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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The Five “Acts” of Ike Davis’s Career, and Why Trading Ike Was a Mistake

Let’s recap Acts 1 through V:

Act I, 2010 and 2011: .271/.357/.460 over 750 plate appearances, 26 HR, 123 OPS+
Act II, early 2012: .202/.276/.404 in 344 plate appearances
Act III, late 2012: .256/.354/.551 in 240 plate appearances
Act IV, early 2013: .161/.242/.258 in 207 plate appearances
Act V, late 2013: .267/.429/.443 in 170 plate appearances

When I look at the various ups and downs in Ike’s career, I don’t see a player who cratered without explanation from a potential wunderkind in 2009-2011 to a dud thereafter.  I see a player who has been overall working his way toward a successful major league career, but who had two incredibly long and deep troughs.  You don’t luck your way into being that good, and you don’t luck your way into being that bad.  Other things are at play.

thetailor Posted: April 23, 2014 at 10:50 AM | 70 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: ike davis, mets, trades

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   1. Ray (RDP) Posted: April 23, 2014 at 12:08 PM (#4691996)
He's been all over the place but my guess is that sample size and BABIP explains much of it, even granting that BABIP is not as random for hitters as it is for pitchers.

We're carefully selecting 200-350 PA samples above.

I also suspect this type of career fluctuation is not _that_ uncommon among mediocre or above average hitters. Alex Rios from ages 27-31 jumped around as much as any player in recent memory.

Adam LaRoche has had wide variances.

Lots of hitters have lost seasons or partial seasons. Jermaine Dye. Rondell White. Vernon Wells.

   2. Russlan is fond of Dillon Gee Posted: April 23, 2014 at 12:44 PM (#4692064)
I am sure we could splice Duda's game logs in a somewhat similar fashion if we tried.

By the way, Allan Dykstra is hitting a Bondsian .419/.561/.814 in Las Vegas. I know everybody hits in LV and he's not a prospect anymore but he could be a non-horrible option if Duda flops.
   3. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: April 23, 2014 at 12:55 PM (#4692085)
You never know. Brandon Moss was a flop until he wasn't.
   4. Ray (RDP) Posted: April 23, 2014 at 12:57 PM (#4692087)
Well, with Moss the A's decided to focus on his strength as a hitter, so they platooned him.
   5. formerly dp Posted: April 23, 2014 at 01:04 PM (#4692098)
By the way, Allan Dykstra is hitting a Bondsian .419/.561/.814 in Las Vegas. I know everybody hits in LV and he's not a prospect anymore but he could be a non-horrible option if Duda flops.
Duda's actually looking OK right now. He just never displays the power that his body type and swing seem like they should generate. With Dykstra though-- I wonder if we'd be having this conversation if his hot streak came in July rather than April? It's impressive, but also as you note inflated by Vegas so that it looks more impressive than it is. Really wish they could get their AAA affiliate back to a normal offensive environment.

   6. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: April 23, 2014 at 01:04 PM (#4692099)
By the way, Allan Dykstra is hitting a Bondsian .419/.561/.814 in Las Vegas. I know everybody hits in LV and he's not a prospect anymore


.226/.397/.375 in A Ball
.245/.380/.433 in A+
.269/.415/.474 in AA
.419/.561/.814 in AAA

He's gotten better relative to league as he's gone up the minor league ladder- which is something you really want to see in a prospect, but it's taken him forever and he'll turn 27 next month.

My guess is that he IS a MLB caliber hitter now (he also hit. 274/.436/.503 last year in AA, league was .255/.330/.387), the fact that he struggled at age 22 in the Midwest League is of no current moment, but he's also likely peaking

   7. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: April 23, 2014 at 01:05 PM (#4692103)
Well, with Moss the A's decided to focus on his strength as a hitter, so they platooned him.

Sure, but he's a bonafide major league player who didn't have a linear development. Dykstra is too old to be a prospect but maybe he's good enough to be a major leaguer. The Mets should find out.
   8. thetailor Posted: April 23, 2014 at 01:05 PM (#4692104)
We're carefully selecting 200-350 PA samples above.

But that's sort of the point of the article. We're not doing that. The guy has legitimately had five discrete acts in his career that not only fluctuated between good and bad, but fluctuated between great and out of baseball.

Let's do Duda, to be fair. From 6/19/2011 to end of season, he went .316/.402/.531 in 230 plate appearances. However unlike Ike, that was Duda's only stretch like that. As far as I can tell his next best stretch of meaningful length was 203 plate appearances last year where he hit .241/.345/.471.

That hot stretch, and the other good stretch, appear to be the outlier for Duda -- and regardless of which way he turns out, his outcomes are all much closer to the mean than Ike's. Duda's also had stretches that were bad, like .219/.320/.370 for 222 plate appearances last season, but even that doesn't scream "definitely not a major leaguer".
   9. Ray (RDP) Posted: April 23, 2014 at 01:08 PM (#4692108)
I presume Allan is Lenny's son. I sort of have Allan linked in my mind with Scott Van Slyke.

