FanPost

What's Wrong with Ike Davis?

I have never rooted for a Met harder than Ike Davis. I see him at the plate and I just feel his frustration and angst and my heart bleeds. That said, I feel like this has gone beyond a slump (spate of bad luck) and must be something else.

The basis for my fanpost is basically -- if there's nothing physically or mentally wrong with Ike, and there's nothing really different about his swing or approach, then what can it be? There was an article in Fangraphs awhile back, but at the time I thought Davis was just a victim of bad luck and there were flaws with the reasoning in that article. But I went back to look at the statistics again and I found something else in the data. There is definitely a candidate reason for why Ike Davis is broken right now that jumps out from the data. It looks like Davis' slow start is not only bad luck and sadly I don't see any quick fix for Ike.

I went to look at the data from Joe Lefkowitz' excellent pitch f/x tool. All of the images and tables I'm using are from that site (I just put it here so you can see them side by side). Obviously I want to compare some numbers from last year and this year to see what has changed. The idea is that Ike Davis is the same Ike Davis from last year, but something has changed to make him less effective.

The thing that jumps out is the Count Tendencies - the percentage of a pitch-type that a batter will see in a given count. For quick reference I present both 2011 and 2012. I've high-lighted the FF (four-seam fastball) row for both years. As you can see, there is a stark difference. Generally, hitter counts, such as 2-0, 3-1, 3-0 counts you will generally see a fastball. This is true for Davis in 2011. In 2012, as you can see, Ike has rarely seen a fastball on these counts, except against LHP in 3-0 counts. In fact, he is rarely seeing fastballs, across the board, at a crazy clip.

Count Tendencies
2011
Pitch Type 0-0 0-1 0-2 1-0 1-1 1-2 2-0 2-1 2-2 3-0 3-1 3-2
vs RHP
FS --- 2.3 --- 2.3 5.7 5.3 --- --- 4.2 --- --- ---
SL 14.1 16.3 7.7 7.0 22.9 10.5 21.1 18.2 8.3 --- --- 7.7
SI 15.2 7.0 15.4 14.0 14.3 10.5 15.8 22.7 8.3 23.1 13.3 ---
FT 6.1 4.7 7.7 11.6 11.4 10.5 --- 9.1 --- 7.7 6.7 ---
FF 30.3 34.9 30.8 23.3 20.0 31.6 42.1 22.7 37.5 38.5 66.7 61.5
CU 12.1 11.6 7.7 7.0 5.7 10.5 5.3 4.5 --- --- 6.7 ---
CH 14.1 18.6 30.8 23.3 20.0 21.1 --- 22.7 41.7 --- 6.7 30.8
?? 1.0 --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- ---
FC 4.0 2.3 --- 2.3 --- --- --- --- --- 7.7 --- ---
IN 3.0 --- --- 7.0 --- --- 15.8 --- --- 23.1 --- ---
FO --- 2.3 --- 2.3 --- --- --- --- --- --- --- ---
vs LHP
SI 4.3 7.7 5.9 12.5 5.9 --- 16.7 --- 17.6 --- --- ---
SL 30.4 23.1 23.5 43.8 41.2 36.8 --- --- 29.4 --- --- 54.5
CH 4.3 3.8 --- --- 5.9 --- --- 12.5 17.6 --- --- 18.2
FF 37.0 34.6 58.8 37.5 29.4 42.1 66.7 75.0 29.4 100.0 80.0 18.2
FC 4.3 15.4 --- --- 5.9 --- --- --- 5.9 --- --- ---
FT 4.3 7.7 --- 6.3 5.9 10.5 16.7 --- --- --- 20.0 ---
CU 13.0 7.7 11.8 --- 5.9 5.3 --- 12.5 --- --- --- 9.1
FA 2.2 --- --- --- --- 5.3 --- --- --- --- --- ---
2012
Pitch Type 0-0 0-1 0-2 1-0 1-1 1-2 2-0 2-1 2-2 3-0 3-1 3-2
vs RHP
?? 5.4 --- --- 7.7 --- --- 20.0 12.5 --- --- --- ---
SL 8.1 --- --- 30.8 37.5 16.7 --- 25.0 20.0 --- --- ---
CU 24.3 33.3 25.0 --- 18.8 29.2 20.0 12.5 40.0 --- --- 33.3
FF 21.6 14.3 41.7 15.4 18.8 16.7 20.0 --- --- --- --- 16.7
CH 16.2 19.0 25.0 23.1 12.5 25.0 20.0 --- 20.0 --- 100.0 33.3
FT 13.5 9.5 --- 7.7 6.3 12.5 20.0 25.0 --- 50.0 --- ---
SI 5.4 4.8 --- 15.4 --- --- --- --- 6.7 50.0 --- ---
FC 2.7 4.8 --- --- 6.3 --- --- 12.5 13.3 --- --- 16.7
FS 2.7 14.3 8.3 --- --- --- --- 12.5 --- --- --- ---
vs LHP
SL 23.5 25.0 60.0 40.0 --- 14.3 --- --- 20.0 --- --- ---
SI --- 12.5 20.0 --- 25.0 --- --- --- 40.0 --- --- ---
FF 29.4 37.5 --- --- 25.0 28.6 50.0 33.3 20.0 --- 100.0 ---
CU 5.9 12.5 20.0 --- 25.0 14.3 --- --- 20.0 --- --- ---
CH 11.8 --- --- --- --- 28.6 50.0 33.3 --- --- --- ---
FT 5.9 12.5 --- --- 25.0 --- --- --- --- --- --- ---
FC 23.5 --- --- 60.0 --- 14.3 --- 33.3 --- --- --- ---

