Twitter Q&A

I’ve been struggling with some early-season writer’s block, so I turned to Twitter for some help. Here we go:

I’m going to go with a shoutout to Montgomery Brewster and say “none of the above.” Wright’s very unlikely to be traded this season, as I’ve covered here ad nauseum. And given Bay’s veteran status and salary, he seems more likely to get benched, pawned off somewhere or even straight-up released than sent to Triple-A.

As for Davis, well, I was hoping someone would ask about Davis and several people did. I’ve noticed suggestions that he should be sent to the Minors starting to creep their way into Twitter and comments sections (presumably they’ve come up on talk radio too, if that’s your fancy), but I didn’t want to dedicate a whole post to a few rogue Twitterers and commenters.

I don’t think Davis will get sent to the Minors and I don’t think he should. He has looked awful this season, no doubt. Yesterday’s double-header, in which he struck out three times and thrice left the bases loaded, might mark the low point of his young career. Plus there’s that looming, mysterious Valley Fever thing, even if he’s never been officially diagnosed with it and has never reported any symptoms.

But it’s April 24th, and three weeks ago many Mets fans and analysts likely would have guessed Davis would be the best player on the team in 2012. It’s way, way, way too soon to panic over a slump, no matter how deep. Davis’ swing features a ton of moving parts, so when he struggles it’s easy to get caught up in scout-speak and start diagnosing all his issues from our couches. Remember, though, that even when he’s going well, nothing about his swing looks particularly pretty until he makes contact. I’m not a scout or a hitting coach so this is far beyond my scope, but it sure looks like Davis’ timing is off right now.

Davis says the ankle injury that ended his 2011 isn’t affecting him now, and I have no reason not to believe that. I wouldn’t be shocked, though, if the five-month layoff prompted by that injury is partly responsible for his current drought. He has also seen fewer fastballs than he ever has before and suffered from what seems like an extremely unfortunate series of bad calls from umpires — none worse than last night.

There’s burgeoning talk that the book on Davis is out and pitchers need only throw him breaking balls in the low outside corner of the strike zone, but that’s way easier said than done. Presumably when Davis straightens himself out, he’ll have no trouble laying off the breaking stuff that misses low or outside and hitting anything that creeps over the plate. Just give it time.

Which is to say, I guess: Small sample size, small sample sample size…

No sooner than Memorial Day. Two months’ worth of games still represents a very small sample, but that’s generally a good benchmark for distinguishing total flukes from things that might actually be happening.

Sure. I think most Mets fans would have signed up for a .500 start, for one thing. For another, and knocking on wood with crossed fingers, nearly everyone is healthy. Andres Torres is the only regular sidelined, and Kirk Nieuwenhuis has done more than an adequate job filling in. And the big thing, to me, is that Johan Santana’s shoulder is still healthy. Every start he makes without a setback means another. That’s good news.

As for the 4-5-6 hitters, it’s really only Davis that can be called “non-existent” to date. It’s a tiny sample yet and both Jason Bay and Lucas Duda have been frustrating at times, but offensive totals are so far down around baseball that their numbers hold up well against players at their positions and batting order spots. Bay’s .776 OPS to date is more than 100 points higher than that of the average National League left fielder, and slightly better than the average NL fifth hitter. Duda’s .732 mark is a touch below the .759 standard for NL right fielders, but better than the .709 average for sixth hitters in the Senior Circuit in 2012.

And of course, it’s still that time of the year when a good night can lift a guy’s OPS by 70 points or more. There’s a song about that.


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