Saturday, March 20, 2010

Who’s on First?

So with a few weeks of spring training yet, it seems that Mets’ manager Jerry Manuel is still stating that the first base position is an open competition. In that mix are encumbent Daniel Murphy, veteran Mike Jacobs and rookie Ike Davis.

As of yesterday, Murphy was hitting .148, 1 HR, 1 RBI and 6 Ks in 30 at-bats. Jacobs is hitting .200 with no home runs and 2 ks in 20 at-bats. Davis is hitting a whopping .500 with 2 HRs, 9 RBI and 7 Ks in 22 at-bats.

From listening to sports talk radio in New York the general consensus seems to be that people want Ike Davis’ run at first to start now.

I think that would likely be a mistake.

Listen, I’m as excited about Davis as anyone. I see him as a John Olerud type of player. Some decent power with excellent contact and on base percentage skills, strong defense and good baseball smarts.

However, I’d like to give him another year starting at AAA before thrusting him into the spotlight at Citifield.

First off, you cannot use the limited at bats all three players have compiled as a true basis for what they are going to do this season. Twenty to thirty at-bats is nothing.

Second, you have to understand something here. All three players are doing totally different things right now. Their approach isn’t on the same plane. Murphy is experimenting and looking to make some adjustments. 1st base is his job to lose. Jacobs is just trying to do what he can to make the team. He’s not even assured of a role at all. Davis is just looking to prove that he belongs. He’s looking to make people open their eyes to him and leave a lasting impression. He knows that odds are he’s heading to AAA but it looking to make that decision as hard to make as possible, and in that he has totally succeeded.

Frankly, I’d be shocked if Murphy wasn’t the starting 1st basemen when the team heads north. It seems that Jacobs, with his large power potential, has a leg up on the last bench spot. I’m not too sure I like that idea. I like Jacobs, but don’t feel he’d work out too well as a bat off the bench. I actually would prefer Frank Catalanotto or Chris Carter. I love the way Carter looks and was happy the Mets got him from the Red Sox in the Wagner trade last year. I think he could be a solid player.

In any case… temper those thoughts of Davis. I think he WILL be the starting 1st baseman for the Mets in 2011, but let’s not rush him too much, ok?

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