Over the past month, the National League East division has quickly become one of, if not the most, interesting divisions in baseball. Three different teams have occupied first place since May 2, (the Mets, Phillies, and currently the Braves), and the difference between the first and last place teams is a mere six and a half games (as of Wednesday evening). All five teams in the division have quality players and the ability to win a lot of games, and I believe at least four of them will be playing meaningful games in September, Washington being the exception. But the factor that now makes this division even more exciting to follow is the recent showering of top prospects to nearly every team.
For the Braves, after hitting a home run in his first Major League at-bat on opening day, young superstar Jason Heyward is batting a very respectable .273 with 10 home runs and 39 RBIS just over a third through the season. A day after drafting future phenom catcher Bryce Harper, the Nationals finally promoted Stephen Strasburg on Tuesday evening who struck out fourteen batters in seven innings in his much anticipated Major League debut. And the Marlins brought up outfielder Mike Stanton earlier this week who in 52 games in the Minor Leagues this season had 21 home runs and 52 RBIs along with a .311 batting average. With the majority of the hype surrounding Jason Heyward and Stephen Strasburg, however, I feel like the media is quickly forgetting about Ike Davis, the new homegrown first baseman for the Mets.
In 45 games this season, Davis has quietly put together a very nice rookie season hitting .269 with seven homeruns and eleven doubles. His defense has been a tremendous help to the team, in particular his three dugout-falling catches, and his ability to hit in the clutch has just simply made the Mets a better team. He's energetic, runs out every ball, and doesn't give up. He has hit three of the longest balls I've seen in Citi Field history so far this season, including Tuesday's game winner, and he seems to always be involved in one way or another in every Mets victory.
About a month ago I wrote a column about Jenrry Mejia, a pitcher who the Mets are hoping will become an established starter in years to come. I made the observation that superstars are not born over night, and not every top prospect can become one of the best players in the league, otherwise the phrase would lose all its meaning. But for now, Ike Davis has really impressed me thus far in his young career and is definitely making a case for why he should be up there with Strasburg and Heyward as a prospect with a potentially very bright future.
The bottom line is that all the teams in the National League East clearly have a surplus of talent in their farm systems, and the end of the 2010 season could very well be affected by how well these prospects perform when brought up to the Major League level. With Daniel Murphy unfortunately out for the season with a torn MCL, Davis will certainly get more opportunities to perform and amuse the New York media with his acrobatic catches and his rocket homeruns. Let's just hope he makes the most of it as he has done so well thus far and helps the Mets make a run for baseball in October.
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