When the 2013 season begins for the New York Mets, first baseman Ike Davis stands alone as their one player with the special ability to stir fan imagination like no other on the team.
The reason is as simple as it is raw: Power. Davis' left-handed swing is loaded with tremendous raw power. At 25 years of age, he is the Mets' best power hitter, leading the team with 32 home runs in 2012.
Even his name is filled with power. Ike Davis—it comes off the tongue like one of his long home runs being launched into outer space. It's clear, concise, easy to remember and yet unique. From day one, he already had a great baseball name working for him.
After bursting onto the Mets scene in 2010 with more anticipation and fanfare than a presidential motorcade, Davis has provided glimpses of shear power usually reserved for the games greatest long-ball hitters.
When Ike Davis hits a baseball; it stays hit. There is no such thing as warning track power when it comes to Davis. Darryl Strawberry had that same kind of power. In Davis, the Mets have someone who can crush a baseball that way once again.
Since his arrival, Davis has encountered some speed bumps along the way. 2012 marked his first full season since recovering from an ankle injury the previous year. At the time of his injury, Davis was batting .302 with seven home runs in 129 at bats.
How many home runs will Ike Davis hit in 2013?
In 2012, Davis struggled nearly half the season to regain his form. Still, in his final 75 games he delivered 20 home runs in only 251 at bats. When hitting cleanup, Davis responded with an astounding 24 home runs in 246 at bats and 54 RBI.
The 2013 season presents Davis with the opportunity to officially soar into the superstar stratosphere unobstructed. With his rookie trials and injuries behind him, Davis enters his fourth season as the Mets primary power threat on a team lacking star-power.
A matured Davis, along with third baseman David Wright, can provide the spark that keeps Mets fans interested in reading the box-scores while the team is looking to rebuild.
At 6'4" and 230 pounds, a mountain of a man, there is no ballpark that plays too long for Davis. That includes Citi Field, where he has blasted 24 home runs in 557 at bats.
Home runs have always been a magic formula for keeping hope eternal, and no-one on the Mets is better at hitting them as frequently as Davis. For his career, he averages one every 20.1 at bats. Look for that figure to improve.
Batting cleanup for the entire 2013 season, it is not unforeseeable for Davis to emerge as the Mets biggest drawing card, challenging for the National League Home Run Crown.
Davis, a fan favorite and an iconic presence even before playing his first game for the Mets, can be that comic book Superhero come to life in 2013—the stage is set.
Let's hope he does it. I think he will.
After all—he is Ike Davis.