New York Mets: Can Ike Davis Regain Star Potential in 2012?

Shale BriskinContributor IIIFebruary 26, 2012

NEW YORK - JULY 29:  Ike Davis #29 of the New York Mets runs the bases after his third inning three run home run against the St. Louis Cardinals on July 29, 2010 at Citi Field in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Going into the 2011 season, Mets first baseman Ike Davis was primed to have an even better season than his rookie campaign in 2010, when he hit .264 with 19 home runs and 71 RBI.

He got off to a great start in 2011, hitting .302 with seven home runs and 25 RBI within 36 games, but Davis' season ultimately ended too soon when he rolled his ankle in Colorado, which ended up costing him the rest of the season.

A year later, Davis is in the Mets' Spring Training camp with more to prove than what should really be expected of him.

Due to his injury, many writers and baseball analysts think that he's already injury-prone, simply based on one injury, which is ridiculous. One injury should not determine whether or not someone will be injury-prone for his entire career.

The fact of the matter is that Davis will regain star potential in 2012 in a big way. With third baseman David Wright coming off a down year in 2011, the Mets will need a healthy Davis to be their main run producer this season. He is all but certain to be the Mets' cleanup hitter, likely between Wright and left fielder Jason Bay. Furthermore, with the Mets moving the Citi Field fences in, particularly in right-center field, Davis' numbers should improve dramatically.

Assuming he stays healthy, Davis' numbers in 2012 should end up much better than his rookie season. He without question has the potential to hit 30-35, or even 40 home runs, and drive in 110-120 RBI. Anything below 30 home runs and 100 RBI would be a huge disappointment for a slugger like Davis.

A reasonable average for him would probably be in the .270-.290 range, but if he hits over .300, that would definitely be a bonus. Also, with star first basemen Prince Fielder and Albert Pujols both now playing in the American League, Davis should now have a great shot at making the NL All-Star team this year.

Davis is not a perfect player though. He struck out a lot in 2010 and has had some mediocre issues with left-handed pitching. With time though, he should be able to improve those weaknesses.

He's not the most gifted base runner, but, being that he's a first baseman, that shouldn't be expected of him. However, as good of a hitter as he is, Davis' best strength is his defense.

Mets' fans will still remember the three amazing catches he made over the Mets' rail in front of their dugout in 2010. Besides that, Davis has always made spectacular plays in the field and there's no reason he shouldn't be able to win at least five or six Gold Glove Awards in the years to come.

Thus, it would likely be a huge surprise if Davis does not win a Gold Glove Award this year. Davis' defense might not be at the level that Mets legend Keith Hernandez once was, but the potential is certainly there.

All in all, a batting average over .270, 30-35 home runs, around 110 RBI, a All-Star nomination and a Gold Glove Award is what should be expected out of Ike Davis in 2012. The thought of Davis being injury-prone is very premature, and it would not be fair to give him that label after just one injury-riddled season.

Look for Davis to become the Mets' offensive leader this year, especially if Wright ends up getting traded by the deadline.