Yesterday, Ron Davis told Andrew Marchand at ESPNNY:
"John Olerud," said Ron, the former Yankee reliever,Ike Davis and John Olerud share a few similar characteristics, but they are wildly different types of players.
who flew in on Tuesday to watch his son's second game. "He is a tall,
lanky guy, who is smooth around the bases. To me, everyone expects Ike
to hit home runs. Everyone in baseball expects everyone to hit home
runs. He can hit the ball a long ways, but he will be a doubles hitter.
If you look at Olerud, he always probably had three times as many
doubles as he did home runs."
First, the similarities:
- both play first base
- are tall, Olerud was listed at 6'5" and Davis at 6'4"- are agile defensively (Ole won 3 Gold Gloves, and Ike gets good reviews for his work around the bag)
- both enjoyed well-decorated college careers in the Pac-10 (Olerud at Washington State, Ike at Arizona State
- Both pitched in college
This looks like a good match, right?
Lets look at both player's minor league careers. Ha. Fooled you. That's difference number 1. Olerud never played a day in the minors, while Ike played a season and a half at Brooklyn, St. Lucie, Binghamton and then a week in Buffalo. So we can't run any comparison of their minor league numbers.
Here's Olerud's classic sweet swing:Difference number two is much more important: the two big lefties have very different swings.
There's a reason that writers and baseball executives used the word "sweet" to describe Olerud's swing. It was. His load is simple. His hand path is short and direct to the ball. His balance and weight transfer are subtle. Olerud won a batting title hitting .363 with the Blue Jays in 1993. I've never met anyone who thinks Davis will win a batting title, or hit .350 as Olerud did with the Mets in 1998 when he hit .354/.447/.551 with 36 doubles, 22 HR, 96 BB and 73 K. By the way, that's a ridiculous season. (There's no way I fully appreciated that year at that time, but we digress.)
Compare to Ike in the Arizona Fall League last year:Compared to Olerud, Davis has a longer swing with more movement nearly everywhere. He's going to strike out more than Olerud and will never hit for as high an average as Olerud did in his prime. The tradeoff is that Ike has more pure power. Lets compare their age 22 seasons when Davis was advancing through the Mets system, and Olerud was playing his second year in the American League.
Ron's comparison makes sense from a physical standpoint. From a swing mechanics perspective, which drives the shape of the player's MLB contributions, it doesn't make any sense to me.