Ike Davis again struggling out of the gate 

April, 26, 2013
Judging by my Twitter feed, it sure seems like a whole lotta people are interested in what New York Mets first baseman Ike Davis does on a daily basis, desperately seeking signs on whether to be patient with him or simply cut him loose. When Davis homered Thursday night, a steady stream of comments flowed in the immediate aftermath, many asking whether this is the start of something big. On Wednesday, when Davis singled in four at-bats but struck out twice, raising his batting average to .169, the theme was about dropping him for the likes of Yuniesky Betancourt and James Loney, which is telling for someone that ripped 32 home runs a year ago. Davis is clearly a polarizing fantasy option.

I want to be a Davis fan, and I think the power is real. After all, he did mash 20 home runs after the All-Star break alone last season, and his ability to take walks should result in a decent batting average. There also comes a time when the results just don't match what should occur on a consistent basis. Davis has hit four home runs this season, including the one he deposited over the right-center field wall against Los Angeles Dodgers closer Brandon League in the ninth inning Thursday, but the .174 batting average inspires little confidence. Didn't fantasy owners deal with this a season ago?

Why yes, Davis did struggle out of the gates in 2012, hitting .185 in April and .154 in May, but then things got considerably better. Perhaps his health returned after a bout with Valley Fever, or a mechanical change at the plate in stance and load did the trick, but anyone capable of hitting 20 home runs after the All-Star break is an intriguing fantasy option the next season. Davis hit .255 after the break, and I'd call that batting average a reasonable goal for 2013. Colleague Tristan H. Cockcroft and I have a Fantasy Focus Baseball board bet on Davis' batting average, and I took the under on .250. Frankly, it's too early to glean a target batting average over 500 at-bats for the streaky Davis, but the guy does possess proven upside.