Why no fastballs? Well according to fangraphs, career-wise Ike's a +12.0 wpa hitter on fastballs and -1.5. More importantly, there's his HRs versus whiffs.

Home Runs vs Whiffs
2011
2012

Here you see that all of his homeruns are on hard stuff. On his batted-ball by pitch type, you see lots of GB on slow stuff.

Contact vs Whiffs
2011
2012

This year, scouting reports have seemed to pick up on that. Ike Davis has not established that he can hurt you on curveballs or changeups, especially curveballs away. He's seeing a lot more of them and swinging at them more, possibly because he's ahead in the count. Interestingly he's making contact on them, but since he's very much a pull hitter, he's making weak contact.

In all, I think Ike is adjusting to an adjustment made by major league pitchers. They're not throwing him fastballs from behind, and getting Ike to whiff or make weak weak contact. In fact, he may be letting good pitches for him to hit go by too early in the count. His fastball swing percentage is down 48% to 42% this year. He's seems to be taking good pitches.

Here are his strike zone plots on fastballs vs offspeed from last year to this year. The plots are from the catcher point of view, so RHB here just notes where the RHB would be standing.

2011

vs. RHP - Fastballs vs. RHP - Offspeed
RHB
Pitches: 11
BA: .571
SLG: 1.429
S-M%: 0
TAKE%: 36.4
GB%: 28.6
LD%: 0
FB%: 71.4
Pitches: 9
BA: 1.000
SLG: 3.000
S-M%: 12.5
TAKE%: 77.8
GB%: 0
LD%: 100
FB%: 0
Pitches: 2
BA: 1.000
SLG: 1.000
S-M%: 0
TAKE%: 50
GB%: 0
LD%: 100
FB%: 0
Pitches: 16
BA: .143
SLG: .143
S-M%: 23.1
TAKE%: 56.3
GB%: 42.9
LD%: 0
FB%: 57.1
Pitches: 13
BA: .375
SLG: .375
S-M%: 0
TAKE%: 38.5
GB%: 37.5
LD%: 25
FB%: 37.5
Pitches: 9
BA: .333
SLG: 1.333
S-M%: 16.7
TAKE%: 66.7
GB%: 33.3
LD%: 0
FB%: 66.7
Pitches: 14
BA: .400
SLG: 1.600
S-M%: 0
TAKE%: 64.3
GB%: 20
LD%: 20
FB%: 60
Pitches: 11
BA: .333
SLG: .667
S-M%: 20
TAKE%: 72.7
GB%: 33.3
LD%: 66.7
FB%: 0
Pitches: 7
BA: .500
SLG: 1.000
S-M%: 0
TAKE%: 71.4
GB%: 0
LD%: 50
FB%: 50

