.e., years of non-performance, or injury/psychological issues.) I would be very much against acquiring Berkman... much less starting Murphy, who is almost surely not any better than Davis even at this moment and even if he were healthy. Part of Davis being our guy for the next five years or whatever, is playing him now.
   12. The District Attorney Posted: July 19, 2010 at 02:03 AM (#3592840)
   13. Raskolnikov Posted: July 19, 2010 at 02:26 AM (#3592851)
Pretty much agree with everything in #11. There's also the philosophical principle - while we're ultimately rooting for laundry - it's always better to be rooting for players that one follows through the farm and stuck with through the growing years.

The ability to deal with these young kids will be the ultimate success/fail of this year. Omar and Jerry are handling a lot of young kids - Davis, Pelfrey, Niese, Thole, Tejada, and pretty soon, Fernando, Neuwenhuis, and Havens. If done right, the Mets should be solid for many years to come.
   14. Freeballin' (Tales of Met Power) Posted: July 19, 2010 at 12:40 PM (#3592960)

Wow, when I saw someone called a troll, I assumed it was Omar. Walt is the furthest thing from a troll.


Then why pop in here and give an utterly biased kindergarten-level saber opinion like that? Some posters think it's their job to make sure you don't derive too much enjoyment out of your team's players. That's a troll in my book.

Omar, on the other hand, I don't think is a troll. I think he's got some mental illness that causes him to repetitively spew negativity about the team he purports to root for. But I don't think he's intentionally antagonizing anybody.
   15. rLr Is King Of The Romans And Above Grammar Posted: July 19, 2010 at 12:46 PM (#3592963)
I think he's got some mental illness that causes him to repetitively spew negativity about the team he purports to root for.

It might be that the team for which he purports to root is unusually good at inspiring negative affect.
   16. The District Attorney Posted: July 19, 2010 at 02:08 PM (#3593016)
Then why pop in here and give an utterly biased kindergarten-level saber opinion like that? Some posters think it's their job to make sure you don't derive too much enjoyment out of your team's players. That's a troll in my book.

Omar, on the other hand, I don't think is a troll. I think he's got some mental illness that causes him to repetitively spew negativity about the team he purports to root for. But I don't think he's intentionally antagonizing anybody.
How do you read minds over the computer?
   17. Freeballin' (Tales of Met Power) Posted: July 19, 2010 at 04:28 PM (#3593126)
Comments, not minds.
   18. The District Attorney Posted: July 19, 2010 at 04:50 PM (#3593142)
Okay, here's what I was trying to get at. You claim to know that Walt intends to antagonize you, and that Omar doesn't have that intention, but has a "mental illness." So it's beyond their actual comments; you claim to know the motivations for the comments (and/or the diseases that caused them.) How is this possible?
   19. There are no words... (Met Fan Charlie) Posted: July 19, 2010 at 05:13 PM (#3593165)
This is fun!
   20. Best Dressed Chicken in Town Posted: July 19, 2010 at 05:14 PM (#3593166)
So it's beyond their actual comments; you claim to know the motivations for the comments (and/or the diseases that caused them.) How is this possible?

He looks one layer below the comments and they reveal essential and immutable truths.
   21. AROM Posted: July 19, 2010 at 05:21 PM (#3593175)
Jacobs is a high SLG, low OBP, overall average hitter who is too old to expect improvement and a terrible defender. Davis is not clearly a better hitter, but young enough to improve and at least competant in the field. His glove makes him better than Jacobs even if this is all you get offensively.
   22. Cowboy Popup Posted: July 19, 2010 at 05:25 PM (#3593182)
NM.
   23. Srul Itza Posted: July 19, 2010 at 05:38 PM (#3593199)
Omar, on the other hand, I don't think is a troll. I think he's got some mental illness that causes him to repetitively spew negativity about the team he purports to root for.


karlmagnus syndrome?
   24. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: July 19, 2010 at 06:25 PM (#3593281)
Davis looks like he belongs in the majors, slumps notwithstanding. He hits the ball really far. He was also a 1st round draft pick while Jacobs was a 38th rounder.

