Tebow: The Chronicle of Narcissism

It’s difficult to contextualize the situation that occurred at Tebow’s showcase.  A  former NFL Quarterback and first round draft pick showing off his skills to almost every MLB team.  A 29 year-old baseball player trying is to begin his MLB career, more than a decade late compared to when most people try to enter the league, as a late teen.  Tim has also not played organized baseball since 2008 before he was a junior at Nease high school in Ponte Vedra, Florida.  Out of high school, Tebow was not projected to be an early round pick.  If he were to end up as a middle round pick in the draft (in 2010 when he graduated high school) then he would likely end up in a short-season, low A rookie ball.  After splitting time between the pig skin and the bat, Tebow dedicated himself full time to football for his final two years of high school sports and went on to be drafted 25th overall in the NFL draft in 2010.  After spending time with the Broncos and the Jets, from 2010-2012 he then turned to broadcasting for his career path.  Then he bounced around a few practice squads in the preseason before deciding to hang up the pads and pick up a glove.

To project him as a baseball player, it may be beneficial to look at his success as a football player.  At the University of Florida, he was a successful passer, but the instant a passing play broke down, he would try to scramble and run for positive yardage.  These types of mobile passers haven’t translated well to the NFL, which demands a confident, pocket-passer that can stay in the pocket, thread the needle, and take the hit.  The level of physical ability from college to professional football is a big leap, and with faster defensive backs, the mobile passer is largely ineffectual.  Tebow had moderate success with Denver, but was inconsistent.  If we look at his football career as a whole, he lacked the skill and finesse to be an average quarterback in the league and failed to adapt to the higher level of competition.  

Tim has been preparing for nearly two years for his showcase.  He did work with a few former big leaguers to prepare to see some professional pitching.  He is represented by the same agency as Yoenis Cespedes.  In terms of his performance, he had a peppy 6.7 second sixty yard dash, and had flashes of raw power.  He may be challenged defensively in terms of his throwing accuracy.  Ironically his arm got him drafted to the NFL, but his strength may be his shorting coming as a ball player.  He needs to be able to make accurate throws to bases as an outfielder. He likely will be a corner outfielder, and before we see how his swing attacks live pitching we can’t determine if he has the game power to stay in left.  Likely he would be a left-handed right fielder with a power, but in accurate arm.  The biggest test for Tim is still how well his ‘hit’ tool is against live pitching.  He took some BP and then live pitching in his performance for the scouts, but that is less of a test than minor league pitching.  He is very difficult to scout because he is so much older than other American players coming out of schools.  

He is a gifted athlete, and no one is trying to say otherwise, but it is very unlikely that he ever advances through the minors.  To give him any chance of making it to the bigs would be too optimistic.  He will not be competitive at the major league level.    These are all thoughts that have gone through Alderson’s head about Tebow, but there is nothing to lose.  But maybe the orange and blue felt right for Tim.  

Sandy Alderson, GM of the New York Mets, acknowledged the minor league signing as somewhat of a novelty, with nothing to lose.  Though he has denied that in a formal interview.  That’s the only way to look at it.  It’s a nice, distracting story with very little risk to the team.  It would have been more appropriate if he signed with Atlanta due to their huge demographic of southern fans.  Tebow is a hometown boy and fan favorite of many in Florida and the south, but he signed with the New York Metropolitans.  He isn’t off to the big city just yet, seeing as he has been assigned to the Single A, St.Lucie Mets.   

Many writers and executives in the industry have had mixed reactions to the showcase in the signing.  Many people, myself included, believe it’s arrogant to assume that any major league team would want a 29 year-old left handed ‘outfielder’ who’s veering off the road of their projected career path.  Because that’s exactly what he is, a 29 year-old that has not played organized baseball in a decade.  Compare him to a lifer minor league outfielder.  Tebow has not seen live pitching in a decade, he only ever saw high school arms, he has not been coached like a minor league player would.  It preposterous to believe that he could pick up a bat and try again and be able to compete with the best players in the world just because he also played football.  He lacked the capabilities to play quarterback, a highly technical and skill based position in the NFL, but he thinks he is capable of playing the highest skill game in major North American sports?  I think it’d be a little more appropriate to sign with the Jacksonville Jaguars practice squad or with the Atlanta Braves for that matter and continue to be a novelty.  

 

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