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The Forest Fire: May 30, 2012

Sending Ike Down Could Help Him In The Long Run

When he came onto the scene in April 2010, he reminded me of former New York Mets first baseman John Olerud, but with more power and decent speed. I envisioned a trio of him, Jose Reyes and David Wright as the constants of the Mets infield for the next decade. How wrong was I, with Reyes now in Miami?

If there’s one thing I think the Mets should do, at least for a “little while” with former first round MLB draft pick and current first baseman Ike Davis, is to send him down to the minor leagues.

I’m a fan of Davis. I still am, but he needs a retooling of his approach at the plate and his overall swing, which carries a noticeable hitch since his bout with Valley Fever this past spring training.

Davis, who is hitting .156 in 141 at-bats as of press time, is not showing the power he exhibited in early 2011. There is something fundamentally wrong with his swing and it starts with that high knee kick before the bat follows through to the ball.

After opening the season in a dreadful 0-for-18 slump, Davis is hitting just .125 in the month of May. With the dog days of summer approaching, whether or not outfielder Lucas Duda mans the right side of the infield is pretty much moot.

Davis already has 43 strikeouts as of May 24 and the All-Star break is still a ways off. He’s been antsy in the batters box, can’t handle off-speed pitches like he did last year and looks lost after he takes a called third-strike.

Kirk Nieuwenhuis is progressing and Mike Baxter, a local Queens product, has proved he’s worth a spot on the 25-man roster. The Mets could keep their core young talent in Flushing while working out the kinks with Davis in Florida.

Make no mistake. I contend Ike Davis will be a premier first baseman in the MLB…just not right now. I feel he will be a force to be reckoned with at one point at Citi Field…one day soon.

Can I handle off-speed pitches? No. Throw down a bunt? I used to. But Davis…he, I thought, was a can’t-miss prospect. Maybe he still is. Maybe he just needs a jolt to get him going.

Maybe some Port St. Lucie sunshine will do the trick.