(Hmm. From b-r it appears that Allan is in fact not the offspring of Lenny.)
   10. Ray (RDP) Posted: April 23, 2014 at 01:11 PM (#4692115)
But that's sort of the point of the article. We're not doing that.


? How are we not doing that? 344-240-207-170 don't look like random slices to me; the endpoints are carefully selected.

Anyway, my point is that my guess is that (ha) if you sliced up a few years of many hitters' careers according to 200 or 300 PA samples you'd find that Davis's splits, while extreme, are not SO rare.
   11. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: April 23, 2014 at 01:14 PM (#4692116)
I presume Allan is Lenny's son


not that's Cutter Dykstra who was taken 1 round after Allan in the same draft. Cutters; baseball career does not seem to be going so hot, but he did marry well.

   12. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: April 23, 2014 at 01:20 PM (#4692120)
That hot stretch, and the other good stretch, appear to be the outlier for Duda


he also hit .301/.389/.541 in AAA (550 at bats)

take that into account, and his two good MLB stretches that you term "outliers" look less like outliers tha his bad stretches that you deem his norm.

Duda has a 114 major league OPS+
Ike is at 112

You have to really parse the holy hell out of their careers to conclude that the "real" Ike is the good Ike and the real Duda is the bad Duda. If you really want to promote Ike over Duda better to stick with he's a better fielder and a year younger.
   13. SoCalDemon Posted: April 23, 2014 at 01:34 PM (#4692136)
I think the fact that the PA decline between each act may be the most statistically meaningful thing about this analysis. Combined, we are talking about under 3 years of PA, and the 601 PA from 2010 are so long ago that they probably say very little to nothing about his current ability. I think a 3/2/1 weighted mean of the last three years probably will give a better estimate of what to expect in the future.
   14. thetailor Posted: April 23, 2014 at 01:35 PM (#4692137)
he also hit .301/.389/.541 in AAA (550 at bats)

You are right. But he did that age age 24, 25, and 26.

You have to really parse the holy hell out of their careers to conclude that the "real" Ike is the good Ike and the real Duda is the bad Duda.

I get it, and I respect this position, but I disagree. Since that one hot stretch in the majors, Duda posted a 718 OPS in 401 at bats, a 767 OPS in 318 at bats, and 796 this season in 56 at bats. There might be more to Duda's story, but if there is, I don't see it but am willing to listen. Ike, I think there is more to.

? How are we not doing that? 344-240-207-170 don't look like random slices to me; the endpoints are carefully selected.

You are also right, but with the exception of ONE of these endpoints, they are not arbitrarily selected. First, he got hurt was out of baseball for a year. Second was an all-star break after which he started hitting. Third was start of a season. Fourth was after his minor league stint.

I understand that it's not useful to go to a guy's game log and slice things up to make a case - but in these cases there are actual real-life events taking place which separate those time periods (with the exception as I mentioned in 2012, in which he just appeared to come around in the second half)
   15. Sunday silence Posted: April 23, 2014 at 01:40 PM (#4692141)
Ike Davis does have a large platoon split, has that been factored into those stretches?
   16. SoCalDemon Posted: April 23, 2014 at 01:47 PM (#4692147)
2014; Duda 127 OPS+, Davis 127 OPS+.
2013-14: Duda 119 OPS_; Davis 94 OPS+
2012-14: Duda 109 OPS+; Davis 104 OPS+
2011-14: Duda 117 OPS+; Davis 111 OPS+
2010-14: Duda 114 OPS+; Davis 112 OPS+

I don't see anyway you can slice their careers and say Davis is better than Duda, offensively.
   17. formerly dp Posted: April 23, 2014 at 01:49 PM (#4692151)
Ike Davis threads are suddenly BTF's preferred flavor of clickbait. I like.
   18. thetailor Posted: April 23, 2014 at 02:17 PM (#4692182)
#16 the argument to be made is that Davis's overall numbers were pulled down by his atrocious performance across two short stints, one explicable one inexplicable. Merely taking the #s and averaging them out over periods of time doesn't say anything meaningful.
   19. SoCalDemon Posted: April 23, 2014 at 02:20 PM (#4692184)
A lot of very smart statisticians say otherwise.
   20. SoCalDemon Posted: April 23, 2014 at 02:27 PM (#4692187)
Just looking at his season OPS+s, Duda has an 82, 137, 99, and 119 OPS+ (for 2013-14 combined). How is that not (almost) as variable as Davis? Why is it less wrong to say he is a true 137 OPS+ hitter that has had a few atrocious stretches? Or, you know, you could look at his average performance...
   21. Ray (RDP) Posted: April 23, 2014 at 02:32 PM (#4692189)
#16 the argument to be made is that Davis's overall numbers were pulled down by his atrocious performance across two short stints, one explicable one inexplicable. Merely taking the #s and averaging them out over periods of time doesn't say anything meaningful.


Not sure I agree. If you just look at his year-to-year stats you see his OPS+ jumps around -- but then so do the sample sizes. When he's gotten a full season (2010 and 2012) he's hit to a 110-115 OPS+, which is where his career OPS+ is. In fact, if you then mesh together his three partial seasons (2011, 2013, and 2014) you get.... magically... an OPS+ in the range of 110-115.

