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Overall Grade: B
Despite missing the vast majority of the 2011 season with an ankle injury and battling valley fever during spring training, the expectations for Ike Davis this year were still very high at the start of the season. However, after the first two months, the Mets and their fans wondered if Davis was the same player.
Davis was hitless to start the season until his sixth game and it did not get much better throughout April and May. He started getting benched in favor of Justin Turner against left-handed pitchers and was just lost at the plate for a while. On June 1, his average was just at .167. Nonetheless, Terry Collins and the Mets front office did not give up on the young first baseman. That patience certainly paid off.
After having just six home runs and 10 RBI in April and May combined, Davis hit six home runs and drove in 13 RBI in June alone. Davis finally started to come around in the middle of June against the Rays and then homered in consecutive games the following week against the Orioles. The real turning point though was during a road trip against the Cubs and Dodgers. It was in those two series that Davis really showed everyone that his hitting was back.
By July, Davis' season long slump was gone. Despite a .221 average for the month, he hit nine home runs, including three in one game against the Diamondbacks. He then batted .287 with six home runs in August and .242 with seven home runs in September and October.
During his resurgent second half, Davis returned to being the slugging cleanup hitter he was in 2010, but at a whole new level. He started driving the ball out of the park with authority and was arguably one of the best hitters in the league during the second half.
Davis had more success away from Citi Field with 21 home runs and 51 RBI in all other stadiums. Furthermore, he only batted .188 at Citi Field. Nonetheless, he once again became the Mets' feared cleanup hitter and by far the team's best source of power.
Defensively, Davis did not make any more catches over the dugout rail, but still played well in the field. In fact, Davis most likely did not get sent down to the minor leagues in June because he provided reliable defense at first base. Davis finished this year with a .994 fielding percentage and eight errors.
While he may be a candidate for the NL Gold Glove Award this year, there is no question that Davis is due to earn at least a few Gold Glove Awards during his career. His defense has made the defense of his fellow infielders better as well.
Most importantly though, Davis remained healthy for the entire season this year and that is always a good sign for someone that only played in 36 games a year ago.
With the 2012 season complete, Davis should now be viewed as a potential cornerstone player. That is unless the Mets decide to trade him this offseason. It would be a risky move and would only be done for at least one proven power hitting first baseman or outfielder in return. Regardless, Davis' value is much greater to the Mets than on the open market.
All in all, Davis' first two months of the season were awful to say the least, but his offensive resurgence in the second half, plus his steady defense in the field are what ultimately gave him a "B" for the season. Thirty-two home runs and 90 RBI is something Davis should not only be very proud of, but look to build upon going forward as well.