Exclude Jacobs' ridiculous few months in 2005 and his career OPS+ is 99. I know it's a small sample size, but Davis is now at 112. The very fact that the Mets have the luxury of complaining about a guy with a 112 OPS+ at 1B is an achievement for this franchise.
   25. Freeballin' (Tales of Met Power) Posted: July 19, 2010 at 08:35 PM (#3593419)
Okay, here's what I was trying to get at. You claim to know that Walt intends to antagonize you, and that Omar doesn't have that intention, but has a "mental illness." So it's beyond their actual comments; you claim to know the motivations for the comments (and/or the diseases that caused them.) How is this possible?


I am inferring their intentions (or in omar's case that he is crazy) from their comments, which is something that people do all the time. Is this really that strange to you?

And the conclusion that the person posting as omarsblackcloud is mentally ill hardly seems like a reach.
   26. The District Attorney Posted: July 19, 2010 at 09:08 PM (#3593441)
When you ascribe malevolent motivations to a thoughtful post that required research, and ascribe benign motivations to a series of continually revised doom-and-gloom predictions, yeah, I find that really strange.

What makes you think that Walt's goal is to bother Met fans, as opposed to the simpler explanation that he did some sabermetric analysis that you find poor?
   27. Sam M. Posted: July 19, 2010 at 09:15 PM (#3593445)
Look, the notion that Walt Davis is a troll, or that his post in this particular thread was trollish, is beyond silly. Walt is thoughtful and interesting and raises challenging points even when -- as here regarding Ike Davis -- I happen to disagree with him. It is no answer whatsoever to the arguments Walt made to note that Davis hit a couple of dingers Saturday night, as if one game and two swings somehow decisively answers the questions about Davis's ability or future.

Here's why I happen to think that Davis remains a question mark, but a valuable and likely to be pretty successful power hitter. The question mark part is that I see him as a guy who has a big hole in his swing that pitchers can take advantage of, and which makes his declining success the second and third time around the league not so much a slump as the result of scouting and pitchers realizing what they can do to get him out. His low hands make him a sucker for high fastballs, and I fear/suspect that issue will always place a ceiling on his production. He will take advantage of certain pitchers, and mistakes, and be productive . . . to a degree. But he is a guy that a certain (too-high) percentage of the pitchers in the league, if and when they execute, WILL be able to get out consistently. That doesn't mean Davis can't be good, but it would surprise me a lot if he can be great.

On the other hand, I think Walt makes too much of his minor league numbers, which are in his particular case deceptive. Davis was an utter disaster in his debut short-season (2008), hitting for none (literally, none) of the power it is obvious that he has. No homers, and only 15 doubles, in 239 PAs. The notion that Ike Davis would hit for only a .326 SLG in the NY-P League is pretty preposterous, and tells me that whatever was going on there -- adjustment to wood bats, not being ready after the college season, ego needing a reality check, who knows -- those are numbers you just have to throw out. I think if you start with 2009, you see a guy who has great power (lots of home runs and XBH), a hole in his swing (lots of K's), and a decent amount of strike zone judgment (57 walks in 488 PAs isn't bad).

What is really telling about his minor league record is how short it is. 182 games, 769 PAs. It isn't his age that makes me think he has some upside development left; it's the fact that he is holding his own in the majors with so little minor league experience to provide the foundation for his offensive game. When Mike Jacobs first came up, he'd played well over 500 minor league games with over 2200 PAs. He sure as hell should have been more ready to make an impact, and had less development left to do. What you saw from Mike Jacobs at first was far more likely to be the best he had to offer (or close to it) than what you are seeing from Ike Davis.

Bottom line: I think you can make a reasonable case for optimism and for restraint about Davis. If you pinned me down, I'd peg him for "good solid regular, maybe two All-Star appearances when he happens to have a really great first half" kind of career. I'm a lot more enthusiastic about Niese, FWIW, and much less about Tejada.
   28. Freeballin' (Tales of Met Power) Posted: July 19, 2010 at 09:22 PM (#3593457)
Sorry, I just have little patience for folks who come into a thread about somebody else's team and purport to give an "analysis" that is at once Mickey Mouse level sabermetrics and so one-sided that his motivation can only be to root or annoy. I have seen Walt posts that i appreciated, but I have also seen a substantial number that are like this one -- trolling. Statistically literate trolling, but trolling nonetheless.
   29. Freeballin' (Tales of Met Power) Posted: July 19, 2010 at 09:26 PM (#3593460)
To the DA, as for omar, don't misunderstand me as defending him. I have him on ignore because he is so shrill as to spoil most threads he graces. I just detect from his tone that he is legitimately bothered by the things he's complaining about. It would be an understatement to say I get tired of hearing it, but I detect from the passion in his communications that he is legitimately upset by the team. I hope that makes some sense.
   30. Frisco Cali Posted: July 19, 2010 at 09:26 PM (#3593463)
If you pinned me down, I'd peg him for "good solid regular, maybe two All-Star appearances when he happens to have a really great first half" kind of career

So about 1/10th of what Daniel Murphy's career will be.
   31. Sam M. Posted: July 19, 2010 at 09:30 PM (#3593467)
So about 1/10th of what Daniel Murphy's career will be.