He's streaky within season and it Looks Bad but as I'm trying to point out, doesn't seem so unusual to me. If the Mets hadn't sent him down last year he likely would have rebounded on the major league squad, but they're trying to win games and there's an irrational belief that major leaguers feel pressure in the majors that they don't feel in the minors, so he was sent down and then rebounded down there instead.
   22. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: April 23, 2014 at 02:39 PM (#4692197)
I'd want to see some reason why those cutoff points were used to give them any credence. If there was a known injury or family squabble or something like that that's fair. If it's just "these are times he struggled versus times he didn't" then I'm not really convinced.
   23. formerly dp Posted: April 23, 2014 at 02:44 PM (#4692206)
there's an irrational belief that major leaguers feel pressure in the majors that they don't feel in the minors
It's not irrational. It's not quantifiable. Do you understand the difference?

The Mets sent him down because he wasn't able to hit major league pitching. They wanted him to rebuild his swing, and his confidence, against pitchers who would be easier to hit. Baseball players are not robots; they have feelings and emotions, and those impact their performance in complicated ways. Just because we can't (yet!) measure those relationships does not negate their existence.

That said, I don't think the Mets handled the Davis situation, and 1B generally, all that well last year.
   24. thetailor Posted: April 23, 2014 at 02:54 PM (#4692219)
#22 - I'm glad you said that, because that's what the entire article is about. He was a great prospect and a flourishing MLB player before the injury, which cost him a year, and the Valley Fever. Second half of 2012 he rebounded to what you'd expect of him.

It's the first half of 2013 that is the real outlier - I have no explanation for that. But you've got 20 months that say he can hit major league pitching to a 120 or higher OPS+, and only 3 months that say otherwise without explanation.
   25. Ray (RDP) Posted: April 23, 2014 at 02:55 PM (#4692220)
It's not irrational. It's not quantifiable. Do you understand the difference?


If it's not quantifiable then there's no evidence for it and thus it's irrational to believe it, much less to make decisions based on it.

The Mets sent him down because he wasn't able to hit major league pitching.


Sure he was. He had before and he would again and he hit well when they sent him down.

Should they send down Granderson right now for "not being able to hit major league pitching"? Either Granderson is injured, in which case sending him down isn't going to help, or he's washed up, in which case sending him down isn't going to help. But if he's still capable of hitting major league pitching (and I think he is, though he may well be in decline) then sending him down won't do a damned thing for him.

They wanted him to rebuild his swing, and his confidence, against pitchers who would be easier to hit. Baseball players are not robots; they have feelings and emotions, and those impact their performance in complicated ways. Just because we can't (yet!) measure those relationships does not negate their existence.


You're treating players like robots, by pretending that slumps have to be driven by something beyond flat randomness, such as pressure or emotions or a family situation. There's zero evidence for that. Slumps are driven by either pure randomness or by injury (and there is evidence for that).
   26. thetailor Posted: April 23, 2014 at 02:55 PM (#4692223)
#23 - I didn't either, I think they should have left him in Triple-A, but I'm willing to admit when I'm wrong. They called him back up and he was good to finish out 2013.
   27. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: April 23, 2014 at 03:03 PM (#4692238)
But you've got 20 months that say he can hit major league pitching to a 120 or higher OPS+, and only 3 months that say otherwise without explanation.


Alternatively you've got 23 months that say he hits MLB pitching at less than a 120 OPS+. Without an explanation I don't think you can dismiss that period. Just looking at the article they do use arbitrary cutoffs. The July 25 cutoff used for Act III is completely random, there is no obvious reason for that one.
   28. SoCalDemon Posted: April 23, 2014 at 03:07 PM (#4692247)
That's the All-Star break, because those 3 days are when the magic happens. Or, yes, its an arbitrary cut-off.
   29. thetailor Posted: April 23, 2014 at 03:12 PM (#4692252)
#27 #28 - Yes, that's the one that didn't have some discrete event take place, merely the all-star break. I said that upthread, it's not some big reveal right now.
   30. formerly dp Posted: April 23, 2014 at 03:18 PM (#4692264)
Should they send down Granderson right now for "not being able to hit major league pitching"? Either Granderson is injured, in which case sending him down isn't going to help, or he's washed up, in which case sending him down isn't going to help. But if he's still capable of hitting major league pitching (and I think he is, though he may well be in decline) then sending him down won't do a damned thing for him.

Situations are unique, and I think it makes sense to take them on a case-by-case basis. You're acting like outcomes of intense, imprecise, and contingent processes are inevitable, because everything looks random from afar, and I'm saying that's not the case.

If it's not quantifiable then there's no evidence for it and thus it's irrational to believe it, much less to make decisions based on it.
If it's not quantifiable, there's no quantifiable evidence for it. That doesn't mean it doesn't exist, or that belief in it is not rational. There are other kinds of evidence.