Pitches: 4
BA: .000
SLG: .000
S-M%: 0
TAKE%: 100
GB%: 0
LD%: 0
FB%: 0
Pitches: 2
BA: 1.000
SLG: 1.000
S-M%: 0
TAKE%: 50
GB%: 0
LD%: 0
FB%: 100
Pitches: 2
BA: .000
SLG: .000
S-M%: 0
TAKE%: 50
GB%: 100
LD%: 0
FB%: 0
Pitches: 7
BA: .000
SLG: .000
S-M%: 33.3
TAKE%: 71.4
GB%: 0
LD%: 0
FB%: 100
Pitches: 5
BA: 1.000
SLG: 4.000
S-M%: 20
TAKE%: 80
GB%: 0
LD%: 0
FB%: 100
Pitches: 1
BA: .000
SLG: .000
S-M%: 0
TAKE%: 0
GB%: 0
LD%: 0
FB%: 100
Pitches: 11
BA: .333
SLG: .333
S-M%: 0
TAKE%: 45.5
GB%: 66.7
LD%: 16.7
FB%: 16.7
Pitches: 9
BA: .000
SLG: .000
S-M%: 60
TAKE%: 88.9
GB%: 100
LD%: 0
FB%: 0
Pitches: 4
BA: .000
SLG: .000
S-M%: 0
TAKE%: 100
GB%: 0
LD%: 0
FB%: 0
LHB


vs. LHP - Fastballs


vs. LHP - Offspeed
RHB
Pitches: 8
BA: .000
SLG: .000
S-M%: 40
TAKE%: 87.5
GB%: 0
LD%: 0
FB%: 100
Pitches: 9
BA: 1.000
SLG: 1.000
S-M%: 50
TAKE%: 88.9
GB%: 0
LD%: 100
FB%: 0
Pitches: 4
BA: .000
SLG: .000
S-M%: 25
TAKE%: 100
GB%: 0
LD%: 0
FB%: 0
Pitches: 10
BA: .500
SLG: .500
S-M%: 20
TAKE%: 80
GB%: 0
LD%: 50
FB%: 50
Pitches: 4
BA: .000
SLG: .000
S-M%: 50
TAKE%: 50
GB%: 50
LD%: 0
FB%: 50
Pitches: 3
BA: 1.000
SLG: 1.000
S-M%: 33.3
TAKE%: 66.7
GB%: 100
LD%: 0
FB%: 0
Pitches: 12
BA: .000
SLG: .000
S-M%: 50
TAKE%: 91.7
GB%: 100
LD%: 0
FB%: 0
Pitches: 3
BA: .000
SLG: .000
S-M%: 0
TAKE%: 66.7
GB%: 100
LD%: 0
FB%: 0
Pitches: 4
BA: .000
SLG: .000
S-M%: 33.3
TAKE%: 75
GB%: 100
LD%: 0
FB%: 0

