2010 Postmortem: First Base

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First base was The Ike Show this season so the focus will be on him. Ike was called up in mid-April after the ineffective Mike Jacobs was demoted. He became an instant fan favorite, thanks to a hot start, some clutch hitting and a t-shirt friendly first name. Then came a stretch in the summer months where it looked like he was merely doing a Daniel Murphy impression. After an 0-for-3 night in Houston on August 19th his OPS fell to .730. However, from that point through game 162 he posted a .950 OPS.

Ike's final slash line of .264/.351/.440 plowed through his preseason projections -- CHONE said .234/.304/.385, ZiPS .227/.302/.388. Perhaps the most impressive aspect of his offensive game was his control of the strike zone. His walk rate was a robust 12.0%, 11th best in the NL, and his strikeout rate was 26.4%. Both are consistent with his minor league performance and the walk rate is particularly encouraging. His power numbers (slugging percentage and isolated power) were just slightly below average for a first baseman.

Scouts and statistics agree on Ike's defense -- it was above average overall and superb at times. The metrics pegged him as something like a +5 < x < +10 defender. That's Gold Glove caliber. A more conservative projection going forward is probably 0 < x < +5 -- still strong.

Ike exceeded my modest expectations. Outside of Reese Havens and Jenrry Mejia, few Mets prospects have excited me in recent years. I couldn't shake concerns about Ike's swing mechanics and ability to hit lefties. This season made me re-evaluate. If he can jack the Iso up to .210 or so, and post an OPS around .825, he becomes a 3.5-4 win player. A cost-controlled, well above average position player? Yes please. Although Jeff Pearlman and his "resident baseball head" Rob envision Ike DH'ing for Cleveland within three years. Strange, considering Ike's bat is a far bigger question mark than his glove. But Jeff writes for Sports Illustrated so what do I know?!

None of the other five men who played first base in 2010 are expected to be on the 2011 Opening Day roster. Check out Chris McShane's post from yesterday for more on Ike.

Desired 2011 starting first baseman: Ike Davis

Projected 2011 starting first baseman: Ike Davis

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