(This article was recently updated based on current ADP trends)
It was the best of times, it was the blurst of times. That pretty much sums up Ike Davis’s 2012 season. Following a lost 2011 season that saw him play only 36 games, Mets fans expected him to anchor the middle of the lineup. But it was not to be. At the start of June, Ike was on the verge of being sent to the minors—and deservedly so. The lingering effects of his "valley fever" sickness clearly affected his game, and in part yielded to: an average below .200, 49 K against just 27 hits, and a measly 12 BB in 171 PA. Fortunately for him, the Mets didn't have any serviceable replacements (which says something about the Mets). So they kept him in the lineup and Ike eventually responded, demonstrating that he has the potential to be a major league slugger and top-tier power guy.
Ike went for 20 HRs in the second half - fifth in the league behind the likes of Miguel Cabrera (26 HR) and Chase Headley (23 HR), despite having almost 30 less plate appearances than Miggy and Chase. By year’s end, Ike was somehow second in the entire league with a 16.2 AB/HR ratio and was surprisingly tied for 14th overall with his 32 HRs. Entering his age 25 season and fully healthy, RotoBaller thinks that Ike can do some damage this year. He has already shown glimpses of his big upside, and still has room for improvement.
One big drawback for Ike Davis is his performance against LHP, and that's a problem he’s dealt with for the entirety of his career to this point. He had a .174 average in 2012, and has a career .217 average against lefties with poor power production. He did suffer from an obscenely low .193 BABIP in 2012 against lefties, so he should improve on that number somewhat. But it’d be unrealistic to expect a drastic turnaround and suddenly have splits to brag about. That will be a drag on his overall batting average, and you should really only expect a BA around .260-.270 for the 2013 season. His .227 average in 2012 was dragged down by an unlucky .246 BABIP, which is about 80 points below his 2010 and 2011 BABIP. Add in a few more balls that fall in play, and suddenly a .260 BA seems very obtainable.
RotoBaller's 2013 Fantasy Baseball Sleeper Score: 5
(scores are from 1 - 10, with 10 being the biggest sleeper potential based on current ADPs)
RotoBaller's 2013 Fantasy Baseball Projection: .276/34/91/78/1
RotoBaller's Target Draft Rounds: Rounds 8-9
Ike's ADP has been climbing recently, and is being drafted higher up around the 85th pick. RotoBaller thinks this is a fair value as he could put up 6th or 7th round numbers, but the current draft price is a little high so we're giving him a low "sleeper rating". The real reason to draft Ike is for his solid HR / RBI production, but he also has plenty of upside. If you believe that his second-half 2012 production is closer to the real Ike, then you could get a real deal 2013 draft-day bargain. He could be a steal compared to guys like Allen Craig, Mark Trumbo, or Freddie Freeman - all guys that are going a few rounds before Davis. If Ike is still around by around the 100th pick, snag him with confidence. Because if he replicates last year's 2nd half numbers, or even comes close, you'll be reaping the draft day rewards.
Be sure to check out RotoBaller’s full Fantasy Baseball First Base Rankings for 2013.