I'm never going to live that one down, am I? Ah, well -- fair enough. It was fun to be so wild-eyed in my optimism while it lasted . . . .
   32. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: July 19, 2010 at 09:34 PM (#3593469)
I'm never going to live that one down, am I? Ah, well -- fair enough. It was fun to be so wild-eyed in my optimism while it lasted . . . .
You might as well go crazy on Niese, because no matter what you say about him, you'll always be second to Megdal and Ollie Perez in the crazy prediction for a Mets' pitcher department.
   33. The District Attorney Posted: July 19, 2010 at 09:44 PM (#3593480)
so one-sided that his motivation can only be to root or annoy.
That's a leap of logic that lacks any basis whatsoever, other than that you think his sabermetrics is so lousy that no one could write such things and seriously mean them. If I can use my own mindreading-over-the-Internet ability, I think it says far more about you than it does about Walt that you take a statistical analysis of Ike Davis as a personal insult. But I'm sure I won't convince you of that. Soooo... why not just proceed on the basis that his work really is that crappy, and respond with your points against it, as opposed to calling him a troll and making it personal? That would be a better discussion for everyone.

I also find it preposterous to claim that participating in a thread about a team that you're not a fan of, is "coming into a thread about somebody else's team" and somehow a bad thing.
   34. shattnering his Dominicano G Strings on that Mound Posted: July 19, 2010 at 09:46 PM (#3593485)
Mickey Mouse Analysis, volume 1:

In this corner, Walt Davis:

Or ....

he's defensively limited (unless you think he can play OF) ... and TZ has him as only +1 at 1B.
his on-contact numbers are 341/577 which does not constitute "hitting the ball hard".
he is young ... and he may not be ready for the majors.
it's not clear he's any better than Daniel Murphy (who's only 2 years older).

I will grant you he is better than Mike Jacobs. And I assume Murphy is still hurt so obviously you keep playing Jacobs ... unless maybe you can swing a cheap deal for Lance Berkman or somebody like that.

The fact that Davis understands the concept already puts him ahead of Mike Jacobs, whose best OBP season was 2006 (.325) when he walked 45 times.

Who's to say that Jacobs didn't understand this concept? Yes, Jacobs best OBP season was 325 ... and Davis currently sits at 329. Davis might understand that he needs to be more selective than he has been the last 6 weeks but that doesn't mean he has the talent to do so. It's not like Davis's minor-league walk rate is out of this world -- his current ML ISOobp is the same as his minor-league one, there's no reason to expect him to walk more than he has on the season. Ike Davis's main problems are BA and ISO, the former primarily a problem of striking out too much (or alternatively, his problem is that he hasn't hit the ball hard on a regular basis).

Davis's career minor-league line is 288/371/467 with pretty similar K and BB rates to what he has. You expect that sort of line to translate to roughly 250/330/425 (maybe worse given his numbers were mainly compiled in half-seasons at A+ and AA). ZiPS pre-season projection: 227/302/388 (sorry, can't find his ZiPS RoS). With that sort of K-rate, unless he's Jim Thome, you're gonna see a BA around 230-270. Add 80 points of walks to get to a 310-350 OBP -- nothing to write home about. You need an ISO of at least 200 to make that worth much at 1B.

He's 23 and, more importantly, he's a Davis so I'm definitely not writing him off. But, y'know, in his first 112 PA Jacobs (age 24) put up a line of 310/375/710; he followed that with a season of 262/325/473 which is better than what Davis (yes, only 23) has done to this point. You shouldn't write him off but nobody should be confident that he's substantially better than Mike Jacobs. Baseball's a cruel game.


In this corner, Freeballin':

Two more jacks last night. Go away, troll.