You're treating players like robots, by pretending that slumps have to be driven by something beyond flat randomness, such as pressure or emotions or a family situation. There's zero evidence for that. Slumps are driven by either pure randomness or by injury (and there is evidence for that).
But flat randomness is all you're seeing because your tools are limited. If you could quantify 'family problems' or 'emotions' or 'pressure' better, you would have better data. Baseball is a difficult game that depends on being able to control one's body with precision. Lots of factors go into this-- you're not just discounting the ones you can't measure, you're claiming they don't exist. Players only perform in contexts; we don't know how they would respond to other contexts, because we can't know. We can only make our best guesses using the tools available. You're overstating the certitude those tools provide. Or "it's over. It's always been over." Sometimes, it's not.
   31. Ray (RDP) Posted: April 23, 2014 at 03:22 PM (#4692268)
If it's not quantifiable, there's no quantifiable evidence for it. That doesn't mean it doesn't exist.


But it's irrational to **believe** it exists, as I said. It might exist. It might not.

You can believe it might exist, or that it's plausible, but you can't believe with anything approaching certainty that it exists.

But flat randomness is all you're seeing because your tools are limited. If you could quantify 'family problems' or 'emotions' or 'pressure' better, you would have better data.


But since you can't, it's irrational to make decisions based on it, as I said.

Baseball is a difficult game that depends on being able to control one's body with precision. Lots of factors go into this-- you're not just discounting the ones you can't measure, you're claiming they don't exist.


I didn't claim they don't exist. I claimed there is no evidence for them.

   32. SoCalDemon Posted: April 23, 2014 at 03:23 PM (#4692270)
Yes, and that beign the case, I don't know why looking at the data like Ray did in #21 isn't more parsimonious. He has two full seasons that are not interrupted by injury or ineffectiveness; in those two seasons he had a 115 and 111 OPS+. His career OPS+ is a 112. I think you might be being just as influenced by his 149 PA with a 156 OPS+ in 2011 as you say others are being influenced in their perceptions by his, you admit, inexplicablely bad first 200 PA last year. To me it seems like the smartest thing to do is to regress the highs and the lows, and assume he's probably a true talent 110 OPS+ or so guy. Performance fluctuates, people get injured, players have hot and cold stretches....i don't want to say believing that his true talent is higher is irrational, but I do think separating the signal from the noise in a meanful way is incredibly challenging, with very high rates of error for those who try, which is why most projection systems operate basically the same way, and don't assume these hot or cold stretches are meaningful (or, more accurately, only assume they are meaningful very, very gradually. The in-season zips projection updates at Fangraphs can be very helpful for seeing this).
   33. formerly dp Posted: April 23, 2014 at 03:32 PM (#4692279)
You can believe it might exist, or that it's plausible, but you can't believe with anything approaching certainty that it exists.
If BJ Upton has a conversation with Chipper Jones, and suddenly starts hitting better, and attributes that change to Jones telling him to start his swing lower, does that suggest a connection between the conversation with Jones and the improved hitting? This is the sort of stuff that goes on, without us having data on, that can influence performance in all sorts of ways that wouldn't show up in statistical analysis. Davis was doing something wrong; he was trying all sorts of things to fix it, and none of them worked. I don't know what was going on in his head, and how that was impacting his play. The Met coaches, I assume, have more data on that (data in the form of conversations with Davis, and how those conversations square with their observations) than we do, and are in a better position to make informed decisions on how to move forward. Not all evidence lends itself to ready quantification.
   34. SoCalDemon Posted: April 23, 2014 at 03:40 PM (#4692287)
I think I'd want more than 12 games of .245/.362/.367 to draw any conclusions about B.J. Upton.
   35. SoCalDemon Posted: April 23, 2014 at 03:48 PM (#4692301)
Preseason, Zips had B.J. Upton as .231/.304/.413, so "good" B.J. Upton has an OPS of .729 vs predicted .717.
   36. formerly dp Posted: April 23, 2014 at 03:52 PM (#4692309)
I think I'd want more than 12 games of .245/.362/.367 to draw any conclusions about B.J. Upton.
I'm not hanging my hat on that one, it's just the most recent example I had where a player randomly talked with a franchise hero. Braves fans already think Chipper's piss cures cancer; I don't want to be complicit in fueling the legend.

   37. SoCalDemon Posted: April 23, 2014 at 03:52 PM (#4692310)
Re 33: I'm think its very possible that Chipper had an effect, and I think its very possible Upton will slip into old habits again, and then get another tweak, and then pitchers will catch on to his adjustments, and.....

But the question is, can you predict Ike Davis or B.J. Upton better, knowing about the talk with Chipper or Ike being sent down, than the projection systems can? My guess is, that for every person that you guess better, you'll get one wrong. We can always make up "just so" stories, but when predicting the future, these stories fall apart as explanatory factors as often as not.
   38. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: April 23, 2014 at 04:00 PM (#4692318)
I don't see anyway you can slice their careers and say Davis is better than Duda, offensively.


You can if you throw out Davis' slumps because "valley fever" and because... "crisis of confidence" and throw out Duda's 2011 because, well "outlier."

#16 the argument to be made is that Davis's overall numbers were pulled down by his atrocious performance across two short stints, one explicable one inexplicable. Merely taking the #s and averaging them out over periods of time doesn't say anything meaningful.


