According to the New York Post, Tim Tebow is scorching hot at the plate lately with a OPS of .849 in his last 16 games for the Columbia Fireflies, and it appears that the former NFL quarterback is starting to ‘get it.’ The Post goes on to quote an unnamed Mets source speculating the team is considering promoting Tebow to a higher level of minor league ball. Such a move would pretty bullish on the New York Mets part, especially now.
As I wrote in a column about Tebow back in Spring Training, the New York Mets should avoid any temptation whatsoever to move Tebow up through the system like a missile. Considering that Tebow has never played professional baseball until this year, such a move would hurt Tebow’s development and send a bad message to the other players down on the farm.
Yes, Tebow is doing well. He’s riding a three game hitting streak, and has hit safely in five of his last six games. On Wednesday, Tebow went 2-for-5 with 2 RBI, his first multi-RBI game of the season. He is now hitting a .250 on the year with two homers and 11 RBI, with a .330 on-base percentage.
But let’s take it easy. Tebow still hasn’t hit better than .250 at any point this season. He has spent much of his time struggling on the Interstate, and when he has hit over .200, his time has been spent mostly in the .230’s. In addition, Tebow has struck out in 27 percent of his plate appearances (29 times in 109 plate appearances to be exact), and has really struggled against lefties (.136) and has done alright against righties (.282). While it is good to see that Tebow is making the necessary adjustments to become a professional hitter, these stats don’t scream promotion to Double-A.
In fact, one could argue that the if the Mets wanted to move anyone up from Class-A Columbia, they should look at second baseman Michael Paez, who is hitting .262 with 4 homers and 21 RBI. Paez has eight multi-hit games this year for the Fireflies, including a three-hit performance against Delmarva on May 10. Paez, who was drafted in the fourth round last year by the Mets, is an encouraging prospect. Not an answer for any immediate need, but a nice story to watch.
How about pitchers? 20-year old Jordan Humphreys is having a great start to his season. He’s 6-0 with a 1.63 ERA in 38.2 innings. He’s walked six, and struck out 49. In his last outing on May 8, Humphreys struck out nine while holding the Lakeland BlueClaws to a run on two hits over seven innings.
How about Matt Blackman? He owns a 1.62 ERA in 16.2 innings out of the bullpen for the Fireflies. He’s a guy who is worthy at some point for a call up in the system, and we all know the Mets need pitching.
But these guys aren’t getting attention because they aren’t Tim Tebow, ESPN analyst, quarterback and baseball player.
While Blackman, Humphreys and Paez are all having good starts to the season, they are all very young and need more seasoning in Colombia before any promotion is forthcoming.
The same should be said for Tebow. If the Mets and Tebow are serious about this baseball thing, then Tebow belongs in South Carolina for the whole season. He needs to see the riggers of baseball at its lowest affiliated level. He has to hit better than .250, and develop a reputation and resume worthy of a promotion. The only way Tim Tebow can truly become a solid baseball player, who can contribute at a higher level is to develop his skills set over an extended period of time, or in this case a whole baseball season. Celebrity does not, and should not be the exception.