The transformation is complete. Tim Tebow is now a baseball player. Technically, the 30-year-old former quarterback has been an outfielder for the New York Mets for months, but the end of his first minor-league season makes the whole experiment feel more real.
Tebow wrapped up his first year as a baseball player Sunday, going 0-for-3, with a walk and a strikeout, for the St. Lucie Mets. He ends the year with a .226/.309/.347 slash line, with eight home runs, in 482 plate appearances over two minor-league levels.
While his numbers aren’t exactly encouraging, they are better than most people expected considering Tebow’s time away from the game. After roughly a decade from taking meaningful swings, Tebow hit over .220 in professional baseball with a walk rate that wasn’t a complete disaster.
Comparing Tebow to Michael Jordan isn’t perfect, but it’s convenient. As a 31-year-old Jordan hit .202/.289/.266 in Double-A. Tebow put up better numbers, but did so in a lower league.
With the minor-league season now over, and no major-league call-up expected … we think, Tebow will enter the offseason with a much better idea of what to expect from life as a baseball player. He will be an analyst on SEC Network during the college football season, so he’ll have to fit his workouts in around that schedule.
Tebow may get the opportunity to prove he’s better than Jordan next season. The Mets may send Tebow back to High A to begin the year, or they could aggressively promote him to Double-A to provide him with a challenge.
While that would normally seem like a terrible idea, it’s worth noting Tebow did see his stats improve in High A. His batting average and slugging percentage were higher, and he cut his strikeout rate by about five percent. His final numbers weren’t good, but progress is progress.
Overall, Tebow’s slash line doesn’t scream excellence, especially considering he was a 30-year-old rookie in the low minors. But if you’re grading on a curve due to his time away from the game, it’s easy to find some positives.
Getting through his first minor-league season is significant, but next year represents the real challenge. Now that he knows what to expect, Tebow will need to show actual growth next year if he wants to be taken seriously as a future major leaguer.
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