No, this is fanboy reasoning of the worst type, you can do this with literally every player who overall has played better or worse than you expected.
My Roto league has a farm draft portion, one year one of my farm guys was a 2B, who hit .347/.432/.588 in Rookie Ball and .332/.426/.563 in the Midwest league, and .318/.395/.591 in AAA

after getting jerked around by his initial team he hit .248/.312/.479 for team 2 in 2008 (OPS+ 117) and .299/.358/.533 in 2009 (OPS+ 143) and then hit for a 117 OPS+ in 213 games for the Mets.

Good hitter huh? Clearly a "true talent" 120 OPS+ or better guy right?

No, it's Scott Hairston who has a 98 OPS+ after 864 major league games (And who is also a great data point for taking minor league offensive contexts into account).

If you like a guy and think he can hit a 130, and some identifiable stretch of games he hits 130, the tendency is to look at that stretch and say, "See!" and also to look at when he's played poorly and discount them: "he was hurt" " he was being platooned" "he wasn't being platooned" "his wife cheated on him with the ball boy" etc. etc. etc.
   39. thetailor Posted: April 23, 2014 at 04:17 PM (#4692347)
I do think separating the signal from the noise in a meanful way is incredibly challenging, with very high rates of error for those who try, which is why most projection systems operate basically the same way, and don't assume these hot or cold stretches are meaningful

#32 I agree with you - separating the signal from the noise is difficult. But we try, right? Because we're fans. I think there are more compelling reasons to do it here than with others, which is kind of the point.

You can if you throw out Davis' slumps because "valley fever" and because... "crisis of confidence" and throw out Duda's 2011 because, well "outlier."

#38 That's just silly. I do indeed want to throw out one segment because of valley fever AND being out of baseball and in a cast for an entire year. Nobody is "throwing out" the second segment of 207 plate appearances. Even if you wanted to factor those 207 PA's into it, he's a much better looking player overall than Duda if the valley fever/ankle layoff is out.

Good hitter huh? Clearly a "true talent" 120 OPS+ or better guy right? No, it's Scott Hairston who has a 98 OPS+ after 864 major league games (And who is also a great data point for taking minor league offensive contexts into account).

#38 You might be right but you're not making your point with Hairston. His minor league profile was that of a guy too old for his level with a Triple-A OPS of 971 in the PCL at 24, 25, 26 .. or basically Davis's age now.

That said, Hairson put up a 83 OPS+ in 2004, a 94 OPS+ in 2006, a 117 OPS+ in 2008, and back down to a 103 OPS+ in 2009 (you only included his 2009 stats with SDP in 216 PA's, not his other 248 PA's with OAK, very misleading). He had an 86 OPS+ over 694 PA's from 24 to 27 years old.

That's a player with a little 27-32 prime of 104 OPS+. Unless you have some other compelling narrative about him, a career 98 OPS+ looks right to me.

   40. SoCalDemon Posted: April 23, 2014 at 04:28 PM (#4692358)
That said, Hairson put up a 83 OPS+ in 2004, a 94 OPS+ in 2006, a 117 OPS+ in 2008, and back down to a 103 OPS+ in 2009 (you only included his 2009 stats with SDP in 216 PA's, not his other 248 PA's with OAK, very misleading). He had an 86 OPS+ over 694 PA's from 24 to 27 years old.

That's a player with a little 27-32 prime of 104 OPS+. Unless you have some other compelling narrative about him, a career 98 OPS+ looks right to me.


Yep.

.....and we're not doing this with Ike because.....?
   41. Golfing Great Mitch Cumstein Posted: April 23, 2014 at 04:48 PM (#4692403)
After Frenchy, is Davis the most discussed player relative to performance on BTF?
   42. SoCalDemon Posted: April 23, 2014 at 05:14 PM (#4692454)
Wouldn't that be yuniesky betancourt? (Who has a .122/.122/.122 line in Japan right now, btw)
   43. thetailor Posted: April 23, 2014 at 05:31 PM (#4692495)
#40

Because there IS a compelling narrative to Davis... in that he had a better minor league pedigree, AND he did this (271/.357/.460 over 750 plate appearances, 123 OPS+) at ages 23-24 when Hairston was in AA-AAA, AND because he suffered a season destroying injury AND got sick with a disease that ended another player's entire career, yet he has persevered, and posted good enough numbers in the second half last year, in the spring, and so far this year.
   44. Walt Davis Posted: April 23, 2014 at 06:09 PM (#4692563)
You want consistency from Ike?

vs LHP

2010 295/362/443 (one of the great flukes in MLB history! :-)
2011 163/260/233
2012 174/225/335
2013 145/203/203
2014 000/125/000 (8 PA)

2011? Fueled by a brief Thome-esque 372/444/689 vs RHP. His next best year was a 868 OPS. His career BABIP vs RHP is under 300 despite the 373 BABIP during 2011.

As Bobm dug up in an earlier thread, Ike hits RHP at the league average for LH 1B. I suspect if you dig a little deeper into his hot/cold stretches, you will find periods where he saw more/fewer RHP than usual.

Here's how much randomness can affect things in small samples (cherry-picked).

