There was no good reason for the Mets to begin the 2010 season with Mike Jacobs playing first base, but it didn't take long for the previous administration to realize Ike Davis deserved the job. Davis responded with a good year at the plate and plus defense, two things that aren't easy to come by for league-minimum salary.
As good as his rookie year was, Davis' bat profiled in the middle of the pack for major league first basemen. One of the exciting things at the outset of the 2011 season was that the Mets would find out just how good Davis might be.
The early returns were nothing short of spectacular. Davis hit .302/.383/.543 through 149 plate appearances, good enough for a .391 wOBA. And in that tiny sample of playing time, the defensive metrics still approved of Davis' play at first base. Unfortunately, those numbers accounted for his entire season, which came to an end on May 10, 2011, when he and David Wright bumped into each other in front of the pitcher's mound on an infield pop fly. And then came the injury updates, which James detailed in his postmortem on first base.
Even without Davis for the majority of the year, the Mets were able to score runs fairly well. Had Davis played 150 games or so, they likely would have had an even more potent offense, and there's his defense at first base would have been a boost on a team that lacked fielding prowess in general.
But Ike was missing for almost the entire year, hurting the team in the short-term and making everyone wait another year to find out what his ceiling might be at the major league level. If he can produce anything close to his abbreviated line from this year, the Mets lineup could still be quite good, even if Jose Reyes leaves town.