Pitches: 2
BA: .000
SLG: .000
S-M%: 0
TAKE%: 50
GB%: 100
LD%: 0
FB%: 0
Pitches: 1
BA: .000
SLG: .000
S-M%: 0
TAKE%: 100
GB%: 0
LD%: 0
FB%: 0
Pitches: 2
BA: .000
SLG: .000
S-M%: 0
TAKE%: 100
GB%: 0
LD%: 0
FB%: 0
Pitches: 8
BA: .500
SLG: 1.500
S-M%: 0
TAKE%: 75
GB%: 0
LD%: 0
FB%: 100
Pitches: 6
BA: 1.000
SLG: 2.000
S-M%: 0
TAKE%: 83.3
GB%: 0
LD%: 100
FB%: 0
Pitches: 2
BA: .000
SLG: .000
S-M%: 0
TAKE%: 100
GB%: 0
LD%: 0
FB%: 0
Pitches: 8
BA: .000
SLG: .000
S-M%: 25
TAKE%: 75
GB%: 50
LD%: 0
FB%: 50
Pitches: 6
BA: .000
SLG: .000
S-M%: 33.3
TAKE%: 83.3
GB%: 0
LD%: 100
FB%: 0
Pitches: 3
BA: .000
SLG: .000
S-M%: 0
TAKE%: 100
GB%: 0
LD%: 0
FB%: 0
LHB
2012
vs. RHP - Fastballs vs. RHP - Offspeed
RHB
Pitches: 0
BA: .000
SLG: .000
S-M%: 0
TAKE%: 0
GB%: 0
LD%: 0
FB%: 0
Pitches: 2
BA: .000
SLG: .000
S-M%: 50
TAKE%: 100
GB%: 0
LD%: 0
FB%: 0
Pitches: 3
BA: .000
SLG: .000
S-M%: 0
TAKE%: 66.7
GB%: 0
LD%: 0
FB%: 100
Pitches: 6
BA: .500
SLG: 2.000
S-M%: 0
TAKE%: 66.7
GB%: 50
LD%: 0
FB%: 50
Pitches: 4
BA: .000
SLG: .000
S-M%: 0
TAKE%: 75
GB%: 0
LD%: 0
FB%: 100
Pitches: 4
BA: .500
SLG: .500
S-M%: 33.3
TAKE%: 50
GB%: 0
LD%: 50
FB%: 50
Pitches: 3
BA: .000
SLG: .000
S-M%: 0
TAKE%: 100
GB%: 0
LD%: 0
FB%: 0
Pitches: 3
BA: .000
SLG: .000
S-M%: 0
TAKE%: 100
GB%: 0
LD%: 0
FB%: 0
Pitches: 4
BA: .000
SLG: .000
S-M%: 100
TAKE%: 100
GB%: 0
LD%: 0
FB%: 0

Pitches: 2
BA: .000
SLG: .000
S-M%: 100
TAKE%: 100
GB%: 0
LD%: 0
FB%: 0
Pitches: 2
BA: .000
SLG: .000
S-M%: 0
TAKE%: 100
GB%: 0
LD%: 0
FB%: 0
Pitches: 1
BA: .000
SLG: .000
S-M%: 0
TAKE%: 0
GB%: 0
LD%: 0
FB%: 100
Pitches: 6
BA: 1.000
SLG: 1.000
S-M%: 20
TAKE%: 83.3
GB%: 100
LD%: 0
FB%: 0
Pitches: 5
BA: .000
SLG: .000
S-M%: 0
TAKE%: 80
GB%: 0
LD%: 0
FB%: 100
Pitches: 3
BA: .000
SLG: .000
S-M%: 0
TAKE%: 100
GB%: 0
LD%: 0
FB%: 0
Pitches: 5
BA: .000
SLG: .000
S-M%: 25
TAKE%: 80
GB%: 100
LD%: 0
FB%: 0
Pitches: 11
BA: .333
SLG: .333
S-M%: 12.5
TAKE%: 72.7
GB%: 66.7
LD%: 33.3
FB%: 0
Pitches: 5
BA: .000
SLG: .000
S-M%: 0
TAKE%: 100
GB%: 0
LD%: 0
FB%: 0
LHB