From July 28, 2012 to Aug 25 2012, Davis had a 871 OPS in 97 PA.
From July 29, 2012 to Aug 25 2012, Davis had a 707 OPS in 93 PA.

On July 28, he went 4-4 with 3 HR. This is the first half of "Act III", pretty much all driven by one game.

Granted from Aug 26 to Oct 3 he had a 935 OPS. But even there ... from Aug 27 to Oct 2 he had a 822 OPS. He was 2-4 with 2 HR on Aug 26 and 2-3 with 1 HR and 1 double on Oct 3.

In total in Act III, he had a 905 OPS, 53-207 with 17 HR in 240 PA. Drop those 3 games and he's 45-196 with 11 HR in 228 PA. He goes from 256/354/551 to 230/332/449 which is close to his overall season numbers of 227/308/462. What if Davis had three lousy games instead of 3 good ones ... going 0-11. Now he's at 217/293/437 -- on July 24, he was at 208/276/404.

It's not fair to drop those 3 games of course and most player hot streaks outside of Sosa June 1998 are really the product of a couple of big games. But it's also silly to conclude that Ike Davis Act III was a different hitter than Ike Davis career based on three big games. Ike Davis 2012 was a fairly consistent hitter who had 3-4 extra lousy games before July 25 and 3 great games after July 25.

This is why it is silly to place meaning in small baseball samples. Somebody might have an explanation for why Ike Davis was better from July 25 2012 than he was through July 24 2012 ... but what they really need to explain is why he was a monster on July 28, Aug 26 and Oct 3. Maybe he had chicken for dinner the night before those games.

When did BJ talk to Chipper? I see he was hitting 162 through April 11 and 194 from April 14-22 but had enough sense to go 4-10 with 1 HR on April 12-13. He has walked like a madman in that second stretch though -- 8 BB in 8 G so a good 359 OBP.
   45. SoCalDemon Posted: April 23, 2014 at 06:10 PM (#4692564)
Setting aside this issue, it still makes sense to me for the Mets to trade him (whether they got enough for him is a separate issue). I don't think the Mets are expected to be in playoff contention for the next year or two, so getting some players that might (possibly, certainly not probably) help them in a few years when it might matter more seems like a reasonable decision to me. And, as others have pointed out, they almost certainly are getting little or nothing for Duda, because, while I think he is as good or better than Davis on offense, on defense, wow, he's.....like a drunk giraffe chasing a baboon. I hope 1B loves him more.
   46. Ray (RDP) Posted: April 23, 2014 at 06:20 PM (#4692568)
On July 28, he went 4-4 with 3 HR. This is the first half of "Act III", pretty much all driven by one game.


We call this the Mark Whiten trap.
   47. thetailor Posted: April 23, 2014 at 06:50 PM (#4692601)
The return on the Davis trade may still turn out to be essentially nothing, which reflects on the decision on whether to trade Ike or Duda (or stash one of them in Vegas)
   48. SoCalDemon Posted: April 23, 2014 at 07:15 PM (#4692618)
Sure, that's what a trade for prospects entails. Not only "may", but is very much likely to return nothing. That's the deal.
   49. The Clarence Thomas of BBTF (scott) Posted: April 23, 2014 at 08:32 PM (#4692681)
Walt Davis uses Granular Data! It's super effective!
   50. Russlan is fond of Dillon Gee Posted: April 23, 2014 at 09:59 PM (#4692789)
And, as others have pointed out, they almost certainly are getting little or nothing for Duda, because, while I think he is as good or better than Davis on offense, on defense, wow, he's.....like a drunk giraffe chasing a baboon. I hope 1B loves him more.

I think Duda will be adequate at first and I hope he will hit better if he doesn't have to field. Either way, the time had come to make a decision regarding Duda and Davis and I'm glad they did it.
   51. CrosbyBird Posted: April 24, 2014 at 11:40 AM (#4693149)
I'm in the same place. The Mets had to trade one of them, and I think the choice was basically between low-variance and high-variance versions of pretty much the same player. For a while, I was really in coin-flip territory with these guys, but I actually think they made the right decision on which one to keep, especially if the PTBNL is anything good.
   52. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: April 24, 2014 at 11:49 AM (#4693157)
(you only included his 2009 stats with SDP in 216 PA's, not his other 248 PA's with OAK, very misleading)


Yes it was wasn't it :-)

.....and we're not doing this with Ike because.....?


Well everyone not named TheTailor is doing this with Ike.

After Frenchy, is Davis the most discussed player relative to performance on BTF?


remember Hee-Seop Choi?
   53. formerly dp Posted: April 24, 2014 at 11:51 AM (#4693160)
Either way, the time had come to make a decision regarding Duda and Davis and I'm glad they did it.
Carrying three 1B wasn't really a great use of the roster, though I don't expect Abreu to be a better lefty PH than Davis would have been.

The Mets have a 10-9 record, in spite of hitting .216/.294/.308 on the season.
   54. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: April 24, 2014 at 11:54 AM (#4693163)
For a while, I was really in coin-flip territory with these guys, but I actually think they made the right decision on which one to keep, especially if the PTBNL is anything good.


