Currently hitting .261/.335/.398 with five home runs in 211 plate appearances for the Double-A Binghamton Rumble Ponies, Tim Tebow’s burgeoning baseball career received some encouraging news Friday when he was selected to appear in the 2018 Eastern League All-Star Game.
Slated to share a bench with uber-prospects like Vladimir Guerrero Jr. of the Blue Jars and Brendan Rodgers of the Rockies, Tebow will represent the Eastern Division on July 11 at Arm & Hammer Park.
Tim Tebow secures his first career baseball All-Star nod. In 22 games in June, he has compiled a .318 AVG with 7 extra-base hits. In 67 games in his 1st season at Double-A, Tebow has hit .261 with 5 HR and 30 RBI.#BinghamtonAllStars #LetsRumble pic.twitter.com/j0Ah1YA1ZJ
— Rumble Ponies (@RumblePoniesBB) June 29, 2018
That’s fun and all, but it comes with a somewhat awkward truth.
Tim Tebow probably wasn’t picked for his performance
Guerrero Jr. leads the Eastern Division roster with a monstrous 1.124 OPS in 235 games, enough production that there’s a good chance he’d be in the majors right now had it not been for a left knee injury. Tebow comes in significantly behind that with his .733 mark.
In fact, Tebow’s OPS ranks third to last among every hitter on the Eastern Division’s roster, beating only fellow Mets prospect Patrick Mazeika and Yankees prospect Trey Amburgey. Mazeika is a catching prospect that ranks 22nd on MLB.com’s top 30 Mets prospects, while Amburgey is a center fielder unranked on his own organization’s list. It’s also worth noting that Tebow is easily the oldest player on his team’s roster at 30 years old, more than three years ahead of second-oldest player Levi Michael.
On his own team in Binghamton, Tebow is seventh in hits with 55 and sixth in homers, not great for a corner outfielder who will definitely need his bat if he wants to succeed. This is all to say that Tebow doesn’t quite match up with the traditional vision of an MLB prospect, but he was never going to.
Tim Tebow is still improving
The funny thing about all those numbers is that being even an average Double-A hitter is enough to exceed the expectations that many experts had for Tebow. After all, he was a 28-year-old who hadn’t played baseball since high school when he signed with the Mets in 2016. When you start there, reaching Double-A and actually holding your own is a victory.
Credit to Tebow, he does seem to be making some actual progress. One scout recently had good things to say about Tebow, noting improvements he’s made this season.
“He is better,” the scout said, speaking on condition of anonymity. “He has shown the ability to hit the fastball. Not a double-plus fastball, but an average fastball. He has progressed. He still misses a lot of pitches down. The changeup, he doesn’t see at all.’’
Tebow’s recent performance also backs up the idea he’s improving, as he’s hitting a solid .318/.357/.455 in 22 games over the month of June. However, that’s just one month of above-average hitting, and Tebow is already well past the traditional prospect clock at 30 years old.
If you’re looking for players in the Eastern League who could make an impact in the majors, Tebow probably isn’t your best bet. However, that’s not exactly what we’re talking about here.
Why Tim Tebow made a minor league All-Star Game
An All-Star Game’s primary purpose is to, well, assemble the league’s stars into a single game. And like it or not, sheer fame is a major component of stardom. Tebow is probably more well-known among the general public than any player in the minors, and that makes him one of the stars of the Eastern League, no matter his production.
Fans want to see Tebow, and All-Star Games are about serving the fans’ wishes. It’s hard to get too worked up about Tebow when he probably beat a player you never heard of for his All-Star spot.
Could a call from the Mets be waiting for Tim Tebow?
A different story would be the Mets adding Tebow to an honest-to-goodness MLB roster, as the New York Daily News speculated yesterday. There’s no telling if that will happen, but a combination of the Mets disastrous 2018 season, a lack of high-level prospects left in the tank and an interest in making money has had to have improved Tebow’s chances of donning a Mets uniform.
If that day does come, brace yourself.
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