Baseball scouts won’t have Tim Tebow to kick around until next spring.
The former Heisman Trophy winner’s Arizona Fall League season is over and he had his struggles against some of the game’s top prospects, many of them Triple-A players on the cusp of making it to the majors.
Tebow hit just .194 with no home runs. Even uglier, he struck out 20 times in 62 at-bats. Scouts grumbled, anonymously, of course, that he did not look natural in any phase of the game.
The fact that his only baseball since high school was a stint with the New York Mets’ instructional league in Port St. Lucie does not enter into their evaluation of Tebow’s chances to make it to the bigs one day as a designated hitter or something. It’s cold hard facts with these guys.
Looking at it logically, however, Tebow figures to get his chance to play on a Single-A team for the Mets next year, whether it’s in Brooklyn or Savannah or Port St. Lucie. I favor the Florida State League option, naturally, for local interest, and it’s possible he could wind up with the Mets’ Gulf Coast Rookie League team at Port St. Lucie for a while, too.
The Mets might as well get whatever they can from their $100,000 investment in Tebow. Sandy Alderson, the team’s general manager, said “the idea for us was just to get him more game experience (in Arizona). We thought he might be somewhat overmatched and that was true early on, but from the first 10 days of Arizona Fall Leuge to the last 10 days, there was a marked improvement.”
More hits and fewer strikeouts is what he means. Tebow had eight hits in his final 30 at-bats.
There has been no display of raw power, though, and that figured to be his special gift. As for his athleticism, scouts criticized Tebow’s defense in the outfield but he never was charged with an error. On the bases, he was caught stealing twice in three tries.
Bottom line, the guy isn’t afraid to put himself out there so don’t look any kind of sudden retirement.
Unless I’m forgetting something, nobody climbed all over Michael Jordan for giving baseball a try just because he wanted. MJ played an entire season of Double-A ball in the White Sox chain, batting .202 against pitchers who weren’t as good as the ones Tebow just saw in Arizona.
Jordan also committed 11 errors in 119 games in the outfield.
Hey, it’s minor-league baseball. It’s entertainment. If there really are players good enough to make it, having somebody like Tebow on the roster won’t rob them of the opportunity. No reason to get all bent out of shape over it.
Of course some people will at spring training when Tebow is getting too much attention on the back fields or even getting a shot or two at pinch-hitting in the late innings of an exhibition game with the big club.
Even more people will be clamoring for his autograph, of course. This is how it works with him. This is how it always will.