I was actually of the mind that Davis was the better overall player, but might have some trade value as a consequence and that Duda was at best of interest to some AL teams.

My "gut," which I try my best to ignore, told me that Duda's a better hitter than Davis by a bit more than the margin he's displayed, but at this point the numbers are what they are, there's not enough of a hitting difference between them to matter one way or the other.
   55. formerly dp Posted: April 24, 2014 at 12:21 PM (#4693186)
I was actually of the mind that Davis was the better overall player, but might have some trade value as a consequence and that Duda was at best of interest to some AL teams.
I think defense will end up being a big tie-breaker here: Davis has always looked like a good fielder to my eyes, but his numbers in 2012 and 2013 didn't support that. Duda, at 1B, is the opposite, where I don't think he looks very smooth there, but he's had strong numbers in limited time.
   56. thetailor Posted: April 24, 2014 at 12:36 PM (#4693200)
#54 - I can't believe there wasn't an AL team that wanted Duda. You're telling me a team like the Indians (Raburn?), Astros (Guzman/Carter), Oakland (Jaso), Pirates or Jays couldn't find a spot for Duda at DH or 1B?

#55 - Found that interesting as well - I think Duda is going to end up slightly above average while Davis is a click or two better than him. Both are established as close to the mean though.
   57. formerly dp Posted: April 24, 2014 at 12:58 PM (#4693221)
You're telling me a team like the Indians (Raburn?), Astros (Guzman/Carter), Oakland (Jaso), Pirates or Jays couldn't find a spot for Duda at DH or 1B?
Well, the Pirates are NL, and they took Davis. The Jays, though, have Lind-- who profiles as a slightly better version of Duda/Davis-- and Encarnacion to split 1B/DH. Just looked it up, and it turns out Oakland has used Alberto Callaspo as their primary DH this year. Don't know WTF that's about...
   58. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: April 24, 2014 at 12:58 PM (#4693222)
#54 - I can't believe there wasn't an AL team that wanted Duda. You're telling me a team like the Indians (Raburn?), Astros (Guzman/Carter), Oakland (Jaso), Pirates or Jays couldn't find a spot for Duda at DH or 1B?


hey the Pirates found a spot at 1B for Davis :-)

Seriously I've been utterly baffled how some Al teams will go years with no production from their DH spot (Houston's DHs hit .198/.276/.337 last year, the YANKEES hit .189/.276/.307, Seattle hit .214/.287/.310 in 2012 and .226/.317/.333 in 2011) when guys like Mike Carp and Darin Ruf and Brandon Moss and Duda and LaHair and Nava and Carter and and and are either readily available or can be had for a fungible middle reliever
   59. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: April 24, 2014 at 01:06 PM (#4693228)
BTW that's right, the YANKEES DH(s) hit .189/.276/.307 last year.

:-)

ARoid DH'd for 16 games and hit .111/.262/.241 (when not DHing he hit like, well ARod)

Hafner was the primary DH and hit: .202/.301/.378

Wells DH'd for 22 games and hit .246/.321/.319

Ben Francisco 10 games: .100/.182/.100

Granderson DH'd for 15 games: .232/.306/.321
   60. formerly dp Posted: April 24, 2014 at 01:11 PM (#4693229)
That seems more like poor look than poor design. The Houston and Seattle lines are striking, though.
   61. CrosbyBird Posted: April 24, 2014 at 01:12 PM (#4693230)
I was actually of the mind that Davis was the better overall player, but might have some trade value as a consequence and that Duda was at best of interest to some AL teams.

I thought that too until I looked more carefully at the numbers, particularly the defensive numbers at 1B. Now I'm thinking that if one of these guys is better, it's more likely Duda than Davis. Ike Davis might have had higher potential, but he's 27 years old and has had at least three prolonged slumps in his minor and major league career. The player he is sounds very much like the player he's going to be.
   62. Ron J2 Posted: April 24, 2014 at 01:25 PM (#4693243)
#3 Al Martin was a stiff in the Braves minor league system. Granted he was only 23 when the Braves gave up on him.
   63. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: April 24, 2014 at 01:28 PM (#4693246)
So, I think the takeaway is that, if I squint just right, Davis is a "true talent" 118 rather than a 112 OPS+.

   64. Ray (RDP) Posted: April 24, 2014 at 01:47 PM (#4693266)
ARoid DH'd for 16 games and hit .111/.262/.241 (when not DHing he hit like, well ARod)


That's because he was DH'ing because he was hurt. He pulled his hamstring and DH'd through it because there were only 2 weeks to go in the season and the Yankees had an outside shot at a playoff berth. I don't know precisely when the injury happened but he had an .896 OPS on September 12th (about 135 PA) and then went 3-37 the rest of the way.
   65. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: April 24, 2014 at 03:14 PM (#4693374)
That seems more like poor look than poor design.


Well there's quite a bit of bad luck, but I think Wells/Francsico hit as "well" as could be expected.

Hafner just basically cliff-dived on them, but that's something you have to worry about with any player with a similar age and injury history...

