It’s so weird writing a baseball profile on a pro football player but… here we are. I remember Tebowmania in college. In my freshman year, I went to a small school down in Florida. He was star quarterback at University of Florida, and everyone drooled over his talent as a football player. To the Floridians, he just walked on water, turned water into wine, and turned into the messiah of college football. But he didn’t do as well when he went pro, and fizzled out, only to pick up baseball again, a game he hasn’t played since he was in high school. As soon as word got out that Tebow was playing Baseball, Scouts were sent out to his showcase, and the Mets signed him to a six-figure contract. For a bit there, I thought he was going to play in short season this year, but then I thought “wait, no, there’s such opportunity for him to grace Columbia.”
(Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
OF Tim Tebow
L/L, 6’3″ 255 lbs, 8/14/1987 (29), Signed as a non-drafted free agent on 9/8/16 for $100,000
Stats from the AFL: 19 G, 62 AB, 12 H, 3 2B, 8 BB/20 K 1 SB/2 CS .194/.296/.242
So we know the story of Tim Tebow, star quarterback of University of Florida and former Heisman Trophy winner was drafted by the Denver Broncos 25th overall, and played for them, infamously for the New York Jets, the Patriots, and the Philadelphia Eagles in the next 5 years. Tebow’s prowess on the Florida Gators didn’t carry to the National Football League. In August of last year, he decided that he may pursue baseball instead.
Tebow, who last played baseball competitively in junior year of High School held tryouts and 28 teams decided to send their scouts to take a gander at him. While the Atlanta Braves were on the record interested in signing him, the Mets nabbed him for $100,000 and invited him to their instructional league. The Mets gave him a little bit of training, (where he homered in his first at-bat), and allowed him to spend part of the time with the team, and the other part commentating on football.
But Tim’s season for baseball wasn’t over, as the Mets wanted to send him to the Winter Leagues. I doubted that Tebow was going to go to a Latin American country and instead, he went to the Arizona Fall League, which is the elite showcase for prospects in Minor Leagues after the regular season. Tebow didn’t do well, hitting .194/.296/.242, in 19 games, though he improved over his last ten games with a .267/.405/.333 line and held a 6/8 BB/K ratio. Despite the improvement against a very formidable league, Keith Law, ESPN’s Prospect Guru called him “The Worst Player in the AFL” he’s ever seen.
I don’t think I have the chops to disagree with Law here, but I will cut Tebow some slack. The guy was a football player, started working out for baseball, was signed, took some direction at Instructional League, and was then thrust into the Arizona Fall League without a professional at-bat and no competitive experience for at least a dozen years. The fact that he got a hit at all, let alone 12 and struck less than 50% is nothing short of a miracle for him. He must have had some divine intervention behind him.
Tebow’s got a weird profile in general. He’s absolutely raw in the outfield, and he has below-average speed and a below-average arm (something I was shocked at, since he’s a quarterback and I don’t pay attention to Football). According to scouting reports, he was very shaky as an outfielder and tough with routes in general.
When it comes to hitting, it’s a different story. As Law reports, he isn’t a great hitter, and his swing is very long with slow bat speed. He does have a good approach and can make relative contact, but has trouble hitting breaking balls. It’s a question whether he’s going to be able to hit fastballs with any real ability and hit for power too, which seems to be his best skill. When Tebow finds a barrel though, watch out. Tebow’s huge upper body frame can produce plus-plus (70) power, that could result in smiting 30+ long balls annually if he can connect. But with the bat speed, that power is going to be hindered pretty easily, so I’m not sure if we’ll see him as a Yoenis Cespedes replacement anytime soon. What we will see him do is sell some tickets and a few jerseys.
Where we may see him, is Single-A Columbia. No doubt he’ll sell some tickets on the left side of Desmond Lindsay in 2017.
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