The New York Mets announced on Monday that Tim Tebow's journey to the majors will start in South Carolina with the team's low Class-A Affiliate, the Columbia Fireflies. The former NFL quarterback turned baseball outfielder batted .235 during spring training in Grapefruit League action.
Many Met fans viewed the Tebow signing as a publicity stunt to aimed to drive people through the turnstiles during spring training and scoffed at the idea that Tebow would hold a roster spot that a "legitimate prospect" actually deserved.
Mets general manager Sandy Alderson refuted that argument and stood behind his decision to bring Tebow on-board.
“That’s such a bogus argument,” Alderson said. “We’ve got lots of room for lots of players at lots of different levels. The fact that he’s starting at Columbia, he’s really not taking anybody’s spot. By the way, we have lots of players in our organization who are just that: organizational players. Not every player that we have is a top prospect, whose opportunity is being curtailed by Tim Tebow or anybody else.”
Love him or hate him, Tebow hasn't exactly proved big league worthy by any stretch, but he's not making a mockery of the sport either. The former Heisman Trophy winner was blasting home runs over the wall during spring training, but that power hasn't exactly manifested itself during games at the plate. Hitting coach Kevin Long has been working on shortening Tebow's swing in an effort to produce to cut down on strikeouts and protect the plate. Tebow's stop in South Carolina, will be his first major stepping stone to making his dream of becoming a major leaguer come true. While critics still contend that Tebow is more of a useful marketing tool than he is an asset at the plate, Alderson sees some potential in the raw, but athletic corner outfielder.
“He’s obviously very athletic and he has adapted very quickly,” Alderson said. “His approach at the plate is very solid. He doesn’t chase pitches. People might say his swing is a little long but the swing is professional. When he’s made contact, it’s often been hard contact ... Defensively, it’s still a work in progress but it’s adequate. He’s made some nice plays, again demonstrating the athleticism that everybody’s seen he has.”