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Ike Davis' Strange Season

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Going into spring training Ike Davis was hoping to show that he was healthy, and show that his 2010 rookie season was not a fluke. Unfortunately at the beginning of spring training Davis contracted Valley Fever, and ever since then he has had an extremely strange season. He's showing even more power than he did in 2010, but that's about it. In fact his season is so strange that it's only happened ten times since 1920, and one player has done it twice.

Since 2000 only three players have had a BABIP that was less than or equal to .250, a wOBA less than or equal to .330, and an ISO greater than or equal to .230. As you know Ike Davis is one of those player. The other two players were Jose Valentin, and Jeromy Burnitz. Burnitz accomplished the feat in 2003, and Jose Valentin accomplished the feat in 2004. In Valentin's case his .258 ISO that season was the highest of his career.

Season Name
PA H BB% K% ISO BABIP wOBA wRC+ WAR
2004 Jose Valentin 504 97 8.50% 27.60% 0.258 0.237 0.317 86 2.3
2003 Jeromy Burnitz 505 111 6.90% 22.20% 0.248 0.248 0.327 99 1.4
2012 Ike Davis 549 111 10% 24.40% 0.231 0.24 60.324 105 1.2

Right off the bat we can see that a common trend for all three of these guys is the struggle with strikeouts. All three have put up strikeout numbers over 22%, and their walk numbers aren't impressive at all either. Davis is the only one out of the three to walk 10% of the time, and that's right at above league average. They also struggled when it came to extra base hits. None of three players got more than 23 doubles,and none of these players have blinding speed.

So if they didn't get many extra base hits, and had poor strikeout to walk ratios what exactly did these ballplayers do right? They hit a lot of home runs, which as a gave them impressive ISO numbers. All three hit 30 home runs or more, so it appears that when they went to bat they were either going for the long ball, or striking out.

Their wOBAs left much to be desired as well. Valentin was the only one with a below average wOBA, but if we want to talk about wOBA by position, then Ike Davis' has been .013 worse than the average 1B. While he has shown power, he has lacked plate discipline and hasn't hit a ton of singles, or extra base hits. The same can be said for Jeromy Burnitz.

Each of their BABIPs is interesting, because all three were either well below their average BABIP, or currently are beneath their average BABIP. In Burnitz's case in 2004 he managed to have a .304 BABIP which is a pretty big turnaround. For those interested he had a .279 career BABIP. Valentin got hurt the following year, but he also saw a normalization in BABIP, but his power was never the same. Both Burnitz and Valentin also saw their strikeout and walk numbers return close to their career numbers, so it's possible those two seasons were just flukey seasons.

Season Name
PA H BB% K% ISO BABIP wOBA wRC+ WAR
1955 Del Crandall 494 104 8.10% 11.30% 0.22 0.214 0.326 100 3.6
2004 Jose Valentin 504 97 8.50% 27.60% 0.258 0.237 0.317 86 2.3
1987 Mike Pagliarulo 582 122 9% 19.10% 0.245 0.236 0.328 99 2.2
1990 Rob Deer 511 92 12.50% 28.80% 0.223 0.242 0.329 107 1.4
2003 Jeromy Burnitz 505 111 6.90% 22.20% 0.248 0.248 0.327 99 1.4
2012 Ike Davis 549 111 10% 24.40% 0.231 0.246 0.324 105 1.2
1984 Ron Kittle 525 100 9.30% 26.10% 0.238 0.226 0.325 100 0.9
1983 Tony Armas 613 125 4.70% 21.40% 0.235 0.214 0.308 84 0.2
1986 Dave Kingman 604 118 5.50% 20.90% 0.221 0.204 0.296 86 -0.4
1982 Dave Kingman 607 109 9.70% 25.70% 0.228 0.207 0.315 98 -0.5

Here are the other ten times that it happened in baseball history, since 1920. Just from looking at the chart we can see that strikeouts are a big problem for nearly everyone. Del Crandall's season appears to be the main exception. Rob Deer's is the only player besides Jose Valentin to have less than a 100 hits during his season, and 27 were home runs, while only 15 were doubles. Dave Kingman made the list twice, thanks to his 1982 and 1986 seasons. All of these players managed to post impressive power numbers, but they got extremely unlucky when it came to their BABIP. Some managed to prove that is was a flukey season and bounced back the next season, but others were not so lucky.

All stats are from FanGraphs.com and are current as of September 25, 2012

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