It's time for America to vote!
   35. Sam M. Posted: July 19, 2010 at 09:50 PM (#3593489)
no matter what you say about him, you'll always be second to Megdal and Ollie Perez in the crazy prediction for a Mets' pitcher department.

Oh, don't be so sure. I mean, I could say, "Jonathon Niese will break Cy Young's record for career wins." That would make Howard look positively restrained by comparison.

Speaking of restrained, at this point, I bet that's what they have to do to Johan Santana any time he comes with 50 feet of K-Rod.
   36. Ron J Posted: July 19, 2010 at 09:50 PM (#3593491)
I don't think you understand what trolling is. I'll go further. When only one person sees trolling, that person is deluded.

Oh if it matters my take on Ike Davis is that he's pretty clearly the best option the Mets have. He'll have to improve to be anything other than bulk filler. But people tend to overestimate the probability that any given player will improve. Of course he's young enough to have that chance and he's far from an open wound.

IOW not too different a position from Walt's. On the other hand I've found that a sparse minor league trail (something Sam Alludes to) is a cause for optimism. And Mets fans might as well be optimistic. He's going to play. And if the downside is Mike Jacobs with a better glove, well that's clearly of some value.
   37. Freeballin' (Tales of Met Power) Posted: July 19, 2010 at 10:04 PM (#3593503)
I'm starting to thing The District Attorney is unbalanced too.
   38. Freeballin' (Tales of Met Power) Posted: July 19, 2010 at 10:06 PM (#3593507)
Think, that is.

Ron, thanks for filling me in on the rules about trolling. I didn't realize a vote was required, or at least concurrence from one of the crown princes of BBTF with whom one must not disagree.
   39. Lassus Posted: July 19, 2010 at 10:09 PM (#3593511)
I know it's a small sample size, but Davis is now at 112. The very fact that the Mets have the luxury of complaining about a guy with a 112 OPS+ at 1B is an achievement for this franchise.

Seriously. The withering disdain and backhanded compliments he gets at this point, even from those on his side, strike me as bizarre.
   40. Freeballin' (Tales of Met Power) Posted: July 19, 2010 at 10:11 PM (#3593514)
Lassus, you're neglecting to respond to Ron J's point that players don't usually improve. Clearly this was no innocent mistake on your part and I hereby banish you. I'm sorry to have to do this, as I generally enjoy your contributions. Rules are rules.
   41. JJ1986 Posted: July 19, 2010 at 10:16 PM (#3593517)
Now who's trolling?
   42. Freeballin' (Tales of Met Power) Posted: July 19, 2010 at 10:18 PM (#3593519)
Lassus. I mean, I tried to reason with him...
   43. Ray (RDP) Posted: July 19, 2010 at 10:22 PM (#3593528)
Freeballin', the idea that Walt is a troll is silly; you're coming off as a bit too fanboyish here. So Walt didn't say something glowing about one of your favorite players. Big whoop.

You may want to just admit that you let emotion get the better of you and leave it at that.
   44. CrosbyBird Posted: July 19, 2010 at 10:23 PM (#3593530)
It's also worth noting that Davis put up better numbers in AA and AAA at 22 and 23 than anything Mike Jacobs did prior to his age 24 season (repeating AA). Davis also put up a ridiculous .385/.457/.742 line as a 21 year old at Arizona State. Even with the very limited minor-league numbers, Davis was much more of a prospect than Jacobs ever was.

Exclude Jacobs' ridiculous few months in 2005 and his career OPS+ is 99. I know it's a small sample size, but Davis is now at 112. The very fact that the Mets have the luxury of complaining about a guy with a 112 OPS+ at 1B is an achievement for this franchise.

I don't think any Met fans outside of the lunatic fringe are complaining about Ike Davis. Davis is basically a hair above the average 1B right now, and making practically nothing. He plays solid defense and he seems to play hard and care about improvement.

What I see a bit of from Herb Uzzi's tweet, is an attempt to provoke Met fans or simply be snarky, which makes for good press, perhaps. As for Walt, I can't really disagree except with this:

But, y'know, in his first 112 PA Jacobs (age 24) put up a line of 310/375/710; he followed that with a season of 262/325/473 which is better than what Davis (yes, only 23) has done to this point. You shouldn't write him off but nobody should be confident that he's substantially better than Mike Jacobs.


