Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Ike Davis, and Don't Sleep on Fernando Martinez

Just a quick note here today, as I've had this on my mind for a while.

We've been talking about Fernando Martinez for a very long time. I'm sure it seems like he's got to be at least 23 or 24 years old by now -- and how could he not be? He's been on top of prospect lists since 2006. I could understand people getting frustrated at his lack of development, or his injuries.

The thing is - Fernando Martinez is still by far our best prospect. He only turned 21 this month.

I'm hearing a lot about Ike Davis recently. Ike Davis is alright - but he isn't within a mile of Fernando. Today, Metsblog had a post called Ike Davis is a Starting 1B. In it, they say "the Mets like Davis a lot, as do other teams, but they know he needs more time in the minors… but, not that much time."

Yeah... um, really? Davis is one year removed from hitting .256/.326/.326 in short-season A ball in Brooklyn. His 2009 season was much better, but as others have pointed out:

His ability to make contact is becoming a concern, [as he struck out 29% of the time in AA]... [Y]ou have to question his ability to hit for a consistently high average.

[In addition] while he hit .309 during his stay at Double-A, it came courtesy of a .381 BABIP. [He] will likely be exposed further as he moves up the ranks.

For anyone who doesn't know, BABIP stands for batting-average-on-balls-in-play. And for Ike last year, his BABIP was extremely high. Sure, his performance in AA last year was fantastic, hitting .309/.386/.565, but it was in only 207 at-bats. In that small of a sample, there is a lot of luck involved.

I don't think Ike Davis is close to the big leagues, and I think that the hype surrounding him and his eventual promotion to the Majors is extremely overblown. For example, Metsblog reported that the consensus on Davis is that "he seems poised and destined to play in the big leagues."

So who is almost ready? Fernando Martinez. Fernando hit .290/.337/.540 in AAA last season at the age of 20. And this is building on a season where, at the age of 19, and after a slow April, he hit .303 in AA from May til the end of the year(1). That's now 400+ at bats in AA and AAA at the age of 20 or younger where he obliterated the competition.

Where was Ike Davis at the age of 20? In his second year at Arizona State, over a year from being drafted to the Mets.

Ike Davis is way too far for the Mets to be making plans around him. He might take a whole year in AAA, he might take two years, or -- as he has not shown us anything over an extended period of time at a high level -- he may never make it to the show. He might, as Keith Law fears, not learn to hit breaking balls and be overmatched by major league pitching.

The one guy that should factor into our plans for next season is Fernando Martinez. Fernando needs more time in AAA as well, but remember - he is still only 21. He is phenomenally talented. I expect him to make a big contribution this year.

(1) Courtesy of, he was 72 of 237 from May to September, with 22 extra base hits.

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