vs. LHP - Fastballs


vs. LHP - Offspeed
RHB
Pitches: 1
BA: .000
SLG: .000
S-M%: 0
TAKE%: 100
GB%: 0
LD%: 0
FB%: 0
Pitches: 1
BA: .000
SLG: .000
S-M%: 100
TAKE%: 100
GB%: 0
LD%: 0
FB%: 0
Pitches: 1
BA: .000
SLG: .000
S-M%: 0
TAKE%: 100
GB%: 0
LD%: 0
FB%: 0
Pitches: 3
BA: .000
SLG: .000
S-M%: 0
TAKE%: 66.7
GB%: 100
LD%: 0
FB%: 0
Pitches: 0
BA: .000
SLG: .000
S-M%: 0
TAKE%: 0
GB%: 0
LD%: 0
FB%: 0
Pitches: 1
BA: 1.000
SLG: 4.000
S-M%: 0
TAKE%: 0
GB%: 0
LD%: 0
FB%: 100
Pitches: 4
BA: .000
SLG: .000
S-M%: 33.3
TAKE%: 50
GB%: 100
LD%: 0
FB%: 0
Pitches: 4
BA: .000
SLG: .000
S-M%: 0
TAKE%: 25
GB%: 66.7
LD%: 33.3
FB%: 0
Pitches: 2
BA: .000
SLG: .000
S-M%: 0
TAKE%: 100
GB%: 0
LD%: 0
FB%: 0

Pitches: 0
BA: .000
SLG: .000
S-M%: 0
TAKE%: 0
GB%: 0
LD%: 0
FB%: 0
Pitches: 1
BA: .000
SLG: .000
S-M%: 0
TAKE%: 100
GB%: 0
LD%: 0
FB%: 0
Pitches: 1
BA: .000
SLG: .000
S-M%: 0
TAKE%: 100
GB%: 0
LD%: 0
FB%: 0
Pitches: 1
BA: .000
SLG: .000
S-M%: 0
TAKE%: 0
GB%: 0
LD%: 0
FB%: 100
Pitches: 0
BA: .000
SLG: .000
S-M%: 0
TAKE%: 0
GB%: 0
LD%: 0
FB%: 0
Pitches: 2
BA: .000
SLG: .000
S-M%: 0
TAKE%: 100
GB%: 0
LD%: 0
FB%: 0
Pitches: 2
BA: .000
SLG: .000
S-M%: 0
TAKE%: 50
GB%: 0
LD%: 0
FB%: 100
Pitches: 4
BA: .000
SLG: .000
S-M%: 50
TAKE%: 100
GB%: 0
LD%: 0
FB%: 0
Pitches: 2
BA: .000
SLG: .000
S-M%: 0
TAKE%: 100
GB%: 0
LD%: 0
FB%: 0
LHB

As you can see, not much has changed, he's just seeing way more off-speed stuff. He actually seems to be taking too much hard stuff in the lower part of the zone. His pitches per PA has increased a bit, but I'm not sure how much of that is deliberate or just a result of whiffing more on soft stuff. To add more trouble, he's been in 2-strike counts more than 64% of the time compared to 41% of the time last year, where he, for his career, owns a .142/.233/.231 triple slash line. I don't care who you are, it's simply tough to hit well with 2 strikes on you.

In conclusion, he needs to adjust to the adjustment and it hasn't been going well. However, I have faith that Ike Davis can adjust. When he first came up in 2010 he had a terrible stretch from June and July (.214/.287/.459). He recovered from that and I think he will again. He's a young player who needs to adjust to his scouting report. There have been a number of prescriptions (hitting to left field, learning to recognize offspeed pitches better, shortening his swing, moving closer to the plate, etc.) As I'm not a baseball hitting expert, I leave that to Ike, Hudgens, Terry, Ron Davis and Keith. However, what's troubling is that there's nothing to say he will adjust or that it's all simply a matter of just bad luck.

This FanPost was contributed by a member of the community and was not subject to any vetting or approval process. It does not necessarily reflect the opinions, reasoning skills, or attention to grammar and usage rules held by the editors of this site.

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