That .262/.325/.473 line in 2006 was good for a 106 OPS+; Ike Davis has a .261/.335/.457 line, for a 112 OPS+. I'm not sure that mid-season we can trust the "average" OBP/SLG, but those lines are at least comparable. If Ike Davis does what Jacobs did while being 2 years younger, with less time in the minors, that should be a sign that he is substantially better than Mike Jacobs, talent-wise. Especially since in that very same season, Jacobs was a poor fielder and baserunner; if WAR is to be trusted, Davis has already contributed nearly twice as much as Jacobs did all season, in a little more than 60% of the PA/games.
   45. CrosbyBird Posted: July 19, 2010 at 10:25 PM (#3593531)
He'll have to improve to be anything other than bulk filler.

Sure, if a league average 1B is "bulk filler." I think that's actually a useful commodity, especially under team control for 5 more years.
   46. The District Attorney Posted: July 19, 2010 at 10:29 PM (#3593535)
I'm starting to thing The District Attorney is unbalanced too.
Again, I'd ask you to address peoples' points, rather than making personal attacks. What did I say that you disagree with, and why?
   47. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: July 19, 2010 at 10:30 PM (#3593536)
Regardless of whether he's simply Mike Jacobs with a better glove or Murphy with slightly more power, I certainly *feel* a lot more confident with him at the plate than I did with Murphy last year or Jacobs for the few AB we had him this year.
   48. Sam M. Posted: July 19, 2010 at 10:36 PM (#3593542)
I don't think any Met fans outside of the lunatic fringe are complaining about Ike Davis.

Ike Davis isn't the reason the Mets aren't scoring runs. It's because they have complete holes at catcher (at least any game that Thole doesn't start), and both middle infield positions (until Reyes comes back healthy). Combine that with the pitcher's slot, and you basically have up to four black holes in the line-up. With Bay not hitting either, and Davis solid but really just about league-average so far, that is not a recipe for success. Wright, Beltran, Pagan, Bay, and Davis aren't going to make the play-offs by themselves.
   49. Ray (RDP) Posted: July 19, 2010 at 10:38 PM (#3593544)
Regardless of whether he's simply Mike Jacobs with a better glove or Murphy with slightly more power, I certainly *feel* a lot more confident with him at the plate than I did with Murphy last year or Jacobs for the few AB we had him this year.


Probably because of his hot start. Hot streaks make impressions on people, particularly when they occur early and the guy is hitting like .350 out of the gate, with some big hits.
   50. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: July 19, 2010 at 11:07 PM (#3593559)
Sorry, I just have little patience for folks who come into a thread about somebody else's team and purport to give an "analysis" that is at once Mickey Mouse level sabermetrics and so one-sided that his motivation can only be to root or annoy. I have seen Walt posts that i appreciated, but I have also seen a substantial number that are like this one -- trolling. Statistically literate trolling, but trolling nonetheless.

Freeballin' needs to Groundhog Day this thread. I remember when "Trolling" Walt Davis did some similar analysis on the .316 hittin' 58 homerin' first full year Ryan Howard and declared that he had an unsustainable BABIB and too high strikeout rate, etc. to expect that he would be repeating his 2006 any time later in his career.
   51. Freeballin' (Tales of Met Power) Posted: July 19, 2010 at 11:17 PM (#3593564)
Again, I'd ask you to address peoples' points, rather than making personal attacks. What did I say that you disagree with, and why?


It's not that I disagree with any "points" you made or didn't make. It's that your reaction is kind of bizarre. The points Sam made in response to Walt were well put, but so obvious that Walt could only have ignored them intentionally -- especially if he is the master sabermetrician that you all want to credit him. Mr. DA, I'm sure you argue for inferences of this kind all day long -- i.e., inferences of mental state based on circumstantial evidence.

As for the rest of you, I'm happy you're unhappy with me. You're all a bunch of circle jerkers.
   52. Ron J Posted: July 19, 2010 at 11:20 PM (#3593568)
#38 Don't be silly. Disagreement is fine. I've had plenty of disagreements with many of my favorite posters. And Davis is exactly the kind of players that you can have intelligent discussions about and come to a different conclusion.

I've also seen real trolls in action -- even made the mistake of being baited into "discussion" with the real pros. RLM for one.

