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Will Tim Tebow Play in the Majors This Year?

By Noah Davis
Published on June 29, 2017
tim-tebow-mets

The New York Mets continue to toe the line between being gimmicky and hopeful when it comes to their treatment with minor league hitter, Tim Tebow. The chatter around former pro football star Tim Tebow won’t stop and that has more to do with the organization’s decision-making lately, rather than necessarily his play.

With the recent move of Tebow from low-A ball to New York’s high-A St. Lucie affiliate, the pressure is on the former Florida Gator star to quickly elevate his game. The pressure is also arguably on the Mets, as Tebow’s production threatens to regress as his level of competition intensifies.

Why the Move?

Moving Tebow up half of a level makes plenty of sense for the Mets. They can sell his (at best) modest numbers at low-A ball as passable and if he sees a spike in production at a higher level, they will look like geniuses for making the move.

The path goes two ways from here. If Tebow can thrive in high-A ball and posts even respectable numbers, the Mets would have enough reasoning to validate another move. From there, it’s fair to wonder if a rapidly progressing Tebow can work his way up to the majors.

We’re still a long way from that destination, of course, and it certainly is one we may never arrive at. Tebow hasn’t lit up the minor leagues (slashing .220/.311/.336 with three home runs) and has understandably been known for his whiffs (69 strikeouts in 64 games) at the plate. Needless to say, the perceived power has been met with a lot of swings and misses and not enough actual long ball production.

But right now, none of that matters. Tebow was a gimmick signing to begin with and until he magically flashes ridiculous upside that we can’t ignore, he’ll remain one. He could be a profitable one for the Mets, however, as he at worst can continue to sell minor league tickets, and at best could perhaps one day force his way higher up the ladder.

Can Tebow Improve?

Tebow certainly has a lot of room for improvement and he can get better. Hitting a baseball is one of the toughest skill-sets to figure out in professional sports (or at any level), however, and he doesn’t bring much to the table as a defensive player.

In the pros, Tebow would be a strict First Basemen at best and more realistically would be a designated hitter (DH). With the Mets specifically, he’d have a hard time cracking a stacked offensive lineup that already boasts impressive mashers like Yoenis Cespedes, Jay Bruce, Michael Conforto, Neil Walker and Curtis Granderson.

The lack of versatility is going to be an issue even if Tebow can make it all the way up to Triple-A ball and that’s obviously asking quite a bit. Tebow’s ascension to even high-A ball is based more on his potential than his actual production, as well as the fact that the Mets want to see if a 29-year old prospect will start improving once thrust into a more difficult setting.

It’s a considerable gamble and it has Tebow passing up a lot of talented players that are probably more deserving of the promotion, but it’s a risk the Mets probably have to take.

The Mets are not really in the position to balk at prospective players trying to work their way up to the active roster, however. Sitting in 4th place of the NL East at 34-42, the once promising Mets seem to be going nowhere fast. If things keep up as they are, it’s not inconceivable to imagine the Mets considering benching some of their top options in favor of a guy who could help sell tickets even when the team is losing.

Tebow’s Odds of Playing in Majors

The odds still don’t look great for Tebow cracking the majors anytime soon, if ever. His recent , outside or the fact of who he is and the draw he can provide via the media and fans.

That combination gives Tebow a chance and with the former NFL quarterback temporarily on the move, MLB betting sites are taking notice. BetOnline specifically has a Tim Tebow bet going right now that offers +800 odds to anyone who wants to back his ascension into the majors:

  • Yes – Plate Appearance in 2017 (+800)
  • No (-2000)

Much like Tim Tebow’s mere presence in even the low level pro leagues, this bet feels like a joke. We’re getting absolutely zero value on betting against Tebow because he’s a severe long shot to make it all the way up to MLB at any point, much less this season.

Taking a quick look at Tim Tebow’s prospect video before the Mets picked him up probably says it all:

The reality is Tebow does not have high level baseball attributes for even a minor league player. He does have a solid swing with above average power, but the accuracy, timing, patience and consistency obviously haven’t translated even at the lowest of minor league levels.

It’s a considerable leap to suddenly expect Tebow’s batting efficiency to improve as the pitchers and defense only get better as he tries to move up the ranks. While this is a fun flier bet that is worth a cursory bet just for the sake of saying you won money by betting on Tebow in the event he accomplished the impossible, it remains ridiculously improbable.

Tebow can hit a bit, but he brings little else to the table. If he was anyone else without his superstar status, nobody would be paying attention to him and it’s a solid bet he wouldn’t have lasted this long even in the minors.

That being said, there are hitters quite similar to Tebow currently in the majors. Brandon Moss is probably the best comparison to Tebow in terms of raw power and overall skill-set. Ryan Schimpf is another masher that has shown zero plate discipline, but can send one out of the yard at a moment’s notice.

But even those guys have paid their dues, have flashed high level talent in other capacities and actually consistently threaten to dong opposing pitchers. With just three home runs in the minors, Tebow really hasn’t scared anyone yet. It’s not impossible for him to beat the odds, but outside of a small flier bet, we wouldn’t go nuts with backing him.

Pick: No (-2000)

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