One of the bright spots in the disappointing 2010 Mets season was the emergence of several young players who showed they should be able to contribute at the major league level. Ike Davis was one of those players, and he became a fan favorite quickly after he was called up to replace Mike Jacobs, who had unbelievably been the starting first baseman on Opening Day. He could hit tape-measure home runs, he played very good defense at first base, and he was a homegrown player.
Ike finished the season batting .264/.351/.440 for an OPS of .791 and OPS+ of 115. Amongst qualified first basemen in 2010, Davis' OPS was 13th. I thought it'd be interesting to compare Ike's first full-season to those of the 2010 OPS leaders at first base, and they're in that order from left to right. Here it is, with 560 PA being the arbitrary minimum for a full-season.
Clearly, Ike's season comes in at the lowest in the group, but that shouldn't be alarming. Most of the names on the graph are legitimate slugging first basemen on a yearly basis, and when it comes to the player's age during their first season, Ike is pretty much right in the middle. A quick breakdown of the age of these players:
In short, not all players develop at the same rate, so while Pujols and Cabrera were mashing the ball just as they were reaching legal drinking age, five of these first basemen didn't get a full season under their belt until they were older than Ike. To be fair, Ryan Howard was stuck behind Jim Thome, who is still mashing the ball, in Philadelphia.
Both in number and age, Ike Davis' year comes closest to that of Mark Teixeira. And although the gap is larger, it's not too far off from those of Prince Fielder and Billy Butler. Daric Barton had a near identical year, but he was also a rookie in 2010 whose development will unfold in the coming years.
Ike Davis may not have torn the cover off the ball in the way some of his peers did in their first seasons, but he did have a very good year. With modest improvement in the next season or two, he could certainly find a spot in the top 10 of first basemen OPS, a real asset for the Mets when combined with his excellent defense.