Walt's offered up substantial points. A single big night isn't a refutation of his points. I mean Mark Whiten hit four once and I don't think you'd be happy if Davis had Whiten's career arc. (Or Booby Lowe's -- unless Davis also became a gold glove caliber second-baseman)
   53. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 19, 2010 at 11:21 PM (#3593571)
Freeballin' needs to Groundhog Day this thread. I remember when "Trolling" Walt Davis did some similar analysis on the .316 hittin' 58 homerin' first full year Ryan Howard and declared that he had an unsustainable BABIB and too high strikeout rate, etc. to expect that he would be repeating his 2006 any time later in his career.

Well, he was partially right. Those are Howard's best full season average and HR total by far (.316 vs. .279 and 58 vs. 48).
   54. Freeballin' (Tales of Met Power) Posted: July 19, 2010 at 11:34 PM (#3593587)

Walt's offered up substantial points. A single big night isn't a refutation of his points.


It is when the sample size is so small that a big night or two materially changes the guy's stats -- Davis was at .252/.329/.426 (OPS+ of 104) in the article and is now up to .261/.335/.457 (112) -- and suggests he may have been in the nadir of a slump at the point of discussion, and he's coming out of it. That's all I meant, which I thought was pretty obvious, but I guess not.

My point is that Walt started with a conclusion and then semi-skillfully found stats to support it. A non-troll would have acknowledged the side Sam presented.
   55. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: July 19, 2010 at 11:35 PM (#3593590)
Well, he was partially right. Those are Howard's best full season average and HR total by far (.316 vs. .279 and 58 vs. 48).
Yeah, I'm not seeing how that quite undoes Walt's point. Howard is a solid player, but 2006 is his best year by a pretty big margin. WAR isn't perfect, but he only has one year ('09) within 1 WAR of it, and the rest of his career is nowhere close.
   56. Raskolnikov Posted: July 20, 2010 at 04:48 AM (#3593894)
He'll have to improve to be anything other than bulk filler. But people tend to overestimate the probability that any given player will improve. Of course he's young enough to have that chance and he's far from an open wound.

Ron, not sure what you mean by this point. Most studies I'm aware of demonstrate that *all* players improve from their rookie years to their later years, it's that the degree of improvement tends to overestimated - as in, just because Davis may be a .800 OPS hitter in his rookie year doesn't mean he's going to be a .900 OPS regular in his prime.

I would be surprised if over 100 trials, Davis has a Jacobs career arc in a significant number of them (which is Walt's thesis.) His production to date would seem to indicate a better career.

On the other hand, most players with Davis's start do not become more than solid career regulars.

But that ignores the other value in cultivating a player like Davis. If he doesn't improve beyond NL average 1Bman, he becomes a candidate for replacement when his FA years approach, when a hot prospect emerges, or when a stud 1Bman becomes available via trade or free agency.
   57. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: July 20, 2010 at 05:41 AM (#3593911)
Probably because of his hot start. Hot streaks make impressions on people, particularly when they occur early and the guy is hitting like .350 out of the gate, with some big hits.

This would make sense if Murphy hadn't started his Mets career equally hot. Davis just looks like he could actually develop into a solid regular, whereas I was always skeptical of Murphy. I'm sure part of it is that Davis was a first round pick just a couple of years ago, and wasn't moved around from position to position the way Murphy was.
   58. Tiboreau Posted: July 20, 2010 at 06:02 AM (#3593913)
Freeballin' needs to Groundhog Day this thread. I remember when "Trolling" Walt Davis did some similar analysis on the .316 hittin' 58 homerin' first full year Ryan Howard and declared that he had an unsustainable BABIB and too high strikeout rate, etc. to expect that he would be repeating his 2006 any time later in his career.

Well, he was partially right. Those are Howard's best full season average and HR total by far (.316 vs. .279 and 58 vs. 48).


Well, he was partially right. Those are Howard's best full season average and HR total by far (.316 vs. .279 and 58 vs. 48).


Yeah, I'm not seeing how that quite undoes Walt's point. Howard is a solid player, but 2006 is his best year by a pretty big margin. WAR isn't perfect, but he only has one year ('09) within 1 WAR of it, and the rest of his career is nowhere close.


Edmundo wasn't trying to undo or disprove Walt's point. He directed the Groundhog Day reference at Freeballin', not Mr. Davis.
   59. Ron J Posted: July 20, 2010 at 12:37 PM (#3593965)
Most studies I'm aware of demonstrate that *all* players improve from their rookie years to their later years


Really? Which studies are these?

