General : : Professional
Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Mets and PG Agree: We Like Ike (Davis)

Jim Ecker        
Ike Davis woke up Monday morning as a member of the Buffalo Bisons. By Monday night, he was the starting first baseman for the New York Mets and went 2-for-4 with an RBI single in New York’s 6-1 victory over the Chicago Cubs on ESPN.

Mets fans, starving for success and a young savior, welcomed Davis to New York with open arms and open hearts. They love him already. That doesn’t surprise any of us at Perfect Game USA, because we’ve liked him since he was a 17-year-old kid in high school.

Davis, now 23, attended four Perfect Game events in 2004 and was selected for the Aflac All-American Game that year. David Rawnsley, our National Scouting Director, wrote two glowing reports about the left-handed hitting first baseman that summer, predicting big things. Rawnsley, as usual, was right.

Here are excerpts from Rawnsley’s first scouting report on Davis. Remember, this was six years ago:

“Davis ranks as the top-hitting first baseman in the 2005 Class,” Rawnsley wrote, referring to the high school senior class of 2005. “He’s still projectable both in his future strength gains and in developing more lift in his swing. Davis is also a smooth-fielding first baseman who throws in the mid-to-upper 80’s off the mound. Ike is a good contact hitter with off-the-chart power projection. Mid-order hitter in college or pro ball. Pro scouts will follow him like a hawk as he is a potential high draft pick in June (of ’05). He is a very good student. He was selected to the Aflac All-American Team.”

Rawnsley filed a longer, more-detailed report a little later during the summer of ’04. By then, he liked him even more.

“Ike Davis is the son of former Major League pitcher Ron Davis,” Rawnsley noted. “Ike can’t be making his father too happy in one sense, and that is (because) he stands a very good chance of making professional life miserable for pitchers in the future.

“Davis is a long-levered first baseman who ranks right up at the top of the 2005 class in strength and power projection. The ball jumps off his bat with authority, and he peppered the right-field bleachers at Tropicana Field with line drives during batting practice at the Perfect Game National Showcase. His strength and bat speed make the fences look short.

“Perhaps the best thing about Davis’ swing and approach is there is plenty of room for improvement,” Rawnsley continued. “He doesn’t get much use of his lower half in his swing at present, and his best shots have more of a line-drive trajectory rather than the high back-spinning fly balls that will run up his home-run numbers as he matures. They are both things that young hitters tend to learn and adjust to over time, especially when they aren’t pushed or pressured to change.

“Davis’ secondary tools play well, too,” Rawnsley said. “He’s a smooth fielder at first base and can throw in the upper 80’s off the mound, where some more lower-body involvement would probably push him into the low 90’s. Major League comparison: Casey Kotchman.”

Davis, listed by the Mets at 6-foot-4, 215 pounds, is strictly a first baseman these days, but maybe he’ll be pressed into pitching if the Mets get into another of those 20-inning games with St. Louis this season. He probably still has the arm.

Tampa Bay selected Davis in the 19th round of the 2005 draft, but he enrolled at Arizona State instead and spent three years with the Sun Devils. The Mets grabbed him with the 18th pick in the first round of the 2008 draft, and he made a quick tour of the minor leagues before landing in New York on Monday.

Davis hit .480 with three homers in spring training for New York this year and was hitting .364 at Triple-A Buffalo before being summoned to the Big Apple. He’s currently hitting .500 in the big leagues, so life is good.

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