Of course if ARoid doesn't get hurt his DH/non-DH splits likely even out a bit, or if Granderson doesn't get hurt...
But I can't remember the last time the Yankees had so many suck holes in there lineup- day after day after day... it was glorious
   66. Walt Davis Posted: April 24, 2014 at 07:59 PM (#4693654)
Seriously I've been utterly baffled how some Al teams will go years with no production from their DH spot (Houston's DHs hit .198/.276/.337 last year, the YANKEES hit .189/.276/.307, Seattle hit .214/.287/.310 in 2012 and .226/.317/.333 in 2011) when guys like Mike Carp and Darin Ruf and Brandon Moss and Duda and LaHair and Nava and Carter and and and are either readily available or can be had for a fungible middle reliever

It has pretty much always been this way. Teams have shown time and again that they would rather maintain defensive flexibility by rotating guys through the slot than play a defensively limited 105-110 OPS+ type as (nearly) full-time DH. If you can hit for a 125 OPS+ or better, teams are willing to consider using you as a full-time DH.

That said, if the Pirates are willing to play Davis at 1B and the Mets Duda at 1B then it would seem that any team looking for a 1B should have been interested ... and that could include teams that could have set up some sort of 1B/DH/something rotation of 4 guys through 3 slots.

DH through the decades

1973: average OPS was 720, the same as 3B, well behind all three OF and 1B. Worst sOPS+ were Tex at 81 and KC at 71. Several teams with below-average bats.

1983: maybe the year of the DH, OPS of 772, second only to LF. Only one team with below-average bats (Oak), several in the 100-110 range.

1993: 757 OPS, a bit ahead of CF/RF, behind LF, way behind 1B. Positional tOPS+ of just 103, 4 teams below average "headed" by the White Sox execrable 618 OPS.

2003: About the same in relative terms as 1993. Behind 1B/LF/RF but not hugely, well ahead of CF. 5 teams with below-average production, none of them embarrassiing.

2013: roughly league average, behind 1B/CF/RF, equal to LF and 3B. (Man, what a year for C!). Half the league had a sub-700 OPS (league average 725). OK, that may be among the worst ever.

Over the 41 years of the DH, p-i only identified 313 player-seasons with at least 81 games at DH. 1973 had 9, 1983 had 11, 1993 had 12, 2003 had 5, 2013 had 4. One of those 4 in 2013 was Kendrys Morales who is still looking for a job.

Players with at least 5 seasons of at least 81 games at DH: Baines, Baylor, Butler (counting 2014), Canseco, Chili Davis, Downing, Hafner, Horton, Cliff Johnson, Edgar, McRae, Molitor, Ortiz, Thomas, Thornton. McRae, Horton and Baines are probably the worst hitters of that bunch.

In short, we tend to think of the DH as a "free bat" but teams clearly don't see them as "free." This difference in perception is also made clear looking at the pay rates for DH. Ortiz still only makes $13-15 M a year and never made big money when he was younger either. Compare that to otherwise similar guys like Tex, Fielder, AGonzalez, Hamilton, etc.

Butler's 3 arb years and first FA year cost the Royals $30 M; the equivalent Freeman years are going to cost the Braves $47; Rizzo (not stellar) will cost the Cubs $36 for 4 arb years and 1 FA year; Craig, never more than 132 starts, will cost the Cards $31 M. So we have rough equivalence there but then the Royals aren't the brightest franchise.

Presumably this is driven in part by expanded bullpens. The cost of carrying a bat-only player has gone up as benches have shortened. But I did notice last year (just by chance) that TB and Balt (I think) both carried players for a significant chunk of the season who only DH'd while kinda sucking.

Also some of you apparently suffer from the misperception that the 2013 Astros were trying to win baseball games.
   67. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: April 24, 2014 at 08:08 PM (#4693658)
It has pretty much always been this way.


I know and it still kind of looks to me like it's a glaring market inefficiency that the smarter teams should be taking advantage of.

   68. Walt Davis Posted: April 24, 2014 at 08:24 PM (#4693666)
There were 12 DH in that list. For comps, AL only over the same time period, I found 39 1B with at least 5 seasons of 81+ games. Guys like Kotchmann and pretty much the entirety of Pete O'Brien's career on that list, you can see that teams have played plenty of not great-hitting 1B. With names like Vaughn, C Fielder, Sorrento on the list, you can see that teams are (for some reason) reluctant to move obvious candidates to DH.

God love them, the Rays were actually playing Sorrento in the OF for practically the first time in his career at ages 32-33.
   69. formerly dp Posted: April 25, 2014 at 06:48 AM (#4693805)
Callaspo hit another homer yesterday. Really does not fit the profile of a DH, but the A's seem to have the magic touch this year, Daric Barton excepted.
   70. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: April 25, 2014 at 10:15 AM (#4693893)
Daric Barton excepted.


Does anyone know what the deal is with Barton? Was he hurt? Other issues?

From his stats (minors and majors) he kind of looks like a guy who simply stopped developing at age 20 and began regressing (I call this Andy Marte syndrome)- but then he hit well enough in the show in 2009/2010 (ages 23/24) to make you think he could have a career... Then he collapsed again, showed some signs of life/usefulness 2013, and then now...

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