All is a clear overbid. I mean right off the top of my head you've got Tom Brunansky who never came within radar of his rookie season (which is nicely in line with his play at AAA) plus all of the guys who got gurt after their rookie season, and old rookies -- who are essentially finished products.

I haven't done any kind of detailed study of overall career arc (mostly because the guys who have have convinced me that it's a WAG for any given player). But I can tell you that 23 year olds who are playing regularly in the major leagues as a group do not play significantly better at 24 (though there are typically around a third again as many 24 year old regulars than 23 year old regulars -- suggesting that there a typically a pretty fair number of guys who make a step forward in the minors at 23). Indeed, in an old study I did I found very slightly more players who were playing regularly at 23 and 24 were worse at 24.

It's nothing big. Summary of study below. I could redo it now since there's another decade's worth of data but I haven't seen anything to make me think it doesn't hold up.

Age  Number   SI   II     SD    ID
20      36  22.2   16.7   8.3   8.3
21     109  18.3   17.4   9.2  14.7
22     217  17.5   17.5  10.6  11.1
23     379  12.1   14.2  12.7  15.8
24     514  14.4   16.5  10.1  17.5
25     650  13.4   15.1  12.5  16.6
26     723  11.8   15.1  14.5  15.1
27     699  11.6   13.4  14.4  16.9
28     658  12.6   12.8  14.0  16.9
29     599  11.0   14.9  13.0  18.2
30     503   9.9   14.9  11.5  15.7
31     413  12.3   12.8  16.5  17.4
32     348   8.6   12.9  17.0  19.8
33     255  10.6   15.3  15.7  17.3
34     185   5.9   11.4  19.5  18.9
35     130  10.0   15.4  11.5  19.2
36      90   5.6    7.8  18.9  16.7
37      65   6.2   15.4  26.2  21.5
38      41  12.2    7.3  14.6  12.2
39      24  12.5   20.8  20.8  16.7
40      14   7.1    7.1  42.9  28.6 


SI = substantial improvement (percentage of players)
II = important improvement
SD = substantial decline
ID = important decline

substantial in this case = more than the standard deviation in player performance ( around 14 runs in full-time play) using what Steve Mann called OBS (essentially OPS with crude support for base stealing. IBBs removed.) Defense isn't covered and I'm prepared to believe that that this could change the results somewhat (likewise a better accounting of baserunning might shade things)

Age is the age during the first season.

Number is the number of players who had 300+ PAs in consecutive seasons. 1955-99. If there were fewer than 10 players, not included.
   60. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: July 20, 2010 at 01:24 PM (#3593992)
#58 nails what I was trying to say. I, as a Phillies' fan, didn't necessarily want to hear that Howard had not emerged as this uber-power hitter of a kind not seen before, but was most likely to be a good power hitter who was happening to have a career year in his first full year.

And note that Walt in #2 started with "OR", not saying that #1 was absolutely wrong but that there were other considerations at play. It's amazing that this thread got contentious.
   61. Ron Johnson Posted: July 20, 2010 at 05:07 PM (#3594189)
Incidentally "bulk filler" clearly came out as needlessly disparaging. The point I was attempting to make is that a guy who is playing on merit is giving up a ton of ground to the top end guys. And that relatively palatable options should never be in short supply. A 1B has to be pretty damned good (or bad) to matter much.
   62. CrosbyBird Posted: July 20, 2010 at 07:56 PM (#3594384)
A 1B has to be pretty damned good (or bad) to matter much.

I think this was the Mets' problem for a long time. They carried players at 1B that were between below-average to average, assuming that it wouldn't hurt them badly, and it was crippling to the offense.

The conventional wisdom is that you build teams that are "strong up the middle," which is certainly important defensively, but teams that skimp on 1B, RF, and LF end up with serious problems in the middle of the order.

A poor offensive 1B costs many more runs than a proportionally poor offensive SS.

The point I was attempting to make is that a guy who is playing on merit is giving up a ton of ground to the top end guys.

That's fair, but it's not like the Mets have one of those top end guys available, or even as an A-level prospect. The question then becomes "are you better with Ike Davis and the other player you sign, or are you better with, say, Adrian Gonzalez?" I think I'd rather have Davis and the money, if there's a FA available and the Mets spend the money wisely (certainly not a certainty with this club).

At the very least, Davis isn't a problem. He's not blocking anyone except really expensive FA that are likely to be signed to bloated contracts, like Prince Fielder. One of the best things about having Davis is that the Mets are far less likely to end up with their own Ryan Howard problem.

This would be especially good for Met fans if that money that would have gone to fill the 1B hole went to a guy like Cliff Lee or Carl Crawford. (Speaking of 2011 FA, I wonder how Brandon Webb will do. Talk about your expensive injury.)
   63. Freeballin' (Tales of Met Power) Posted: July 23, 2010 at 11:07 AM (#3596967)
26. Walt Davis Posted: July 21, 2010 at 04:00 PM (#3595441)
Boy am I in a pickle ...

Jason Bay is a Met and I loathe the Mets ...

I also loathe Jeff Pearlman ...


In case any of you were still confused about post [2].
   64. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: July 23, 2010 at 12:26 PM (#3596989)
In case any of you were still confused about post [2].

Give it up, Free. If you look at posting history here, you will be hard-pressed to find a more informative and dispassionate analyst than Walt. What Walt posited on Davis is rational thinking; Davis' unusual career to date may indicate a player outside the norm as the Mets followers have pointed out, but Walt's analysis still holds up as a reasonable caution about over-excitedness. Go ahead and be excited, be a fanboy if you'd like*; just don't bet the farm on Ike Davis being a superstar.

*Heck I'm still rooting for Kyle Kendrick, but my mind knows that as constituted, he's a 5th starter whom you would always like to replace if he's in your rotation.
   65. Ray (RDP) Posted: July 23, 2010 at 02:26 PM (#3597091)
At the very least, Davis isn't a problem.


That's damning with faint praise. He's a first baseman with a 103 OPS+. He hasn't helped.

Daniel Murphy drew the ire of Mets fans last year for posting a 95 OPS+. They're really not that far apart.
   66. Freeballin' (Tales of Met Power) Posted: July 23, 2010 at 02:37 PM (#3597099)
Give it up, Free. If you look at posting history here, you will be hard-pressed to find a more informative and dispassionate analyst than Walt. What Walt posited on Davis is rational thinking; Davis' unusual career to date may indicate a player outside the norm as the Mets followers have pointed out, but Walt's analysis still holds up as a reasonable caution about over-excitedness. Go ahead and be excited, be a fanboy if you'd like*; just don't bet the farm on Ike Davis being a superstar.


I'm certainly not betting on Ike Davis becoming a superstar. I expect he'll be a solid major league regular.

I was just pointing out that Walt's post was a half-cocked hitjob by a guy who admittedly "loathes" the Mets. I know I'm not supposed to criticize BBTF royalty, but I'm surprised any of you are really disagreeing with me here.
   67. Ray (RDP) Posted: July 23, 2010 at 02:38 PM (#3597100)
The Mets have been streaky this year, looking alternately as if they're great and horrible at different times. As usual, reality lies in the middle. They're a .500 team, maybe a little above, and that's reflected fairly well in their records: 49-47 actual, 51-45 pythag.

I mean, how good can a team be expected to be with an offense like this. Players listed are those with the most PAs at the respective positions:

Barajas C
Davis 1B
Castillo 2B
Reyes SS
Wright 3B
Bay LF
Pagan CF
Francoeur RF

You've got basically three core guys there who could have been expected to be good players (or even above average) for their respective positions -- Reyes, Wright, and Bay. Bay has slumped, but, then, Pagan is turning in a pleasantly surprising year, holding the gains he made last year.

The others aren't helping. Francoeur in particular has killed them -- and what did people expect? It's just not a powerhouse lineup. Granted the team lost Beltran, but lots of teams suffer injuries.

The pitching is fine, but it isn't _that_ good that it can paper over a bad offense.
   68. Freeballin' (Tales of Met Power) Posted: September 08, 2010 at 01:10 PM (#3635824)
113 OPS+, +12.5 UZR

How's this comparison looking?
   69. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: September 08, 2010 at 02:00 PM (#3635853)
113 OPS+, +12.5 UZR

How's this comparison looking?


WAR= 2.0
Jacobs' career= -1.3
   70. Freeballin' (Tales of Met Power) Posted: September 08, 2010 at 07:40 PM (#3636249)
Davis wins!!

The correct answer is, of course, Josh Thole.
   71. Freeballin' (Tales of Met Power) Posted: September 12, 2010 at 01:22 PM (#3639034)
116

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